London has one of everything, but this one was a real surprise. New Balance has opened a pop up pub in central London and launched a promotion which rewards miles run with pints of beer.
The pub itself is excellent. For starters it’s a classic (and tiny!) London pub. It’s rumored to have been a real live pub at some point in the past which found a new life hosting special events. Rumor or not, it has kept every last drop of its traditional pub-iness.
The marketing team at New Balance was careful to retain this character while simultaneously going nuts and re-branding everything in sight. The windows are “Runaway” / “New Balance” frosted. The crooked, faded photos on the walls feature retro New Balance products and advertising. The doorman only lets people in who can show their pass, which means it’s full of runners and only runners. The coasters and pint glasses are obviously themed as well.
Besides that it’s just a pub. For real. You order a drink and a snack (which are free - there’s no way to pay except your barcode), and then you sit around and enjoy them in the company of fellow amateur athletes. Something they didn’t advertise but really hit the spot - free pies (chicken or veggie)! New Balance isn’t out to run dorky competitions or try to sell you overpriced souvenirs like I had feared. It’s super low-key and great in every way I can think of, really!
The running challenges are relatively easy to achieve if you’re putting in the training for a spring marathon (actually let’s be honest, most are downright trivial…). They are:
Run a total of 20-40 miles between the 18th of February and 3rd of March. The first 20 miles earn you 2 drinks, and the second 20 miles earn you 3 more drinks for a total of 5 drinks!
Run a total of 6.5-13 miles between the 4th of March and 17th of March. Same deal: the first 6.5 get you 2 drinks, and the second 6.5 get you 3 more drinks. You get the idea…
Run a total of 30-60 miles between the 18th of March and 31st of March. The pattern repeats… first 30 miles earn you 2 drinks, and the second 30 miles earns you 3 more.
Run a total of 5-10km between the 8th of April and 21st of April. And yes, it’s the same again, just really really easy this time, first 5k for 2 drinks and second 5k for 3 more.
To enter, simply head over to The Runaway’s Website, link your Strava account, download the pass, and get running. One very nice touch - the pass automatically updates to show your progress as you upload your activities to Strava over the course of the challenge. You may also find the challenges listed on Strava alongside other challenges.
So you’re thinking… what’s the catch? To be honest there are pleasantly few for this day and age. That said, a couple things to be aware of:
- You need to enter each of the 4 challenges separately, so remember to do that!
- The pub is only open for redeeming drinks on Sundays!
- You’re only allowed to redeem 3 drinks per visit. So even if you earned all 5, you’ll have to visit twice (ok, this isn’t a catch this is probably for the best…)
- Technically the fine print of the competition states that only the first 300 people to show up on a given Sunday will receive their free beer. In practice I’d like to see them attempt to fit 300 people in that place… it would be pretty comical given the size of the venue!
Get on it! Perhaps I’ll see you there next Sunday!