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The little dream of a running club

Run, walk or stroll with El Sueñito Running Club; stay for the beer and tacos

A crowd of runners poses outside El Sueñito Brewing Company on Wednesday, May 1, 2024. The El Sueñito Running Club meets every Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. to run, walk or stroll a few miles and enjoy tacos afterward. // Photo courtesy of Kristina Steiner

Every Wednesday evening, as the sun begins to set over Bellingham, a crowd gathers in front of a bright orange brewery. Wearing neon safety vests or New Balance shoes, this group of runners is changing the definition of happy hour.

They come from different walks of life but meet every week at the El Sueñito Brewing Company to run, talk with friends and enjoy a fresh beer afterward. To this lively community, it’s not just about working out, it’s about the celebration of coming together over a shared passion.

“Originally, it was after COVID, I was sort of new to town, I didn’t know that many people so I was looking for an excuse to get out and meet new people,” said Brendon Bottle, who is a member of the El Sueñito Running Club. “It’s just such a fun group I kept coming back.”

As the runners pace back to El Sueñito, a line forms as they gather, filling the air with laughter and the smell of freshly made tamales. 

Bottle said that he hadn’t been in a running club before this one and that he kept coming back every Wednesday.

“I figured a bunch of people who were gonna drink beer after a run were probably my pace of runners,” Bottle said.

El Sueñito Running Club started on Mar. 22, 2023, and celebrated its anniversary with a scavenger hunt that had prizes provided by the brewery. To praise a certain number of runs, El Sueñito also hands out prizes to members. 

Kristina Steiner, one of the co-founders of the El Sueñito Running Club, belonged to a similar running club in Seattle and couldn’t find one in Bellingham. Steiner said that members wanted to make the club a safe environment and approachable to everyone.

“We promote people who enjoy the same things like running, even walking and just hanging out, grabbing a beer and tacos,”  Steiner said. “There’s no pressure whatsoever, just have fun and meet people.”

Each week, the club posts two routes to its Instagram, one around three miles and the other close to five miles.

There are psychological benefits to running with others as part of a group, said Dave Suprak, a kinesiology professor at Western Washington University. 

“The feeling of being part of a group and social support,” Suprak said. “That tends to increase people’s adherence to a program like that.”

Suprak also said there are a lot of physical benefits, such as improvements to cardiorespiratory function, cardiovascular function and the ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to all the cells in the body. 

“One of the things I like about running is that it is a very friendly sport,” Bottle said. “Nobody is in a lot of competition with each other so it adds a lot of camaraderie to get out together.”

Ronan Lynch

Ronan Lynch (he/him) is a third-year visual journalism major who enjoys hiking and thrifting. You can usually find him at the gym or you can reach him at

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