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New running club encourages participation

WEST POINT — When Michael and Kathy Denehy opened Chattabrewchee in the latter half of 2017, they didn’t do so for personal gain, but to provide a service to the area.

Keeping with that mantra, Michael, with the help of West Point local Benji Mitchum, has decided to get together Greater Valley Area residents with a knack for exercise for a weekly running club.

“We [My wife and I] are big time endurance athletes,” Denehy said. “We don’t own the brewery to become millionaires, this is her hometown and, although it sounds cliché, we really do this to give something back to the community that she grew up in and loves. We just thought we could give local Valley residents an opportunity to be engaged in their community.”

The club meets in front of the brewery every Thursday at 6:30 p.m. to run a set route — around three miles with a lot of it uphill — before finishing where they started. From there, some of the runners head in to enjoy a drink, something that Denehy said is quite common for those who train.

“Beer is not an inherently unhealthy thing,” he said. “One of the things that you will find in the endurance community is that craft beer drinkers, kayakers, triathletes and marathon runners kind of go hand-in-hand. It’s a natural, organic fit.”

Mitchum said that the club started after a conversation he and Denehy had about their past experience with running. Both having taken part in some form of marathon and knowing others who had done the same, they called up those they knew with similar interests.

“Each one of us, we run for different reasons,” Mitchum said.

The Chattabrewchee co-founders hold the running club to add to their repertoire of community service they provide — others including work with veterans and charities — but Michael Denehy has personal reasons for doing it.

He is training to run an Ironman Triathalon on his 46th birthday, Sept. 29. He said that the running club encourages him to keep his training consistent.

“I run with these guys because they’re younger, thinner and faster than me,” Denehy laughed.

He encourages anyone interested to come and run with the group on Thursday evenings, all that is required to join is running shoes and shorts.