Meet Your Top 10 Bartender Runners In The Thirsty Running Club

With all that has been going on in the world and challenges of adapting and pivoting with what has become our “new normal” way of life, it is more important than ever to do what we can to create personal practices of self-care.  With this in mind, the Thirsty Running Club powered by Reyka Vodka launched back in October 2021 with the goal of creating a community of runnings in the industry to help inspire and encourage members to carve out time to get moving at their own pace with the goal of increased attention to personal physical, mental and emotional states of wellness.

Over 80 industry runners signed up for the journey of two months of logging miles.  Of course, it is all about the fun and camaraderie so mini non-running related challenges were thrown into the mix for fun prizes. The bartenders who covered the most distance over the duration of the program have been calculated and one of them will win a trip to Iceland, the home of Reyka Vodka.  Here are the top ten miles makers and WOW, these phenomenal individuals are all worthy of a massive round of applause for inspiring us to keep going even on the most challenging of days.

Trevor Schneider, Reyka Vodka Brand Ambassador, shared about the program, “Reyka Vodka set out to bring industry people together in wellness. I’m very happy to support the community in a positive way. Thank you to everyone that participated.”

Stay tuned to @thirsty_magazine to find out which one of these 10 bartender runners wins the trip to Iceland with Reyka Vodka.

Meet the Top 10 Bartender Runners in the Thirsty Running Club

Marina Holter – Chicago, IL at Blind Barber

“You are more capable than you realize” is the mantra that has kept me going through many challenging runs. While I’ve been a runner for the past 10+ years, it wasn’t until this past year where it thoroughly disrupted my life, creating new patterns. Being a part of the Reyka running community encouraged me that other hospitality professionals are prioritizing their health and striving to improve their lives through running.

Jeff Naples – Des Moines, Iowa at @thebeardbehindthebar

Participating in the Thirsty Mag and Reyka Vodka Run Club was a fun way to stay running as the cold weather set in. As a USATF masters athlete and coach, I love to see my two worlds come together to promote wellness and longevity in the industry. Being motivated to create run habits and participate in the community-at-large built a sense of friendship, connection, and shared accomplishment.

Francis Stansky – San Francisco, CA at Pacific Cocktail Haven

When I run, I allow myself time to meditate, search for clarity, and ultimately, take a moment for myself.  When I run, time doesn’t exist.  It’s simplicity.

Before this opportunity, running was a solo adventure.  I found myself inspired by the efforts of this community and that pushed me to ask more of myself and what I thought were my limits.  I enjoyed the connection to people in cities I’ve missed visiting during this pandemic.

Zack Wing  – Atlanta, GA at Red Door

The running community is fantastic, and motivation  key. The motivation could be a wave from the other side of the street, a thumbs up on Strava, or a group run on the trail. In this case, it was a group of others within the industry – It means allot to have a group like this, you motivated me through the Holidays and made the miles fun!

Melissa Genova Hill  – Chicago, IL at Reed’s Local

I have found an amazing community through running, and have met my closest friends from run clubs and trail running. I even started a run club and 5k fundraiser with Reed’s Local (our bar). Aside from the community, running is also how I explore new cities- the first thing I do is find a route to run! And I have a part time gig running with dogs – which is a total blast.

Aidan Cooper –  Miami, Florida at Carbone Miami

Working in the South Beach hospitality is incredibly fulfilling but A LOT of work and as a mountain runner, running on the beach refreshes, invigorates and prepares me to travel the world and race!

Kalani Ben – Palm Springs, CA at Bar Cecil

For me running is a mental escape, but also an opportunity to reflect on any and all things. And when things got tough or a little heavy, there was comfort in knowing that I was apart of a community that was there to support me and help push me forward

Dylan Holland – Lancaster, PA

Running challenges me to get out of my comfort zone while giving me an opportunity to explore both new and familiar areas. Although an activity that relies on individual effort, being a part of a running community helps encourage me and continue to push my limits by providing support, accountability, and motivation.

Sarah Meade – Los Angeles, CA at Here & Now

While not new to running it is something that I reconnected with during the pandemic, one of the few things that was still possible during lockdown. Running allows me to move through the world at a pace that bridges both the pre-pandemic world and the possibilities that lie on the other side. The group only added to this feeling, not only as a community, but as an inspiration.

Kyle Harbick – Sisters, Oregon at Takoda’s Restaurant & Lounge

Running is something I have always enjoyed. Being part of the Thirsty Running Club has been an awesome experience! This community helped motivate me to grind these miles, day in and day out!

Special thank you to Trevor Schneider and the entire team at Reyka Vodka, get more information at

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