by Pete Schwinge
Growing up in Patchogue was nothing extraordinary, it was a decent sized town with not much excitement on Main St. (7-11 and Gino’s pizza were the only late-night stops, and Swezey’s is where every mom bought their kids clothing). We mostly we spent our teenage years driving around to Port Jefferson or Huntington - where the action was.
Fast-forward to today. In the last 5-8 years, Patchogue has exploded with nightlife, restaurants on-par with the city, and has turned into a destination town midway between the city and Hamptons with access to Fire Island. Blue Point Brewing (technically in Patchogue) started in 1998 and quickly reached high levels of recognition (The award-winning Toasted Lager is a personal favorite). The Sayville Running Club (SRC) and BPB teamed up in 2010 for the inaugural 10-mile Run to the Brewery, and in the last few years have gone from numbers in the low hundreds to over 1,300 runners this year.
The run is a “USATF sanctioned event over a USATF certified course covering a flat and pleasant 10 miles through the suburban roads of Patchogue, Blue Point and Bayport.” There’s no pomp and circumstance to kick off the race. Words emitting from the portable bullhorn was barely audible and the air horn sounded the start. “Oh, I guess we’re starting!”. There’s no corrals, “Where is the B corral? I’m on the B-squad...ya know, I’m on JV track!” So naturally, you found the NBR crew all congregated toward the front of the pack!
The vibe is energetic, and the runners are competent - all levels - but mostly there to run (and eventually, drink!). It was a quick pace throughout the flats with only a minor uphill around mile 8. Unfortunately, at mile 9 it was where I found out my childhood dreams were crushed when I noticed they had closed the tiny restaurant shack known as Flo’s. All I could think about my innocent years of playing on the beach and eating grilled cheeses. A little part of me died inside. Ok, I’m over it now. That was also the time I caught up to Orlando and yelled “1 mile to go. Woo!” in which Orlando glared at me with the ‘who-are-you-and-why-are-you-yelling-in-my-ear’ Then he smiled and took off. I never caught back up to him.
The after-party consists of a cover band playing your favorite hits of the 80s and 90s “Don’t Stop, Believin’” while under ‘semi-heated’ tents with some post-race food, snacks, and most importantly...Beer! The NBR crew totally commandeered one of the heaters and huddled around telling campfire stories while ingesting plenty of liquid barley and hops fresh from the kegs. Overall, a fun and successful event!!
Notes: Remember to drink lots of water before you start on the beer. Helps prevent the dehydration headache (speaking from experience). The bib pickup is not as efficient as many of the runs we’re used to - and only later that night will you realize Madeline Hanley is not a 35 y/o male named Matty Hanley (sorry about that, Madeline!). Plan ahead and carpool or stay at an Airbnb the night before. The Patchogue train doesn’t get there early enough.
And finally, why NBR is comprised of such an amazing group of people. Carpools for everyone either going out the night before or morning of. Caitlin gets major props for coordinating the Airbnb for the people going out the night before - next time though, put Large Hot Tub with 80s neon lighting on the front page of the brochure. The group dinner was wonderful and chill night out that comprised of burgers...and more burgers...and great conversation (“Our table is where the Magic Happens!”).
Blue Point Brewing was recently acquired by Anheuser-Busch InBev and moving to a much larger space in town and are planning on more events. Therefore, this run could only grow from here. I would gladly take the lead in seeing how we could add this as an official destination race for the crew and see if we could possibly get some guaranteed spots, and whatever else is involved. It’s worth the trip, with a great crew of people.
P.S. I noticed a few November Projects there, but only one Dashing Whippet.
P.P.S When I said NBR while picking up the bibs, the woman responded with, “Oh, I know the group, I’ve run next to your jerseys many times!”
P.P.P.S. I PR’d by 58 seconds...go me!