Looking for an unusual race? Look no further than the Beer Lovers’ Marathon 2016 in Liège, Belgium. How can a runner resist all the beer one can drink, a generous seven-hour time limit, and a beautiful race course? There’s a reason why hashing is a popular sport. Beer gives you the buzz that makes the distance bearable, even fun!
I don’t drink but even I couldn’t resist running this course! Racing the first edition on May 15, 2016 was an added perk.
We left our house at 6:30 AM and the drive took one hour and 20 minutes to get to the Museè de Wallonne which served as the Runners’ Village. The goodie bag contained the finisher shirt, the race program, and the Le Chouffee Beer gnome key chain. Bib in hand, we walked to the nearby start and finish line in Place Saint Lambert.
We were off on our running adventure at 8:30 AM. Indeed, it was a pleasurable race because of the promise of 17 beer tasting stations. Costumes were not mandatory, but highly encouraged.
Most runners arrived ready to run and party, not necessarily in that order. There was a costume contest during the race based on the theme, when I was five years old, I wanted to become. . . There were only a few of us garbed in our usual running attire, and the visual feast entertained everyone: runners, volunteers, spectators, and performers.
The course took us through the magnificent sights of Liège.
The first beer tasting station was at the 5K mark, all the better to lube the efforts of climbing the 374-step Bueren Stairs.
The remaining 16 beer stations were right beside the usual aid stations with water, Etixx isotonic drink, raisins, oranges, salted peanuts. Belgium is famous for its chocolates and beers. Leffe Blonde and Chimay were just two of the alcohol brands I recognized.
Most runners were not concerned with their finishing times. They stayed to party at each station, often taking turns at the drum lines, dancing, sitting, chatting, and just shooting the breeze.
The last of the runners staggered through the finishing line by 3:30 PM. Aside from the finisher medals, they also gave two more free glasses of the beers of our choice. Free showers were available and most stayed to continue to party at the Beer Lovers’ Festival until 1:00 AM.
I really liked this race. Great vibes, no pressure. The organizers modeled this event after Le Marathon du Medoc; now I have to sign up for that race too.