In less than three weeks, 3,500 runners will line Mahantongo Street for the 6th annual running of the Yuengling Light Lager 5K race Saturday, April 21.
As it has done with its beers, America’s oldest brewery has brewed a winning formula, hosting the largest 5K race in eastern Pennsylvania.
When registration opens for the Yuengling Light Lager Jogger 5K in October, the maximum capacity of runners is reached within about a week.
Runners enjoy the challenging race course that starts and finishes at America’s oldest brewery, the post-race block party, their Yuengling Light Lager Jogger-branded pint glass, official race T-shirt, the two free Yuengling Light Lagers for those age 21 and over, a chance to visit the Yuengling gift shop, and the opportunity to have their picture taken with company president, Dick Yuengling, who has attained rock star status among runners.
In addition, a portion of each participant’s entry fee is donated to Operation Gratitude, which annually sends more than 150,000 care packages filled with snacks, entertainment, hygiene and hand-made items, plus personal letters of appreciation, to new recruits, veterans, first responders, wounded warriors, care givers and to individually named U.S. service members deployed overseas.
The family of the oldest brewery in America has long been vested in the running community.
It has been my privilege to know Dick Yuengling since he was my Little League baseball coach many years ago. Back in the ’90s, when I was running races in southeast Florida, he graciously offered for me to stay at his condo near Fort Lauderdale, and I gratefully accepted.
Dick’s daughter, Jennifer, the sixth generation of Yuengling brewers, serves as vice president of operations for the Yuengling Brewery.
An excellent softball player at Pottsville High and Bucknell University, Jennifer took up running a few years ago and has now become an avid runner. She has run race distances from 8 kilometers to the half marathon. Although a full marathon may be in her future, running now serves as a stress release from raising a family as well as running a Fortune 500 company.
Approximately 15 years ago, with the help of one of their beer distributors near Tidewater, Virginia, Yuengling teamed up with the very popular Virginia Beach Marathon.
Today, the race is known as the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon, an entire weekend of running events that features an 8K, half marathon and a full 26.2-mile marathon. The weekend attracts more than 27,000 runners.
This year, the participants became the first to try Yuengling’s new product, Golden Pilsner, a delicious new brew that Jennifer Yuengling describes as a “lifestyle beer.” When talking about the Yuengling Shamrock Marathon she notes, “We’re not the biggest brewery, and it’s not the biggest race.”
But if you drink the beer and run the race, you’ll agree that quality beats quantity in both brewing beer and hosting a race.
Yuengling beer and running doesn’t end there.
Monday, registration opened for the 5th annual Yuengling Oktoberfest 5K Run/Walk, which will accompany the Oktoberfest festivities at ArtsQuest Center on SteelStacks Campus in historic Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.
The city of Pottsville has benefitted immensely from the presence of the Yuengling Brewery, and with 3,500 runners and their families descending upon the city, hotels, restaurants and business will see an increase in traffic on race weekend. Roma Pizza will offer specials to the runners, and The Wheel restaurant will feature post-race live entertainment.
Yuengling has helped put Pottsville on the map for beer-lovers, and runners as well.