Weekly run club encourages thirst for vitality in Pontiac

Daniela Walters makes an excellent point about beer and running: they go well together.


That’s why Exferimentation Brewing Company, Pontiac’s scientific-sounding brewery, is the perfect place to host a weekly grass-roots run club.


“If you figure each glass of beer is 120 to 150 calories, and each mile you run can burn about 100 calories, you don’t feel so guilty,” says Walters, a local patent attorney with the Dobrusin Law Firm who, together with Exferimentation, is coordinating the run club.


Open to every experience level from absolute beginner to seasoned marathoner, run club is an opportunity for people to gather, share training wisdom, and see the neighborhoods of Pontiac from a pound-the-ground perspective.


“This will be a comfortable, welcoming setting with different pace groups, advice, and motivational support. Community running is a big help to overcome the barriers in your own mind, and it’s a group of people to motivate and distract you so you can do the extra half mile or mile,” says Walters, who runs regularly, and has participated in a few competitive distance events.


Launching on May 8, run club will start each Tuesday evening at 5:30, and continue through the end of October. The club is a collaborative effort between Exferimentation and Main Street Pontiac, a downtown-promoting nonprofit that focuses on arts and culture, makerspaces, and health and wellness efforts in the city of Pontiac.


“With Healthy Pontiac, We Can! and McLaren Oakland here in Pontiac, this is the perfect ecosystem for health and wellness, and the run club is one of our first health initiatives here in Pontiac,” says Walters, president of Main Street Pontiac.


A downtown filled with runners makes the city appear vibrant and healthy, too, an important optic for revitalization. And all participants are welcome relax and refuel with friends at Exferimentation after every run.


“We do try to have a healthier angle at the brewery,” says Exferimentation general manager Seth Leininger, pointing out the antioxidant value of their hibiscus wheat beer’s pink-purple hue.


Leininger will be the one who stays behind to mind the brewery and serve customers their favorite craft beers and ciders, but he says run club is a perfect fit for pub co-owners and fitness enthusiasts Scott Boughton, Eric Benton, and Andy Stamper. They originally started a run club when they opened the Pontiac brewery in 2016, and fit in a weekly run, in between growing their brewing business and working their full-time jobs in the automotive industry.


“[The club] didn’t really pick up again last spring. Everyone was too busy, or there was too much going on. Now Healthy Pontiac has helped us gain some momentum by researching what night of the week and what time would be best,” Leininger says.


While he wants runners to come back to Exferimentation, to quench their thirst after running, Leininger hopes the club starts strong and grows quickly.


“I know that about 20 people responded to the interest survey, and I would love to see 20, but an average of about a dozen people running each week would be a successful group, too.”


Join the run club by showing up at Exferimentation, 7 N. Saginaw, Pontiac. 5:30 p.m. on May 8, and every Tuesday through October.