CHUG AND RUN - Brandon Shirck, left, won the Beer Mile Invitational in 2017 and finished in second place last year, behind Corey Bellemore, the world record holder (not pictured). Garrett Cullen, right, finished in second place in 2017 and in third last year.

The IPA 10K, a beer-themed running race, is set to return to The Barlow for its third year.

Matt Dockstader, who founded the IPA 10K, Brewfest and Beer Mile Invitational in 2017, said what makes the event stand out is all the festivity after the race ends.

“It’s not just ‘Here’s a couple of beers’ and hang out for an hour,” Dockstader said.

The IPA 10K starts at 8 a.m. on McKinley Street in front of Crooked Goat Brewing, loops north on High School and Occidental roads then back into town via the Joe Rodota Trail.

There will be an awards ceremony afterward at 9:30 a.m. The top three winners in several age categories will receive beer and gift certificates, and the top three overall men and women will get growlers filled with beer from the local brewery of their choice.

Next is the Brewfest, which is open to the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Breweries from throughout Northern California will be pouring their best beers, including plenty of IPAs.

This year’s breweries include Woodfour, 3 Disciples, Seismic, Lagunitas, Anderson Valley, Bear Republic, Crooked Goat, Golden State Cider and 12 others.

Chug and Run: The Beer Mile

“The most intriguing element is the Beer Mile,” Dockstader said.

The Beer Mile Invitational runs from 11:45 a.m. to 1 p.m. Dockstader said he thinks it’s the top beer mile field this year, outside of the world championships.

The 2018 World Beer Mile Classic championship took place in Vancouver, British Columbia, where 21 of the fastest all-time runners competed.

In the Beer Mile, runners have to drink a beer, run a quarter-mile lap, drink again and repeat until four beers and laps have been finished. 2018 Men’s Champion Corey Bellemore of Canada set the current world record of 4:33:6.

People can cheer on the runners as they go through the “chug zone,” with a women’s race first and the men’s after.

The Beer Mile finishes with the four-person Brewery Relay Challenge, with a growler trophy given to the winning brewery.

“The breweries really get into and have a lot of fun with it,” Dockstader said, “and try and get the best team they can.”

Going the distance

Dockstader said the IPA 10K, Brewfest and Beer Mile Invitational has become a destination event, with runners coming from all over the country and around the world.

“I know we even have one coming in from Sweden,” Dockstader said, “to run at the beer mile and the 10K.”

Dockstader is thinking about expanding the options for next year to include a 5K or a half marathon, in addition to the 10K.

“We’re looking at that option,” he said.

Registration is still open for this year’s 10K run, which includes the Brewfest. Dockstader is encouraging people who are on the fence about joining to remember that they don’t have to run — they can walk or jog if they want.

A coming out party for the Barlow

One challenge Dockstader faced this year was moving the event from mid-April to early May because of the flooding of The Barlow and the timing of the Apple Blossom Festival. The move created some conflict for people who had already planned on it being in April.

“The floods that hit at the end of February,” Dockstader said, “obviously were very devastating to The Barlow, and in particular, Crooked Goat Brewing.”

There was some uncertainty The Barlow could host the event by May, Dockstader said, but he stayed optimistic and communicated with the managers regularly.

Dockstader said this is the first big event since The Barlow reopened and thinks of it like a coming out party. He said The Barlow Vice President Justin Allamano and Facilities Manager Brian Perry appreciate everyone who joins in.

“If you come out and participate in the Brewfest or the IPA 10K, you’re also helping,” Dockstader said. “You’re supporting The Barlow, too.”

This event happens Saturday, May 4, from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at The Barlow, 6770 McKinley St., Sebastopol. Tickets: $83 race fee for the IPA 10K includes Brewfest; Brewfest only is $35, $90 for VIP. Info: ipa10k.com

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