We independently review everything we recommend. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission.
These are the dog days of summer, days that come loudly and go quietly, hot asphalt turning warm but never cool, the featherweight rays of the morning sun somehow lifting the red clay of freshly-fired humidity. Days where most of our movements are straight lines from air conditioned room to air conditioned room.
July drags on and sometimes it needs to be stopped and told what to do. So that’s what we did.
In tradition with past Believe in the Run events, our annual Summer GRIT party dovetailed with the Asics Summer Hydration Tour, and landed in Baltimore on a classic summer city evening.
The night began quite early, as a bunch of people showed up at 4:30 p.m. to the Believe HQ in Fells Point, eager to get their hands on a Ciele hat giveaway, guaranteed to the first 150 guests. In reality, we were overstocked, and many more runners got their hands on one of the coveted running caps, with classic staples ranging from the GOCap to the ALZCap to a handful of buckets (BKTCap). It may have been the largest gathering of Ciele fashion to date. (Personally, I went with the Legionnaire PYNCap, because it’s #legionseason.)
A slew of special guests were on hand for the occasion. All the way from Japan: Kayano-San, the creator of the original Gel-Kayano. Everyone’s favorite shoetuber Michael Ko (a.k.a. Kofuzi) made the annual pilgrimage. Artist Greg Itahara came from Chicago to hand deliver a one-off, custom, hand-painted pair of Gel-Kayano 30 to Mr. Kayano-San, who was quite honored by the gesture. In an act of reciprocation, Kayano-San gifted a hand-signed, first-edition replica of the Gel-Kayano to Thomas and the Believe in the Run team. Truly incredible.
Runners milled about in the headquarters and on the sidewalks of Fells Point, waiting for the start of the 3-mile run. Let it be known– this wasn’t a locals only party; people showed up from as far as Richmond and Reading and all points in between. Meghann Featherstun of Featherstone Nutrition gave a pre-game hydration pep talk (Skratch items were on hand for pre-run fuel), Robbe spelled out the route, and we all assembled for a group photo. And then we were off.
For us Baltimoreans, a run through the city and along the water becomes commonplace as the route is a mainstay in our running routine. It takes on a different feeling when there’s a couple hundred friends weaving through traffic, flipping the script on who owns the road, on our way to creating a new shoreline along Baltimore’s Inner Harbor. Conversations were had, sweat pressed through whatever clothing some choose to wear (or not wear).
On the run, attendees were able to test out the all-new Gel-Kayano 30, a revamped light stability shoe that our own reviewers loved. Others tried on the Gel-Nimbus 25, an entirely different Nimbus altogether and one of our favorite max cushion shoes of 2023.
After running along the water for two miles, the line broke off towards the iconic Natty Boh, before ending at Mobtown Brewing Company on the other side of Brewers Hill, co-owned by fellow Baltimore runner Dave Carpenter. Bucket of iced beers (Mexican lagers and witbiers) and samples of Skratch hydration awaited us outside the brewery while notes from a yacht rock band filled the air. Shortly thereafter, 60 pizzas arrived from Homeslyce, which turned out to be just the right amount to sate our post-run hunger.
Standing in alleys, sitting at picnic tables, milling in the street– we took over the outer spaces of the brewery. The whole scene dripped with the essence of summer. Bodies bolstered by the run, spirits swirling with the community vibes, and a dash of liquid courage to keep us bouncing from one group to another. We were all together, truly.
The party drew on for a couple hours, while a shuttle service filtered some of the group back to Believe HQ. The sun did its best to keep its eyes on us, but eventually night fell. A few of us remained, long after the Magna Carta of beer receipts was printed out and paid for.
And then it was a memory.
There are nights when everything seems to suspend in the air; the laughs and conversations, the tangible feeling of life, that we’re actually doing this and we’re all part of it. Strangers, friends, lovers, old and young, the fastest legs in Baltimore and the back of packers. The moment hangs long enough to grab it, like wet sand squeezing between the fingers, and when you open your palm, the memory remains.
Turned to glass, placed on a shelf, ready to break open when necessary, someday when we can’t run anymore and remember why we did.
Thanks to everyone who came and made it the special evening that it was. Thank you to Asics for providing financial support for the event and for Summer GRIT. Thank you to Ciele Athletics for the generous hat donation, there’s a reason y’all are the best in the game, no matter how much others try to copy your homework. Thank you to Skratch for the abundant surplus of hydration supplements. Thank you to Mobtown Brewing for hosting the event.
Winter is coming, which means that Winter GRIT is coming too.
Robbe is the senior editor of Believe in the Run. He loves going on weird routes through Baltimore, finding trash on the ground, and running with the Faster Bastards. At home in the city, but country at heart. Loves his two boys more than anything. Has the weakest ankles in the game.More from Robbe