Texas 5K Beer Run offers history tour of downtown Austin


Shelby Tauber

Lee Ackerley, Austin manager of the City Running Tours, celebrates the end of the Texas 5K Beer Run with fellow runners at Kung Fu Saloon on Thursday evening. City Running Tours offers runs featuring history and beer every Thursday and Saturday.

Jeremy Thomas

Beer, history and running coincide with one another every week to provide locals and tourists with a unique experience of downtown Austin.

The Texas 5K Beer Run allows participants to learn about different historical downtown landmarks and experience some of Austin’s most unique bars and restaurants.

Typically, participants run around a mile from the Texas Running Company to view the Ann and Roy Butler Hike and Bike Trail around Lady Bird Lake. From the trail, there is a stop at Shiner’s Saloon on Congress Avenue, where runners of the proper age may receive beer samples. Northbound, the tour goes to the Capitol, followed by more beer samplings at the Cloak Room, near the Capitol, and at Kung Fu Saloon on Rio Grande Street.

Lee Ackerley, Austin manager of City Running Tours, said the groups are typically small.

“It’s getting all these people together to run,” Ackerley said. “We’re bringing in people from all walks of life, different states and even bachelorette parties. It is just a weird mix of people, but getting to see so many people and meeting them is an added bonus for me.”

City Running Tours is a national organization that guides running tours in 11 other major U.S. cities. Ackerley, a Texas native, worked at the organization in Boston while he attended college. Once he moved back to Texas, Ackerley suggested to City Running Tours that Austin should be the next city selected if the organization expanded. The Austin-based tours started in 2012.

Austin native Angelina McDonald said it was fun to combine the history of downtown Austin with the beer samples and the run.

“I’ve lived in Austin for a long time,” McDonald said, “but I actually learned a lot of historical information about Treaty Oak and different buildings in the area, so it’s been really neat.”

Keith Kauffman said the tour is all about exercise, friends and enjoying Austin.

“Yeah, there’s beer,” Kauffman said. “They call it the Beer Run, but you’re not out getting drunk or anything. It’s more about being out exploring what Austin’s about, meeting new people and getting exercise at the same time.”

Ackerley said he hoped people would stick around and enjoy the people they ran with but also remember that it is a unique tour.

“It’s a little bit of historic and oral tradition going on,” Ackerley said. “I think people will walk away fully surprised. This tour gives you the true Austin experience and people can feel guilt-free about all the drinking they’re going to do later that night because they’ve run three miles already.”