Running Toward Beer in Cuyahoga Falls: Falls Beer Run
Alex Hall, 03-31-2019

Runners in the weekly Falls Beer Run run along Front St. March 27th.
Stephen Mulé
Corey Barnett has run in a lot of different places, whether on vacation in Costa Rica, while studying abroad in New Zealand, or in the various places he’s lived in the United States—Austin and San Antonio, Texas, Dayton, Ohio, and, currently, Cuyahoga Falls. While running outside the Falls, he often encountered Beer Run groups, and upon settling here, he thought the area would be perfect for a Beer Run of its own, especially considering the ample running locales and wide selection of craft breweries in and around the city. HiHO's Jon Hovan agreed, and together they designed the Falls Beer Run, a 5k run that begins and ends at HiHO.

Barnett’s “running age”—to use the running enthusiast vernacular—is 15, so he has been running since he was 14, when he first joined family visiting from out of state on a lengthy night run of five miles. The young Corey would participate in these runs with each visit, and soon became quite the runner himself. By the age of 18, he ran his first marathon with the same family members as a sort of rite of passage, which was preceded by his having run cross country in high school. Of running in general, he says, “there’s a purpose to it—if I'm super stressed, I gotta go run.”

The Falls Beer Run started in April 2018, and it was designed to be routine. Barnett sees this as being one of the keys to the Beer Run’s success because it can become part of participants’ schedules. While a core group of repeat runners participates each week, there are often new faces as well, which gives way to the social aspect of the event—and the beer aspect doesn’t hurt either. Many of the participants who show up to run are not necessarily running enthusiasts, and though a 5k is not an especially long and difficult run, the terrain can be a challenge.

The typical path of the run is on pavement from HiHO to Broad Blvd., at which point the group crosses Front St., heads south toward the Gorge Metro Park, crosses Front St. again, and picks up the Glens Trail in the Gorge, finishing at the trail’s end. At that point, runners change clothes and head inside HiHO for beers and socializing.

In the future, the group may venture off to another trail and meet at a different brewery, though Barnett stresses that HiHO is a valued partner of the group. With Front St. now open as well, the group will likely add variations to its route or design completely different routes altogether to utilize the renovated downtown area as part of the Beer Run.

The Falls Free Press met up with the Falls Beer Run group on March 27th to cover the group for the first episode of our new Falls Free Feature series. Check out the video below or on our YouTube channel.

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