Dash and Dine

by Steve Wilson

Runners in a Sunday group jog used to be lucky to get a paper cup of water for their trouble. Now, they get bRUNch. The idea is simple: meet outside a restaurant at 9:30 a.m., run either a 5K or 10K route nearby, then come back to the restaurant and eat a prix-fixe meal. Hey, they’ve earned it. The runners like the idea because they have something to look forward to beyond a squirt of power gel; the restaurants like it because they get an instant roomful of endorphin-soaked customers who, even if a little smelly, have worked up an appetite.

Running buddies Alexandra Weissner and Cortney Logan launched bRUNch two years ago in Denver, Colorado, as an outgrowth of their love for training and eating brunch afterwards at restaurants they wanted to try. “Brunch is always a fun meal after running fourteen miles,” says Weissner. They started inviting friends along and posting pictures of the meals on Facebook. Before too long, they threw together the first bRUNch event, expecting 15 people to show. It drew twice that amount. They started holding bRUNch weekly, and last January, they took the idea to Phoenix, Arizona. Austin seemed like the next best fit. “The passion Austinites have is awesome for food and fitness,” says Weissner, who plans on holding bRUNch every weekend (save race weekends) through early spring. The group charges $25 a ticket in advance ($30 at the door) for the entrée, two drinks, tax and gratuity, and gives a portion of proceeds to the Austin Trail Foundation.

A typical bRUNch event draws runners of every skill level and age, says Weissner, “from newbies to elite athletes; as young as twenty-three and as old as seventy.” They’re united by the usual concerns of most running groups: races they’d like to do, times they’d like to finish within, aches they’d like to go away. But another topic dominates the breathless and wheezing jogging chatter: places they’d like to eat. bRUNch strives to satisfy those wishes by choosing local eateries that don’t mind serving a customized menu to clientele in sweaty pants.

So what kind of brunch food satisfies the empty stomachs of people fresh off a run? “When we work with restaurants on the menu, we always strive for French toast, eggs Benedict and bloody marys,” says Weissner. “Mimosas are a must.”

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