Beer-tivities: Running with beer

Justin McIntosh, Columbus Alive

"Son, when you participate in sporting events, it's not whether you win or lose, it's how drunk you get." -Homer J. Simpson

A common description of the international, non-competitive running and social club Hash House Harriers goes like this: "We're a drinking club with a running problem."

The Short North's House Beer sort of reverses that maxim.

"We basically just started running together and have let it evolve from just runs to stopping at bars during runs," said Lauren Paglisotti, the House Beer employee who started the running club at the bar several weeks ago. "There's a lot of tradition behind [hashing], and I'm not trying to break that. It's just as much about running as drinking. Some people don't drink at all while running. Some have a shot. Some have three beers. I just encourage everyone to be safe. I don't want to make anyone feel forced to do something."

For the uninitiated, Hash House Harriers began in World War II by British officers stationed in Malaysia as a way to run off their hangovers. By the mid-1970s the group-runs had spread all over the world.

A typical outing consists of a "hare" plotting a course prior to the run with chalk, toilet paper or some other marker. The "hounds," or pack, then follow the trail, often encountering false-trails and dead-ends, allowing slower runners to catch up. At the end of the run, the hashers stop at a bar for drinks and socializing.

House Beer's first official hash runtook place Sunday and included two stops for beer. Runners were given whistles to help keep the pack together.

The bar's hash runs, of course, aren't the only way to push your body while boozing it up in Columbus. An official Hash House Harriers group already exists and has, in fact, been together since 1998.

The Arena District's Bar Louie hosts weekly runs at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesdays. The outings cover anywhere from 3-7 miles and are followed by Michelob Ultra and Ultra Light Cider specials.

Anthony Cortese, the chief marketing officer with Fortney Companys, which is a franchisee of Bar Louie, said the Arena District's running club seemed like a great fit. The running club, particularly when school's in session, has been popular enough that the bar is considering adding other similar clubs.

"We started doing [the running club] in February, and when school was in we were getting up to 50 runners," Cortese said. "It's been a cool thing for us and because of that success we've been looking at other areas of interest like bike riding."

This Oct. 12 brings back to Columbus the Tap N Run race, which is a 2.5-mile run with several beer stops along the course.

And this weekend brings the city's inaugural Bike the Breweries tour with stops at nine local breweries, plus tastings of three others. The tour is, unfortunately, sold out (D'oh!), but still sounds like a great way to burn off all those calories.

Just don't take the above words of Homer J. Simpson too literally. It is, after all, illegal to ride a bike while drunk. Spending a night in jail is not, we're sure Mr. Simpson would agree, a fun beer-tivity.

Brewing at North High

The Parsons Challenge at Hal & Al's

Other beer challenges

Neighborhood bar crawls

Final score

10 worst beer-tivities

Tap N Run

5 p.m. Oct. 12

477 Park St., Arena District

House Beer running club

3- to 5-mile runs

2 p.m. Sundays

843 N. High St., Short North

Bar Louie running club

3-, 5- and 7-mile runs

6:30 p.m. Wednesdays

504 N. Park St., Arena District

Hash House Harriers