Last week a friend and I decided to participate in the first Tallahassee Beer Mile hosted by Madison Social, Proof Brewing Company, Grasslands & Brass Tap. The goal of this event was to “run” a mile and drink a 12 oz beer at each location. Its a fairly popular event and seemed like a pretty interesting “new” thing for us to try. We registered a couple of weeks before the “Beer Mile” through Eventbrite (painless) and I also bought the (pretty cool) t-shirt they sold to benefit the FSU Collegiate Veteran’s Association. The shirt was well designed and I really like it. Plus, I love donating money to any organization that benefits our veterans!
Luckily the rain held off for most of the event but boy was it hot hot HOT. We arrived fairly early (thankfully I figured that the crowds would be pretty large so we got there early to beat that) and while we waited we were already starting to sweat our butts off. We hadn’t started walking yet! Unfortunately, that is just Florida. The event did not start on time because there was a massive influx of registrations over the preceding twenty four hours. That didn’t include the people who showed up at the event to register on site.
The event itself was fun. The beginning was a little chaotic and the beer at Grasslands and MadSo was warm (I can’t imagine how to rectify that, though). I really liked the beers at Grasslands (Horizon Line Saison) and Proof (Mango Wit) but wasn’t a huge fan of the beers at Brass Tap (Oyster City Dirty Blonde) and MadSo (Cigar City Jai Alai). That’s not the organizers’ fault, of course, that’s just my picky self when it comes to beers! The atmosphere was really great for this “fun run” and I enjoyed the company of course! I’ll definitely do this again next year, but there are a few things they could probably change to make the event much better!
A few points before I dive into the nitty-gritty of the “what you did great, what you could do better”:
- This was the first year for this event. The organizers should not be expected to be pros at organizing a race.
- I do not think that the organizers expected the huge turn-out that they got.
- Its a massive undertaking to plan any race event – but to organize and coordinate an event like this between four local businesses must be incredibly unique.
- I think they should be cut some slack for some of the things that didn’t go so well.
First, the things I really enjoyed/thought they did a great job at doing:
- I thought the beer selections were varied and that’s great. I really enjoyed the first two beers but wasn’t a huge fan of the last two.
- The atmosphere was awesome. The race volunteers were friendly and for the most part everyone worked pretty well in their positions.
- Although there was a little bit of chaos at the start, the second, third and fourth beer stops moved very quickly.
- The t-shirt design was great – and I’m really excited that they chose a great campus organization to donate the proceeds to!
- I am very impressed at how much and how often the organizers asked race participants to insure they had a designated driver for the event. Not only did the organizers arrange for Uber to provide codes for users to use at the event, but they also encouraged those attending the event to have a DD or to make sure they had alternate transportation. This is very important when it comes to an event that features alcohol!
- I was also glad to see that there was plenty of water offered at each stop. It was hot and we were also drinking beer – it was important for the race attendees to stay hydrated. Great job!
My suggestions on how to make this event even better:
- The on-site registration process was a mess. For an event like this, I would suggest that you not have on-site registration. There was a huge turnout and it just adds to the chaos.
- Hundreds of people registered the day of the event through Eventbrite. Because event organizers need to know how much beer they will need for the day and need to know what other items they’ll need (safety pins, water, etc) I would also say that there needs to be a cut off for the pre-registration/online registration. My suggestion would be at least 24-48 hours.
- There needs to be multiple people checking people in at the event. They should be set up to accomodate multiple people at once. A great way to do this is to have multiple lines differentiated by last name (A-D, E-H, etc). The lines need to be clearly marked.
- For the first stop, there needs to be better guidance on where to enter to get beer and where to exit with your beer. These lines need to be clearly marked.
- The route itself needs to be more clearly marked. There was one point (between Proof & Grasslands) where there were many attendees that were “cutting” the course because it wasn’t clearly marked where you needed to walk.
- I would also suggest having two groups of people – runners and walkers.
- The runners: clearly want to run 1 mile and would also like to drink 4 beers. They will do this for time and will be eligible for the prizes. They will register for the “beer mile” run.
- The walkers: clearly do not care about running 1 mile and would prefer to treat the “beer mile” as more of a pub crawl. They will register for the “beer mile” pub crawl.
- Runners start 30 minutes earlier. They start at the same time and the clock is started once the runners are out on the course.
- Once the runners are out, the pub crawl participants get their beers and walk to the next station at their own pace. They can visit, snap pictures, get another drink (a paid drink) if they wish.
- In lieu of having two different groups — there could be staggered “waves” instead of having everyone start at the same time. I would suggest that the start times be staggered by approximately 15 minutes.
Overall I had a great time. I’m looking forward to next year’s event and hope to see some changes to make it a little better.
I also particuarly loved getting to enjoy this at the end of my beer mile. I love the Madison Mule!