In the spirit of Valentine's Day, we're launching a Work For Your Beer Love Stories series highlighting romantic relationships that found their beginnings at a beer fitness activity right here in the Queen City.
We're kicking things off with two recently engaged runners whose relationship blossomed out of a friendship formed at Lenny Boy Run Club: Nick and Sarah.
Where It All Began
"It's more fun to run in a group and hang out after to have a beer or two," he said in our original interview, adding that his favorite part of brewery run clubs is the social aspect. "You develop a real camaraderie with fellow runners and make new friends."
Little did Nick know that he'd make more than just friends through his brewery run club experience. In fact, he'd meet his future wife.
Sarah had only lived in Charlotte for a week when she made the decision to go to Three Spirits Brewery Run Club on a Friday night.
"I remember being on the phone with one of my best friends, and I was like, 'What if I go and it’s awkward, and I don’t meet anyone?'" Sarah recalled. "And she was like, 'The worst thing that happens is that you run and you drink a beer.’ And she was right, that's really the worst that can happen."
Nick leads the Three Spirits run club, so he introduced himself to Sarah, then introduced her to the rest of the group. "They were all like, 'You have to come to Lenny Boy Run Club on Sundays, it's the best one!'" Sarah remembered.
Nick remembered it the same way. "Even when I’m at another run club, I tell everyone to come to Lenny Boy on Sundays. We've just got such a good group here," he said. "Plus, we have our potlucks here for Thanksgiving, Easter, Christmas, all that stuff. And we celebrate all the runners' birthdays here at Lenny Boy. It's just a great place to make friends, especially if you're new to Charlotte."
So, Sarah came to Lenny Boy Run Club that Sunday... and the Sunday after that, and the Sunday after that. She joined the Lenny Boy Run Club WhatsApp group, where she, Nick, and the other runners made plans to hang out together outside of run club. The group of them had potlucks at each others' houses, got together for games, and went out together. Through all of this, Nick and Sarah got the chance to start spending more and more time with one another.
"Our friends Tom and Rachel, who are also Lenny Boy runners, are the ones who really encouraged us to go out together," Sarah said. "But even after we started hanging out one-on-one more often, we didn’t start dating each other until about two months in."
"I find so many couples have met through run clubs, because you see each other once a week, then maybe you start going to a second run club together, and you build a friendship over time because you see each other week after week at these different runs," Nick added. "You really get to know each other slowly over time, and you start building a foundation."
Nick said he thinks this method works out well in terms of relationship building, because both people understand what's at risk.
"What ends up happening is you go slower and you get to know each other more, because you don’t want to make the mistake of hooking up, breaking up, and then it's like, 'Who gets to go to run club?'" Nick said. "So, you’re more cautious about it, and you’re like, 'Okay, if it doesn’t work out, we can still be friends, and we can still go to run club.'"
A Lenny Boy Run Club Proposal
"I had gone and gotten roses, and I gave them to a friend of mine. He parked up at New Bern station with the flowers and the ring," Nick said. "And that morning, I reached out to our whole group of Lenny Boy runners and I said, 'If you ever want to be a part of Lenny Boy Run Club again, you HAVE to come to run club today.' So everyone sort of knew it was coming."
Every week before the run begins, all the members of Lenny Boy Run Club gather on the stairs for a photo before heading out onto the running route. Nick said he knew everyone expected the proposal to happen then and there. "And then I was like, 'Nope, we're going for our run!'" he laughed. In fact, he said a few of their friends had shown up in non-running clothes just to witness the proposal, and they had to run along in their normal outfits to see it happen.
So, the run began, and Nick sprinted ahead of everybody else to meet his friend at the New Bern light rail station so he could get the roses and the ring. "I got down on my knee and waited for Sarah to round the corner and see me," he said. "Other people on the run would see me and be like, 'Should we stop?' and I'd say, 'You can keep running, or you can stay, but I'm staying right here.'"
By the time Sarah rounded the corner, there was a whole crowd standing around Nick, waiting to see it happen. He was down on one knee with roses in one hand and a ring in the other.
Ready to Meet the Love of Your Life? Go to Run Club
"Come to run club," Nick said simply. "Even if you're not a runner. It doesn’t matter your skill level, there’s no judgment."
Sarah agreed. "People are worried that they’re not going to be able run fast enough, but that’s not what it’s about. Everyone runs at their own speed. Everyone runs their own distance," she said.
"You have nothing to lose, but everyone to gain," Nick said. "You’ll meet the most fun people in Charlotte. And it’s not a certain group of people who come to these things. We’ve got people of all kinds, and it doesn’t matter who you are - we all come just to get along, have a good time, get a little exercise. The running is the smallest part of run club. That part is over quickly. People come just to hang out. That's where relationships start."
Want to follow his advice? You can try Lenny Boy Run Club for yourself (be sure to congratulate the happy couple if you see them!), or you can check out any of the dozens of brewery run clubs happening around Charlotte.
Be sure to check back later this week for another Work For Your Beer Love Story, featuring two more romantic runners who will also be getting married thanks to fate and brewery run clubs.
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