Work For Your Beer Love Stories: Philip & Jessica
Aug 26, 2019
You already know that brewery workouts are a fun (and inexpensive) way to stay fit, and that they can make it easier to make friends. But did you know they could also help you find the love of your life?
That's exactly what happened for Philip Sanford and Jessica Lackey.
Their relationship began on July 4, 2018 at NoDa Run Club. At the time, they were total strangers who just happened to show up at the same run club — and now, they're engaged!
Read on to get the full story from the love birds themselves:
If you live in Charlotte, NC and you're an active person in any capacity, chances are that you recognize Phil. He's a NoDa Run Club ambassador and the local event director at Get Your Rear In Gear - Charlotte. He's an avid runner and cyclist, and he gets involved in all kinds of events relating to those activities in the Charlotte community.
Jessica, on the other hand, is a corporate warrior turned professional coach. She has an MBA from Harvard Business School — and she is also an iPEC-certified professional coach and energy leadership master practitioner, a certified Awaken Your Life master life coach-trainer, a certified holistic nutritionist by The Wellspring School of Healing Arts, and a member of the International Coaching Federation.
Jessica moved to Charlotte in February 2018 without knowing anyone in the city. But as much as she wanted to get there to meet new people, the first time that she was actually able to get off work in time to try out NoDa Run Club wasn't until months later — on July 4, 2018.
"Among the 15 or so runners who came out that night were a couple of new faces, including a very good looking brunette with curly hair," said Phil. "As runners finished, I handed them towels soaked in lavender scented ice water."
Jessica said, "I show up and there’s a really good looking guy welcoming people, organizing the group photo, and then handing me a towel at the end of the run. I immediately check the ring finger, and no ring! So, of course, I sat at his table."
Jessica made her way to Phil's table to thank him for the towel, and the two began talking.
"We ended up hanging out for a long time at the brewery that night — doing a lot more talking than drinking," Phil said.
Jessica went home and searched for Phil on social media to see if he was single. She deduced that he was... and just a few days later, the two matched on Bumble.
Jessica returned to NoDa Run Club the Sunday after the two "swiped right" on each other, and after the run, Phil approached Jessica to say hello. They made some small talk before Jessica cut to the chase, saying, "So, we know we're both single..."
That cut the tension, and the following Thursday, the two went on their first date.
Then they got together again on Saturday.
Then Phil invited Jessica to hang out with his friends at Birdsong Brewing on Sunday.
"I knew it was special, even at that point," Jessica said.
Fast forward to about a year later: the first weekend of August 2019.
"We were just enjoying a lazy Saturday night after 14-mile long run that morning and having napped all day. We had eaten dinner at Optimist Hall for opening weekend, then got a beer at Birdsong and the Hobbyist in NoDa," Jessica said. "Philip had been quiet all night, so I wondered what was up. When we got back to my place, I asked if he wanted to watch TV before sleep, and he said, 'Well actually I have something to ask you.' He handed me a ring, and then asked me if I would marry him. I said yes!"
The two plan to continue participating in brewery workouts as husband and wife, of course.
"Beyond my official duties with the NoDa Brewing Run Club, I always enjoy a good beer and hanging out with friends after finishing a run," said Phil. "I've been going to NoDa and Triple C to run weekly since 2014 and I don't see that stopping any time soon."
Jessica agreed. "Because I immediately started to date Philip, I became a regular at NoDa Run Club and a guest at the Triple C Run Club," she explained. "I not only met my future husband there, but also formed a wonderful community. On Saturdays, I now run starting at NoDa OG for marathon training, because that’s what all of my friends and my fiancé do! Wednesday nights are now date night, girls night out, exercise night, beer night, and Taco night (Tin Kitchen) all in one — how can you go wrong?"
As someone who has been involved in the brewery fitness scene for five years now, Phil recommends it to others — and he recommends going into it with an open mind and a willingness to meet new people.
"Also, don't be intimidated if you don't think you're a good runner, or very flexible in yoga, or a fast cyclist. Everywhere I've gone for brewery fitness is open to beginners and novices. A lot of groups have a mix of personalities, with the common denominators being exercise and meeting new people (or old friends)," Phil said. "If you come across a group that isn't for your activity needs, personality, or schedule, no sweat — you aren't obligated to go again and Charlotte has many other opportunities."
But if you do go, Phil encourages you to put yourself out there. "Find the leaders of the group, talk to them or reach out to them via social media afterwards, and have them introduce you to others," he said. "I'm always happy to welcome new people to NoDa and try to create an atmosphere where that makes them want to come back to Run Club and to the brewery."
Jessica went to NoDa Run Club with the sole purpose of meeting people, being new to town. "Meeting a guy running was actually on my vision board. NoDa Run Club: where engagements happen!" she laughed. "’m still one of the slowest runners at NoDa, but I found a group to be with both during and after the runs. These crazy people wait for me, encourage me to sign up for races, and cheer me on for my new PRs. Find a spot you like, disregard your athletic ability, and just go! Everyone there does want to meet people."
Ready to meet some awesome people (and maybe even find the love of your life)? Find a brewery workout near you!
Head to our home page, type in your city, and check out the beer fitness activities happening near you.
Have your own Work For Your Beer Love Story? We'd love to hear! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for your chance to be featured.