GZ 1

The inaugural run of the GZ Beer Runners is officially in the books on May 18, 2017!  After a soft opening last week, where I invited two of my good friends and received positive feedback, I decided to finally go for it – start a Beer Runners chapter in Guangzhou, China.  In China, we have a social media app called WeChat; it’s basically Facebook on steroids and it is literally the only way business of any kind gets done around here.  After pitching the idea at the soft-opening, I created a WeChat group dedicated to the newly named GZ (Guangzhou) Beer Runners.  Thanks to word-of-mouth and some not-so-subtle self-promotion, we gathered an initial interest of about 32 people!  I know that interest doesn’t immediately translate to action, so I set my hopes low and hoped to just double my numbers from the soft-opening to 6 people total.

I was pleasantly surprised tonight to enjoy the company of 8 other runners!  They were an eclectic group from all over, including the U.S., France, the U.K., Vietnam, French New Guinea and Canada.  To start, we did a short 1 mile + run to a local favorite called Social & Co. that served good beer and were excited to have us.  Most of the runners decided that this new group was the perfect way to get back into running after having been out of the game for so long.  I’m very happy that we were the catalyst for getting them started again.  It seems everyone enjoyed the first run and are excited to continue joining!  My goal for next week is to get into double digits!

To back up a little bit, how did this all come to be?  My wife, Kira, and I lived in Philly from 2012-2015.

We heard about the Fishtown Beer Runners about half way through our time there and began joining runs as often as our schedules would allow.  We absolutely loved the concept, not only because it forced us to get in a little bit of exercise before enjoying something we absolutely loved, but also because of the friendships we made and the ability to discover Philly on foot, a place that wasn’t our first home.  My wife is in the Air Force and so we move quite often.  In 2015, we moved to D.C. and a year later we found ourselves in China of all places on earth.  Living in Guangzhou has been an amazing opportunity, but in a city of 18 million people it is sometimes difficult to find the level of camaraderie we had at FBR.  Even in our own apartment complex, home to probably 100 nationalities, it’s rare to really know your neighbors because everyone is always going in different directions.  I had been mulling the idea over in my head for months and finally, I told my wife, it’s now or never.  Let’s just do it and see if people like the idea.  With Dave’s blessing, of course, we created the GZ Beer Runners with similar goals to FBR.  In particular, building on our take-aways from Philly and acknowledging that a city of 18 million people with thousands of years of history cannot easily be discovered, if not by foot, we included as our one of our main goals ‘to discover Guangzhou on foot’.  And we took out the ban on spandex, because, honestly, that’s just the norm outside the U.S; who are we to judge?   So began the Guangzhou Beer Runners.  Guangzhou is a beautiful city with lots left to be discovered.

We hope the concept, the inspiration and the initial participants will help fuel a long-lasting organization, far beyond our time here.  Until then, here’s to next week: “To the professor!”

Thanks for your support,

Kyle Coffey

GZ 7

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