Pier to Peak Half Marathon: Allagash Dash

Luke gets a case of the runs.

A couple of years ago, I indulged on a bit of a running bender. Nothing too major, but believe it or not, I got to the point where I actually enjoyed going for a nice, long run (needless to say, my inner fat kid was thoroughly distressed). I decided to capitalize on this inexplicable situation, and participate in an organized run, but not one of those sissy 5k Turkey Trots (which are tons of fun, might I add). No, I wanted something a bit more monumental. So I entered into the Santa Barbara Pier to Peak Half Marathon, often referred to as “the world’s toughest half marathon.”

For all of those Marathoners scoffing at the blasphemy of splitting the sacred marathon in half, please note that this is no ordinary half marathon. The race begins at sea level down by the Santa Barbara Pier, then climbs to the top of La Cumbre Peak, an elevation gain of 4,000 feet over a distance of 13.1 miles.

The thought of running all those miles uphill actually excited me. Running uphill is easy on the joints, and since I’m what’s known as a “Clydesdale” to the running world (a heavy, yet in shape individual), long runs can get pretty painful. As a matter of fact, according to the BMI (Body Mass Index), I’m borderline obese, and what better way to motivate a borderline-obese, beer-loving runner, than to have a delicious brew waiting at the end of the run! My beer of choice was the Dubbel Ale from Allagash Brewing Company.

Just look at those mountains

To be completely honest, although the Dubbel was delicious, it wasn’t exactly the most thirst-quenching beverage I’ve ever come across. This is more the type of beer for you to relish while sitting around with a couple of good friends. It has a nice, deep amber color to complement it’s malty, yeasty robustness.

Race day was gorgeous and sunny, and I kicked some ass. By the last couple miles, I actually had to start running faster in order to be sure that I used up my full reserves. It was thrilling to finish strong and zoom past people who were struggling just to reach the finish line. I certainly didn’t come in first, but I wasn’t anywhere near last either. Either way, I earned the right to drink a darn good beer on top of a beautiful peak on a sunny, Santa Barbara afternoon.

If you look closely, you can see the pier where the race started


4 thoughts on “Pier to Peak Half Marathon: Allagash Dash

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