The day after the marathon, we went to Founders for a get-together with our Boot Camp group. Gary VanDyken (lifetime runner) challenged my memory.
"Do you remember back in 2004 getting an email with the 'Top 10 Reasons Sandy should be allowed to run the half-marathon'? "
We filled up in 2004. We were at Millennium Park, so we didn't have the capacity for as many people. If people asked, I was trying to accommodate them--we even figured out shuttle busses from outlying lots. I'd usually say yes to any good story, with "You owe me a beer," thinking someday we'd get together for a beer somewhere. When I got that email, same deal.
The next day, as I was working at a coffee shop, Gary walked in with an application, cash, and a bottle of beer. OK, I'm liking this guy already. Bringing a bottle of beer wasn't what was on my mind, but it seemed like a really nice idea when it happened.
"I walked in and set a beer down on the counter."
DO I REMEMBER?!?! That moment changed my life! The start of something big! I put a note on the Race Day Instruction page to bring a bottle of decent beer along as a gift for the race director. It worked. That's where the tradition got started. Since then, runners from all over have brought beer. And since then, after every race we've had great micro brew from New Holland Brewery. It's a tradition. It's part of the fun.
And now, I know who started the tradition. Thanks Gary!!