Op-Ed: Bones and Barrels is a vibe – you should run this race

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Lauren Estes (contributed)

Bones and Barrels is one of the most underrated trail races you will find. Zombie Trail Races, a local running company, hosts seven of these races annually. The Bones and Barrels Endurance Beer Mile 5K took place at Palomino RV Resort in Cullman on March 16.

From my perspective and to my dismay, this race did not get the support or credit it deserved. 

Known for its pre-, during- and post-race brews – kindly sponsored by Cullman’s own Goat Island Brewing – the race begins with the chugging of one of Goat Island’s popular beers. It then follows a paved road for a short period before hitting the trail, climb and what is affectionately known as “Heartbreak Hill,” before runners get their next beer at the half-way point of the 3-mile endurance beer run. 

Runners complete another 1.5 miles of off-road racing and finish with a circle around the Palomino RV Resort, bound, as they cross the finish line, for their third and final Goat Island cold one. 

The first male runner to complete the race and all three beers made the trip from Birmingham. 

Jack Osborne, 26, said the vibes are so good for this race, he will definitely be back. 

“I came in wanting to win, but on the same note have fun, so I tried not the take it too serious, but enjoy the run,” Osborne said. “The Zombie Trail Races are great; Trey (Clark) is really cool and they host really  fun events. You can’t go wrong with drinking beer and running all at the same event.”

The first female race finisher also won the event in 2023: Natalie McCay from Somerville.

“This is truly a race favorite; the beer is really hard to manage, but it’s also one of my favorite parts,” McCay said. “I was able to grab the overall female title last year and really wanted to do it again. I ended up finishing about four minutes faster.

Huntsville’s Adam Hansen agreed with Osborne and said the vibes at the race were great. 

“I love everything about the atmosphere here,” Hansen said. “I enjoy being out on the trails and running in nature. The Goatopia beer was also great.” 

A Florida native who recently moved to Cullman – Myra Berens – joined in on the event for the first time. She shared that she typically volunteers at racing events so this one was enjoyable and she loved the energy while she was able to participate.

ZTR Owners Trey Clark and Nick Doss said the Bones and Barrels Endurance Beer Mile 5K is close to home and they hope that Cullman will support it as it begins to grow over the years.

“We love our runners and hope to watch this race get bigger each year,” Doss said. “We have several upcoming races and we truly appreciate support from our runners!” 

Their next race is the Chief Ladiga 100 on April 13.  

For more information, visit www.zombietrailraces.com