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Beer run

If you’re out and about on Oct. 1, you might notice a couple hundred runners hanging around your favorite taproom.

The inaugural Centennial Beer Chase, a one-day team relay race, will follow a 52-mile route from Coeur d’Alene to Spokane, largely along the Centennial Trail, with stops at seven breweries for beer samples along the way.

It’s modeled after the first event of its kind, the Bend Beer Chase, which has grown from 60 teams to 125 to 180 over its three years. Scott Douglass, founder of Bend-based Cascade Relays, expects 50 entries for the Spokane debut.

“We’ve started a new concept in the running community,” Douglass says. “Almost every run has beer at the finish line, but it’s usually domestic light beer. What we wanted to do was create a model where you’re sampling and celebrating local craft breweries not only at the finish line but during the race.”

Spokane was selected as the next location for a couple of reasons, he says. First, Cascade Relays is familiar with the market from its two-day, 200-mile Spokane to Sandpoint Relay, which had its ninth running last month.

And second, Douglass says, “When you realize how many breweries there are between Coeur d’Alene and Spokane, it’s impressive.”

The 12-leg Centennial Beer Chase will begin at Trickster’s in Coeur d’Alene and finish at the Spokane Convention Center, with stops at Slate Creek, Selkirk Abbey, Post Falls Brewing, English Setter, Bennidito’s Brewpub and Perry Street, plus Arbor Crest Winery (which has its in-house Square Wheel Brewing) and One Tree Hard Cider.

Runners can grab a 3- to 4-ounce sample at each exchange point. With teams of up to six people trading off the legs, both the running and the drinking are kept at a comfortable pace.  

“If you drank at every brewery, you’re only talking 20 or 30 ounces of beer over the course of an all-day event,” Douglass says. “We view it as fuel for the next leg.”

There will be an after-race brewfest with live music and food at the Convention Center, and teams also can continue the course by touring participating downtown breweries.

There’s still time to sign up. Regular registration, at a cost of $225 for a one- or two-person team, $400 for three or four and $575 for five or six, continues through Wednesday; starting Thursday, that increases to $250/$425/$625.

Each team must provide its own van (with a designated driver), as well as a volunteer to work along the course on race day (or make a donation of $100 to have local organizations supply volunteers).

Prizes will be awarded for the best team themes, van decorations, facial hair (real or fake) and follow-up YouTube videos.