Get Inspired with Roland Brodeur’s Brewers’ Cup Story

By June 29, 2017Run
In Colorado Springs, there is a unique running competition called the Brewers’ Cup which pits team of 15 runners from various local breweries against each other for a year-long competition comprised of 38 races. Runners receive points for showing up to races and additional points for podium finishes. The winning brewery earns a traveling trophy and bragging right for the entire next year.
One of the more well-known Brewers’ Cup participants is a local Swiftwick Socks and inov-8 All Terrain Running Ambassador and Team Manitou Brewing Company member, Peter Maksimow. While Peter is currently injured and unable to run, he maintains his enthusiasm and support for other runners by offering what he dubbed, the “Inspired Project!” The project provided an essay contest for individuals and asked for stories about how the Brewers’ Cup got people off the couch and into running, helped them lose weight, helped some get through difficult times or proved to others that no matter what the age, disability, or difficult back story, they still got out there and did it! His hope was that those stories would inspire, motivate, and encourage others to succeed, as well as provide him his inspiration during a difficult setback in his running career. Not being able to enjoy his passion, he maintains that making others feel like champions brings him immense pleasure. Peter also considers himself lucky to maintain the support of his sponsors throughout his injury and decided that with this support, he could “pay it forward” to four lucky Brewers’ Cup runners and provide them with a “sponsorship” which includes a pair of inov-8 All Terrain Running shoes and gear, socks from Swiftwick, and some endurance nutrition from locally owned Enduro Bites. He did all the legwork, pitched his idea to the Brewers’ Cup chairman, Vanessa Shawver, and from there, the project was born.
After announcing his project, Peter received numerous compelling, fascinating stories and immediately enlisted the help of others to whittle those essays down to the top four. It proved to be such a difficult decision that he and his sponsors decided to include one more winner, bringing the total prizes awarded to five!
The final winners of the Inspired Project include Carrie Renaud of Axe & the Oak Distillery, Roland Brodeur of Rocky Mountain Brewery, Karen Masias of Colorado Common Hard Cider, Sarah Neblock from Manitou Brewing and Shelby Johnson of Fossil Craft Beer.

Each month, we will feature one of those incredible winners at Swiftwick. This month is Roland Brodeur.

 

March 1, 2015: I wake up inside El Paso County jail. The events from the night before still being processed…the red and blue lights piercing through the night behind my truck…the roadside test…being cuffed in the back of the police car. Hours later, laying there in a cot, watching as inmates walked around and talked amongst themselves. Never in my life had I imagined myself here. How could I have ending up in jail? Admitting to being guilty of a DUI was very difficult. The long road to recovery would prove to be even more so.
The rest of 2015 proved to be quite difficult with multiple court appearances, security clearance reporting to Lockheed Martin, alcohol classes, community service, alcohol therapy, probation, interlock device, random urinary analysis all became my routine. Day after day, I was broke, bored, wallowing in my self-pity and feeling mentally broken down from the system. When you are continually told that you are a terrible person and called a criminal time and time again, eventually it wears you down into believing that maybe they are correct. 
Soon 2016 was upon us, and my cousin asked if I was interested in joining her running Brewers’ Cup team. I jumped at the chance! Not only did it support one of my favorite and frequently visited breweries, but hopefully it would be the motivation to get me out of the house during those cold winter days when I would usually just be lazy at home. The Brewers’ Cup was off and running, and I can certainly say that I had underestimated what I had signed up for.

I thought of myself as fit, being the fair weather mountain biker and hiker that I was, but I had never run in the snow, on ice or in any race or organized event before.

 

The last time I had run was back in high school, and that was only a mile for gym class when I lived in Las Vegas. The first few months were difficult as I painfully ran 9:50 minute per mile pace, back to back days and generally struggled to stay motivated to run. Quitting seemed to be a great option, as I really wasn’t close to most of the group. I had so many excuses why I should quit; half the team was struggling to make most of the events, many of which were my friends.  
Then came High Drive Challenge. With pressure to score points for the “team,” I decided to do the long course, ten miles, something I had never attempted before. At four o’clock in the morning I’m driving back to the Springs from a camping trip deep in the middle-of-nowhere mountains, wishing I could stay the extra day and drink the rest of the beer in my cooler and hang out with my buddies. I arrive at the race and pull into a parking spot to discover my entire team is present. We take a quick picture, and off we go. The High Drive Challenge kicks my butt! I’m hurting from a cut on the bottom of my foot, and I end up walking almost half of the race. I find the run oddly fun, and the scenery was particularly beautiful. As each team member crossed that finish line, I had a sense of pride, camaraderie, and accomplishment. This was really the first time we, as a group, were an actual bonafide team. Fourteen of us showed up, and thirteen of us did the long race. I get home, check the results and see the that I placed fourth in my age group. Unbelievable! I always told myself, “I’m not a runner,” and then, like a light switch, I knew I could (and would) push myself to be faster, try harder and not quit on my “team.” I wanted to become stronger both mentally and physically, to not allow my tainted past dictate my future. This group supported and encouraged me when I didn’t support, or believe, in myself. 
A couple of months later I took on a new challenge: my first marathon.

Completely naive to what that actually entailed, I didn’t train or prepare myself in any way. Figuring the High Drive Challenge was in the bag, how bad could it be to run 26.2 miles on a flat surface? 

 

 

What a learning curve that was! I may have placed first in my age group, but only because I was uncontested. Proud to have actually finished and to now have a baseline for improvement, I started to increase my number of runs and became more focused, partaking less in late-night partying the night before a race. Each month I saw improvement, and each month I grew and learned from our team. As a team, we became closer, and the races became more enjoyable.
All too quickly the 2016 year ended, but much had improved from the year before. With it came the excitement of what 2017 might hold. My probation has since ended and the new year is looking bright, personal records are ripe for the taking, and new experiences with friends await to be shared. My team truly has some of the most supportive and genuine people I have had the pleasure to acquaint myself with. They encourage me to join them for weekly runs and enter races I don’t think I ever would have thought of registering for. I feel honored to be backed by such a supportive brewery and such a fantastic running community that really embrace people for who they are and who they want to be. I feel I am part of a group of supportive members that encourages everyone to grow and prosper, both as individuals and as a team. I am both mentally and physically stronger now because of this running community. The early months of 2017 have seen new PRs, with race times in the 7:00 minute per mile pace. I now run because I want to run and not because I feel obligated. Joining other running groups and socializing with the running community as a whole, I can’t believe I was so against being identified as a runner. I can definitively say that I am now proud to embrace that title and that of a Rocky Mountain Brewery Brewers’ Cup member!
Read last month’s Get Inspired story here!