Alehouse wants you!
By joining the university cross country club you automatically become a life long member of Alehouse AC. ALEHOUSE represents the social alter ego of the club and is the colour we display with pride at all times. During races ALEHOUSE orange and Manchester Purple compete alongside each other.
Past members have traditionally been a strong social section of the club, supporting the club through hard times and providing insights into club traditions. The past members are known as the ALEHOUSE ACADEMICALS in recognition of the club’s early years using a local alehouse as a training base. ALEHOUSE forms the basis of the very strong social side of the club.
The Origins and the Isle of Man
Every Easter since the early 60’s the universities (UMIST & Owens) team travel to the Isle of Man, to compete in a festival of running. And every year on this island we would encounter a band of dirty, pig-ugly, joggers from Leeds. Apparently they raced but they were so far behind we never noticed. On this island a bitter rivalry developed. Manchester were to be named ALEHOUSE (see club history) and Leeds were to be named DOSS AC.
Click here for some more information on the legendary trip to Isle of Man!
At some point in the 70’s Captain Bruce Green decided that ALEHOUSE needed an identity. At the time (and still to this very day) orange was the ‘vogue’ colour. Bruce and his contemporaries adopted orange for their tour t-shirt, and to this day (and forever more) that is the colour associated with ALEHOUSE.
Yellow is the colour hated by all things ALEHOUSE, the reason being, scumbag DOSSERS wear it. I tend to associate yellow with sick, cowardice, slowness and shandy. The colour code is very important to ALEHOUSE as it distinguishes you from the dirty DOSSERS. If you are to be found adorning the wrong colour punishment is certain to follow. It was also around this period that the club mascot and talisman, The Honourable William ‘Billy’ Whizz Esq became involved with the club. Billy Whizz quickly became a club favourite, and to this day continues to lead his flock of Whizzkids.
ALEHOUSE is not just about being at university and racing for the club. Once a true member, it is very difficult to turn your back on the club. ALEHOUSE has a whole network of past members, the most loyal of whom become VPs (honory position of Vice President). The VPs are very important to ALEHOUSE because they are ever-present. If the numbers or spirit of present members begins to wane, the club will always be kept going by past members. The other advantage of having past members is that they will always buy you drinks at social events. Past Members are always very friendly and have the best intentions of the club at heart. So freshers, if you see one of these oldies at a social, don’t be afraid to go up and say hello, even challenge them to a beer race. They’ll be some of the greatest people you ever meet.
The club VP Secretary keeps past members updated on the goings on with the club by sending out regular ‘VP letters’. If you’re a past member and for some reason the club doesn’t have your current contact details please get in touch.
“Running and Drinking in Balance” The ALEHOUSE Motto
ALEHOUSE is in existence because runners are brought together through the university club. But ALEHOUSE is far more than a running club, it is an organisation that takes fun very seriously. And how better to have fun than to get very drunk (I know no better way). Throughout the year there are a series of races across the length and breadth of the country. Some of these races, (Manchester Relays, Braids Hill Edinburgh, Leeds Relays, Hyde Park Relays and Isle of Man) constitute a weekend of fun, where we attempt to balance racing with drinking. These weekends are probably the best things about ALEHOUSE and you cannot consider yourself a full member until you have been on one. They are also a great chance to get to properly know all the other members of the club as well as the past members. The weekends away normally work out as follows (see separate article for Isle of Man):
|Friday pm||Travel to venue (not Leeds or Manchester) meet host and maybe a beer or two|
|Race as hard as you can. This means you can then enjoy the rest of the weekend with a clean conscience|
|4pm (ish)||Prize giving. First beers of the day. Make yourselves heard with a few ALEHOUSE /anti DOSS chants|
|5pm||Change into orange (if not already done so) then enjoy a few beers with your host|
|8pm||Post Race party|
|9-10pm||Beer Racing begins (a full explanation of this in the next paragraph)|
|12am (ish) ||ALEHOUSE win the Beer Race Final - rapturous celebrations follow|
|12 till late ||ALEHOUSE dance drunkenly away into the night|
|Post Party||Post party food (be it curry or kebab), then onto the post-party-party, when we drink and chat further into the night|
|Sunday||We get up, very hungover, and travel back home. Often we will stop somewhere on the way back to end the weekend as it started, with a run|
As well as these weekends away there are a number of important ALEHOUSE social events organised in Manchester. These include, Freshers’ Social, AU Socials, Pub Golf, ALEHOUSE Xmas Dinner, AGM (certainly not as boring as it sounds), The Didsbury Dozen and the Club BBQ. Many of these events have been ongoing in ALEHOUSE since the very early days, and are heaped in ALEHOUSE’s own version of tradition, upheld by the all members that attend these events.
ALEHOUSE takes its beer (or boat) racing very seriously. ALEHOUSE has a great tradition for winning the beer races wherever they go. Every year the ALEHOUSE Academy turns mediocre beer drinkers in to sub-6 second performers. For the uninitiated a beer race goes happens as follows:
- Teams of 4 or 6 are decided from beer trials (or previous form).
- Each person purchases a pint of beer (I suggest bitter) and places it on the table with the rest of their team.
- The team decides on the order of drinking. You stand round the table in this order and place your hands by your sides.
- When the starter shouts go, the first person picks up his/her pint and necks it as fast as possible. When finished he/she places it upside down on their head.
- As soon as the first person finishes the next starts. This repeats until all persons have completed their drink.
In ALEHOUSE we practise beer racing all the time at socials, this is why we are so good at it. Past members who have been doing it for many years get it down to a fine art, perfecting the pick up, gulping rhythm, angle of glass and finish. Beer drinking (especially against Leeds) can get very competitive, which makes it all the more satisfying when we win. Despite the competitive edge, beer racing is great fun and brings out much camaraderie within the ranks.
Beer Racing can get very hectic, and is rarely caught on film
One other thing that brings camaraderie amongst ALEHOUSE is their inclination to sing. Members of the club have penned many songs that both celebrate ALEHOUSE and derise DOSSERS (and other clubs). ALEHOUSE will sing when they’re happy or when they’re sad, in victory or in defeat. Mostly it is just to let people know ‘ALEHOUSE are here and we’re going to party’. Songs and chants are often very important for presentation ceremonies also.
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There’s so much more to ALEHOUSE, but there’s not enough paper (bytes of memory) to write it all down. So all I can suggest is that you step into our world and find out for yourself – you will be welcomed with open arms.