Lou Joline, 82, has been a distance runner for the majority of his adult life, completing marathons, 30-milers, 50-milers and eleven 100-milers. But since founding the Brew to Brew Run 20 years ago, he has discovered that running to raise money for charities goes further.
“People tell me it’s their favorite,” he says.
The Brew to Brew Run is a combined relay and individual run spanning 43.1 miles between Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City and the Free State Brewery in Lawrence. Joline expects 3,500 participants for Sunday’s race. Approximately 40 solo runners take on the whole course, while relay teams consisting of five to 10 members split the total distance into 10 legs.
The course winds by scenic rivers and creeks. Along the way, runners ride in boats to get across Stranger Creek or buses to weave through construction sites. These obstacles are metaphors for the obstacles cystic fibrosis patients face.
There are 16 different prize categories: Best Team Name, Most Generous Team, and even for finishing in last place.
In 2011, Brooks Williams came in first place with a record time of 5 hours, 35 minutes and 31 seconds.
The race has grown in leaps and bounds over the years.
“We made it a charity run in year one,” Joline said. “We need people to staff the aid stations and they need money. It’s a pretty good fit. There are a lot of charities who will take your money but won’t lift an arm to help you.
“So you scratch my back, I’ll scratch yours. They have a lot of people who are very concerned about cystic fibrosis.”
When Joline first started the race, there were 252 participants, and the event raised just over $1,000. Last year, 4,000 people ran and combined to raise $10,000 for St. Jude’s and $60,000 for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Each runner is required to donate at least $10 in order to participate.
This will be Joline’s last Brew to Brew as the race’s director, but he plans to remain involved in a lesser role. He can’t walk away. The race is as entertaining for him and other participants as it is helpful for the charities.
“What we raise is significant for them,” Joline said. “It’s very helpful in their quest to find a cure. Or at least a way to prolong life of victims with this disease.”