On Friday, August 10, 2012, 12 intrepid explorers embarked on journey, the first Hollidaysburg Bierlauf Rallye, a 5-mile, 6 bar pub run.

Initially suggested by Adam McGinnis, who just wanted to run to “A PUB”, I kinda hijacked his idea and created a route to include six pub destinations along a route. Months prior, Ethan Imhoff and I had a notion to create our own Beer Mile here in town. With the magic of the Internet, I discovered that there was a long tradition of beer and running in Germany and I tried to emulate as much of that tradition and spirit here in the “4-8”. One idea is to have a Bierkasten race. A Bierkasten race is where two runners carry a case of beer over a 10k distance, and consuming the entire case by the time they finish the distance.
After some thought, consuming 16 beers and running 6 miles seemed a little too intense.
Then when Adam suggested running to a pub, it was obvious to me that the way to go was to hold a Bieflauf Rallye.

In our first Hollidaysburg Bierlauf Rallye, the objective was to run to six bars over a five mile distance. Instead of forcing runners to drink a certain beer, a specific amount of beer, time racers, or anything like that, the entire concept of “racing” was taken out of the equation — hence the term “rally”. Runners were open to drink whatever they want, any type of beer or even no beer at all. We wanted the atmosphere as causal as possible.

Here is the ledger for the first Bierlauf:
The Start – Parking lot of Marzoni’s – 6pm Friday, August 10, 2012
Participants: Benjamin Mazur, Ethan Imhoff, Tim Sheehan, Gary Frisco, Betsy Simmers, Shawn Simmers, Rick Eichelberger, Donnie Rhodes, Jamyee Orr, Jeremy Flaugh, Graci Burnett, and Melissa Wolford Boston.

Leg #1: Run from Marzoni’s to Shan Nicoles
Distance is one mile down Broad Street then up Allegheny Street.

Stop #1: Shan Nicole’s
Notes: The bartender had the deer in headlights look as we walked in an ordered beers.
Ben’s beer selection: Great Lakes Burning River

The gang at stop #1: Shan Nicoles.

Leg #2: Run from Shan Nicoles

From Shan Nicoles, we ran down Allegheny Street, across the tracks, around Gaysport, and to the Argonne Cafe. Distance: one mile.

Stop #2: Argonne Cafe
Notes: Ethan said “This is not what I expected” looking at the funky interior of the lounge. If I were to describe it, it would be if someone tried to make a 1950’s lounge and but has no memory, or has never seen anything remotely from that decade. We almost recruited the bartender along the way and confused a lot of patrons with the whole “running” to the bar. They assumed “running” meant we had a vehicle “running” outside.

Ben’s beer selection: Yuengling Lager

Jaymee, Melissa and Betsy. Is that water?


Our “padre”, Tim Sheehan (right) makes an offer we can not refuse. Could it be beer?

Leg #3: Argonne to the Old Canal Inn
Notes: After two beers, Ethan remarked that he could just “take off” and run a hard and fast 10k. We ran down River Road, over the river, across the railroad on Route 36, onto South Juniata Street, made a left at Kelly Park onto Jones Street, and made a long hook to Jennie Street and down Bella to OCI.  One mile.

Stop #3: Old Canal Inn
Notes: Next time we should start taking pictures of the clientele at each establishment. Imagine seeing the look on people’s faces as 12 sweaty runners walk in.
Ben’s Beer Selection: Lenniekugel Sunset Wheat

Group Shot outside The Old Canal Inn. Tim on the right is having a great time while Frisco in back is about to fall into a pit.

Frisco says “c’mon in!”

Jaymee smiles awkwardly and Donnie tries to ignore the sweaty guy to the right. Jaymee: You see him too, right?

Cheers from Tim, Jeremy, Frisco and Ethan and Donnie and I photobomb from the back.

I lift up a mug of Leine’s Sunset Wheat.

Leg #4: OCI to U.S. Hotel

We take the steps from the rear of OCI and down along the tracks until we hit South Juniata Street. 0.75 miles.

Ethan, Donnie, me and Betsy on the run, to the U.S. Hotel.

…followed by Jaymee, Tim, Shawn and Jeremy.

Stop #4: U.S. Hotel

A historic hotel and tavern dating back to 1835 to when the canal boats would stop and unload to get on the Allegheny Portage Railroad over the mountains to Johnstown. The hotel/brewery/underground railroad stop/stable/radio school/brothel and more has a lot of history but in all those years, I doubt 12 runners walked in for beers at the same time.

A bystander wonders what is going on as a dozen sweaty people enter the U.S. Hotel.

I photobomb as Betsy and Melissa have a beer. Nom. Nom. Nom.

Betsy, Melissa, Jeremy, Graci and Shawn from left to right.

Frisco approved. Rick abides.

One of many toasts.

Ben: I am glad you are a runner, Jaymee. I don’t have to impress you by telling you I am a lion tamer and a marine biologist.
Jaymee: A lion tamer AND a marine biologist!?
Ben: Yes. In the ocean we call them sea land lions. I study them and then tame them.
Jaymee: Rigghhhttt…

Betsy and Melissa tie one on.

Leg #5: U.S. Hotel to The Pipe Room

We first took a vote on the next destination. I stood up on the stoop of the hotel and asked whether the next bar would be Gran Saso, O’Neils, or The Pipe Room. The picture below was my vote for the Gran Saso.

The leg was the shortest of the legs. We ran down South Juniata Street and made the turn up the hill on Montgomery. 0.25 miles.

My beer selection was an Atwater Vanilla Java Porter

As group leader, I take a vote on the next destination. Gran Saso, O’Neils or The Pipe Room.

Up Montgomery Street to the Pipe Room

Stop #5: Pipe Room
This brought back great memories for Sheehan who spent many days here for lunch when he worked in Hollidaysburg. My beer selection was a Yuengling Lager. The crew seemed more festive as the evening went on.

Action League Pub Runners Converge! Into the Pipe Room! Post Haste!

Into the murky depths of The Pipe Room we go. You know it is The Pipe Room because the room has pipes.

Frisco and Shawn are all smiles.

Jaymee, Graci, me and Donnie.

Rick and Jaymee having a mug.

The Simmers, each with their own.

Leg #6: The Pipe Room to Marzoni’s

We ran down Allegheny to Broad Street then the right on Pathway Drive. I think we got faster (and louder) during the night. The temperature was perfect as it became dusk. At the corner of Allegheny and Broad, a female runner was running the other way as Sheehan yelled at her to come just us in our run. She darted and swerved away from Tim like a running back trying to avoid a tackle.  Distance is just over a mile.
At Marzoni’s parking lot, Graci had surprised us with some delicious fruit pizza. But the evening wasn’t done. We had one more drink/destination.

Stop #6: Marzoni’s

I knew the manager working that night and we were able to get a big round table. We were joined by Pat Baechle, Tim’s wife Colleen, and Graci’s husband. As the final spot, every had dinner and we talked about running and other things.  I had a mug of the Mark’s Mash (Pale Ale) and the Avalanche IPA and one really good jalepeno burger.
From the feedback I got from those who attended, and moreover from the filled inbox from others who felt slighted that they missed the first Bierlauf Rallye, the concept and the evening turned out to be a tremendous success.  Shawn Simmers, who initially did not want to do this, had so much fun he begged Ethan and I to run to the Knickerbocker 5 miles away in Altoona. However it was dark and there was no way of getting back. Shawn would spend the next several weeks driving from pub to pub trying to figure out the course for the next pub run.  Cheers!

Graci and her fruit pizza.

Group shot at the round table. Only the Simmers acknowledge the camera.

Another angle.

A final group shot outside Marzoni’s with everyone still accounted for…  The white orb in the sky is the moonrise.