The sun sits not too high but not too low in the sky at around 5:30 pm. The air starts to cool as the golden hour begins, and the evening light pours over everything in a divine, unmissable way.
Beach Road in Edgartown along State Beach is a good place to take this all in, with its 360° views of beach, pond, and marsh. Some people might say it’s the perfect place for a run.
Amity Island Running Club discovered this, and started facilitating one of the most picturesque weekly running routes on the Island. And if views aren’t enough of an incentive, maybe drinks are. Thirsty Thursdays are about one of life’s sweetest combinations — running, beaches, and beer.
Fifteen or so pairs of sneakers hit the pavement every Thursday, in groups or individually, at whatever pace and distance they’d like. Club founders set up mile markers along the road, ranging anywhere from two to 10 miles, so that runners can easily track their distance. The group starts and ends at Bad Martha’s Brewery on Upper Main Street in Edgartown. “And if it rains, we just stay here and drink,” Alex Billert said before last week’s run.
They keep things casual, welcoming any and all to their unofficial weekly headquarters at Bad Martha’s. Eight regulars, along with four or five drop-ins, usually make up the group. “You could walk next door and back, and that still counts,” founding member Nadine Cunningham said.
Amity Island Running Club was founded three years ago, when Ms. Cunningham and six other founders participated in the Ragnar Relay, an overnight race event on Cape Cod in 2014. They created a group logo that got a lot of attention, so they started thinking about what they could do with it.
“It first started as a website with our gear,” Ms. Cunningham said, “magnets, T shirts, koozies — and then we wanted to get more people involved. We began these weekly runs as a casual way for people to get together, get moving, and make friends.”
The group’s name, Amity Island, comes from the fictional Island name in “Jaws.” The logo is a runner’s silhouette emerging between the jaws of an iconic great white.
The Thirsty Thursday crew is hard to miss, usually gathered around the biggest empty table at the beer garden. They welcome new faces like old friends, and radiate genuine company.
“This group is actually how I got into running,” regular Chris Edwards said at the end of his run last week. “It was the beer incentive that brought me in.”
The group sponsors a 5K every August, formerly known as the Vineyard Scoops 5K Tour of Edgartown. The newly named Amity Island 5K will be Sunday, August 6, starting at 9 am at the FARM Institute in Edgartown.
Ian Higgins sat across from weekly running partner Rachel Spirito: “She’s here for the running, I’m here for the beer.”
Thirsty Thursdays begin at 5:30 pm at Bad Martha’s Brewery every Thursday until it closes in October.