Alison Fassnacht high-fived her running partner Laura Bostrom and smiled at the cheering crowd as they crossed the finish line at the third annual 10-Mile Run to the Brewery on Saturday.
Fassnacht, who is a redhead, and Bostrom wore matching neon green T-shirts with “Run Red Run!!” on the front, along with two dozen of their friends who also ran.
The group ran with Fassnacht since she missed out on the Nov. 4 New York City Marathon, which was cancelled after superstorm Sandy devastated the city.
“I had been training for two years, so I was excited for the marathon, but I was glad it was cancelled under the circumstances,” said Fassnacht, 32, of Babylon. “People lost so much and I just didn’t feel right running a marathon so soon after the storm.”
Fassnacht and Bostrom crossed the finish line with a time of 1:28.
“This was our first big run in a while and it felt so good,” said Bostrom, 28, of Bay Shore. “There’s no better reason to celebrate and it helps that this run has the best afterparty.”
The Greater Long Island Running Club organized the race that took about 1,200 runners through Bayport, Blue Point, Patchogue and Sayville. Sayville Running Company sponsored the event and it was hosted by the Blue Point Brewing Company.
In 2001, Ric DiVeglio, race director of the Greater Long Island Running Club, started a “fun run” with five of his friends, starting in East Islip and running 6 miles to the brewery, drinking some beers and running back. In 2010, the race became officially certified with 563 participants, and this year the number has more than doubled with 1,200 runners.
“Every year, we have more and more people run,” said DiVeglio, 66, of North Babylon. “It’s getting so big that we had to close off registration on Dec. 26 and turn away 300 people.”
Hundreds of runners made their way from the finish line to the Blue Point Brewing Company in Patchogue for beer, sandwiches, live music and raffles.
Heated tents were a welcome sight for runners and their families. There, the brewery donated 25 kegs of beer for everyone to drink.
When the brewery opened 15 years ago, co-owner Pete Cotter ran in the TOBAY Triathlon in Oyster Bay and brought two kegs of beer with him. The kegs went fast and he realized firsthand how badly runners wanted that sip after a long run.
“It’s incredible. It seems that nobody enjoys beer more than these runners,” said Cotter, 49, of Patchogue. “And beer is good for you. These runners want all-natural beer.”
The proceeds from the run benefited Better Understanding of Life in Africa, which aims to improve educational opportunities for African children living in poverty in Uganda.
“We expect to raise $10,000 this year to help us build another secondary school in Uganda and put 27 kids through school,” said BULA founder Melissa Fricke, 28, of Boston. “I want to provide more for these kids and I grew up in Blue Point, so I love this brewery.”
Conor Shelley, 25, of Rockville Centre, came in first with a time of 52:30, about half a minute earlier than his time last year.
“This is my excuse to get outside and I like the feeling of getting that running high and then extending that high by drinking beer,” he said.