U.S. Trail Team Member Runs Solo Believe in Beer 100K Fundraiser

Event report written by Evan Williams about his solo Believe in Beer 100K – a run this past May 7th in support of community and independent local businesses. Evan was a member of the U.S. Trail Team at the 2019 Trail World Championships and lives in Seattle, Washington, where he designs water filters for outdoor gear and global health. (Photo above by Ian Edelstein)

In the last week of March, the doom of the pandemic lockdown seemed overwhelming. No foreseeable future lift. No social events. No races. No [fill in the blank]. My family’s Flying Lion Brewing, where I lead a weekly group run, had to shut the taproom sales, and that was my personal moment of realization. The neighborhood hub that my brother, Griffin, built from scratch was in jeopardy. Community was (is) in jeopardy.

Evan racing in the 2019 Trail World Championships in Portugal. Photo by Richard Bolt.

Just as Griffin shouldered the work of renovating an old, closed thrift store with crumbling drop-ceilings, I decided to literally carry my share of craft-brewing awareness. For me, this was a 36 mile, 2500 ft, 12 brewery tour of Seattle to pick-up nearly 20 lbs of To Go/Takeout/Curbside pints. It was proof that if I could finish that run at 6:50 per mile into a hailing head-wind, then it is relatively easy to help our local businesses survive the pandemic. Relatively. This was a good warmup.

With sore trapezii and a full fridge, I spent the next few weeks recovering and thinking about how to make a bigger impact; how Fair Isle Brewing, brand new to the scene, will survive; how owners are working double-hours to keep paying employees.

Route of the Believe in Beer 100K

Fast-forward to May 7. The Brewers Association, champions of small independent craft breweries, partnered with Bottleshare to put forth a centralized Go Fund Me campaign for brewery relief – Believe in Beer. Perfect! This time, I would run 100 km, the round-trip distance from my doorstep to the youngest brewery in Washington (Sig Brewing Company), and the farthest I’ve ever traveled by foot.

It was, at times, impossible – chasing ferry schedules downhill on pavement at 10k race pace with tears and sweat in my eyes. And, at other times, it was an alignment of everything good in the world – chatting on Instagram Live with inspiring runners and brewers while I jogged through rural forest trails. Along my journey I video chatted live with:

Evan running along the Scott Pierson Trail in Tacoma, WA. Photo by Ian Edelstein.

In the end, WE made it – ten pounds heavier in beer pack-weight and full of appreciation for the old and new friends who made this day possible. I received dozens of messages and photos of fellow runners on their own, shorter local business running adventures. Camp Colvos Brewing had a drive-thru meat pie waiting for me and they were inspired to donate to the fundraiser themselves. Craft brewers are one family, looking out for each other. Sound familiar? Trail runners are the same.

Next up! I am excited to announce that my house is set to become The Ultra House Seattle, part of Miguel Moreno and Joanna Carr’s mission to lower the barriers to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the ultramarathon community. Check out lodging options, projects, and planning going on now in preparation for post-pandemic running events in Phoenix, Durango, Salt Lake City, and Seattle!

Evan running in the shadow of Mt. Rainer. Photo by Ian Edelstein.

Editor’s Note: Be safe as we continue to navigate the uncertainty around the COVID-19 pandemic. Please continue to follow the recommendations and updates from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), including proper hygiene practices. Also consider reading iRunFar’s COVID-19: A Trail Running and Ultrarunning Community Guide.

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