A few years ago I was reading a “Runner’s World” edition on the Boston Marathon. As part of their coverage there was an article about companies that do running tours in Boston and many of the marathon participants often sign up for one of the tours as a warm up before the race.
The following fall we had an unexpected 3 day weekend and since I had never been to Boston before we decided to take a quick trip there from New York City via Amtrak. In the days before we left I remembered the article I had read. I did a little research and asked my husband if we could give a running tour a try. When I found one that ended with a tour and tasting of the Harpoon Brewery he was game.
As soon as I booked our tickets I received an e-mail from our tour leader at City Running Tours giving us all of the details for our meet up and what to expect. He also provided his phone number in case we needed to get in touch with him the morning of our run.
We met our guide, Brian McCarthy, on Saturday morning at 10:30am. There were six of us doing the run along with two tour guides. Both of the guides were seasoned runners as were most of the runners. However Brian did mention before we started that this tour was designed for anyone who is able to run approximately six miles at a 10:00 min/mile pace. He had a few non-running husbands join before assuming they could keep up with their runner wives and it wasn’t pretty.
Part of the fun was getting to chat with our guides and the other participants of the tour. A great things about runners is that when we meet others like ourselves we have no problem hitting it off. We chatted with another couple who were visiting from Texas and a gentleman from Minneapolis who was in town for business. He and my husband had a great time because they were both hockey players and enjoyed talking about their other sport.
City Running Tours boasts itself as giving their own version of the guided Freedom Trail tour. It was given at a nice easy pace with friendly chatter in between stops. We visited many historic sights and were also given some fun facts from both of our guides that they had learned over the years and from personal experience. The tour was thorough with several stops to rest and check out historical sights, while the running portion was a slow conversation based pace. By the end I felt like I got a nice workout in but wasn’t winded or exhausted.
Along the way Brian took several pictures of us with his own camera and sent the pictures to us via e-mail by the end of the weekend. In the picture above, we stopped by the water and he asked a passerby to take one of all of us. As we were posing he warned the tourist not to try to steal the camera because we all could catch him. It was pretty funny, and true.
When the running tour finished we were each given a bag filled with a water bottle, pretzels, mini Clif Bars, energy chews, nuts, and a banana. We were then handed a coveted ticket to the Harpoon Brewery tour. We later found out that people wait for hours to try and get tour tickets so we were really in luck!
The tour began with a quick ID check followed by our guides handing out Harpoon Brewery etched tasting glasses for us to keep. The glasses were immediately filled with their latest seasonal brew. We then continued as a group touring the inner workings of the brewery, stopping for another pour right from a vat. The guides were very well versed on the brewery and making of their beer. I left having a much better appreciation for Harpoon.
As the tour winded down we were brought to our final stop, the tasting room. Here we found about a dozen different beers on tap and were informed that we had 30 minutes to enjoy any and as much of the brews as we wished. Needless to say we left a little tipsy from the combination of the run and the beer.
My husband and I both agree to this day that our running tour of Boston was the highlight of our weekend. We had such a great time that we recommended it to our friends who already live there. It was the perfect combination of exercise, touring, and beer tasting.
The Boston running tour starts at $40 per person and the running/beer tasting tour is $45 a person. Our tour lasted approximately 3 hours total.
City Running tours can be found at www.cityrunningtours.com . They also have tours in Seattle, Washington D.C., Austin, Denver, Minneapolis, Philadelphia, New York City, Chicago, Portland, and San Francisco.
Even though we now live in Chicago and run all over the place here, we are looking forward to booking a tour and getting some friends and family to join us. We will also try another tour if we end up in another of the cities they are offered in.
If you are ever stop over in one of these cities I highly recommend adding this tour to your travel itinerary. You know you are going to go for a run anyway. Why not have someone show you all of the best places and get your run for the day in at the same time?!