Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay Attracts Runners From Miles Around
In theory, The Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay sounded like an event that would appeal to a pretty niche audience—teams of six runners each would sign up to run a 73 mile course from Asheville to Greenville in celebration of craft beer and local charity. It seemed like a cool idea, but how many craft beer lovers have both the initiative and the ability to run that far (roughly a half marathon per team member) just for the fun of it?
The answer, it turns out, is quite a few.
Husband and wife team Zack and Anna Hall set humble goals when they announced this unique road race last March. “We were hoping to sell 10 spots in the first month,” Zack says, adding, “We ended up selling 65 the first day.” That turned into 225 teams and an official sellout in the first 54 hours, as the event had seemingly gone viral. Teams from 35 states, the District of Columbia, and even Canada all signed up to visit the Upstate for this inaugural event. Even more signed up for a place on the waiting list.
The fun kicks off at Asheville’s Highland Brewing Company and winds through Hendersonville and Travelers Rest on its way to Downtown Greenville. Southern Appalachian Brewery and Swamp Rabbit Brewery will serve as checkpoints, as will Marietta’s Beechwood Farms and other public parks and schools along the way. The finish line next to the Swamp Rabbit Trail will also be the site of the after party featuring live music, food trucks, and well-earned craft beer provided by The Community Tap.
All this stemmed from the Halls’ simple desire to do something they enjoyed while giving back to the community. Zack has organized small races for years but was inspired by The Bourbon Chase, a 200 mile relay race in Anna’s home state of Kentucky, to do something bigger upon relocating to Greenville. Noting the natural beauty of the area and the flourishing craft beer scene, The Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay made perfect sense. “We are connecting two awesome cities and including running, beer, and charity,” Zack says. He figures “people did not know this was something they wanted to do until they heard about it.”
It is safe to say, even before the first running shoe touches pavement on April 14, that the inaugural event has been a grand success. Upwards of $15,000 has been raised to support Asheville’s Food Connection and Greenville’s Feed and Seed, not to mention the economic impact of this many travelers descending upon Greenville for a weekend.
If you are among those who didn’t attempt to register for the race until it was too late (we are looking at our own editor Lindsey Jones, here), you have a little time to plan for next year’s event. Registration will open up the Monday after the race (April 16) for the 2019 Ville to Ville Craft Brew Relay and, even though there will be more spots available, one can reasonably expect it to sell out in a hurry.
Kudos to the Halls for making this dream a reality and bringing something fun and totally unique to the Upstate, Asheville, and all 73 miles in between. That is something that we should all be proud to raise a glass to, whether we can run that far or not.