The 2021 Fresh Brew Awards

Welcome to the 2021 Fresh Brew Awards, where I give my favorite (and least favorite) things in the running universe in 2021. It’s been an eventful year, so why not hand out some illustrious awards to close out another year around the sun? Below is my video, but the full awards show is written out below. Enjoy!

Running YouTuber of the Year

The 2021 Fresh Brew YouTuber of the year is Stephen Gnoza and his “Serious Runner” series. Part of the reason I started making videos was because I was frustrated with the deadpan self-importance of much of the running video content I found. Stephen’s satirical videos take some of that overly serious content to task, with classics such as “A Serious Runner Does an Easy Run” and “A Serious Runner Posts on Instagram” among others.

Running Podcast of the Year

The 2021 Fresh Brew Podcast of the year award goes to the Six Minute Mile Podcast. Mostly known as an informative and entertaining email newsletter, the podcast version also strikes that balance. With interesting and fun conversations, this pod was my favorite in 2021.

Worst Intersection of the Year

If you’ve followed my content, you know I am in constant disdain over the lack of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in the Metro Detroit area. This city was built for cars, and cyclists, walkers, and runners are clearly an afterthought. So this award goes to the worst of the worst intersection. Congratulations to 6th and Main Steet in Royal Oak for taking the award this year. Main Street is a busy thoroughfare and this intersection is quite challenging t cross. Instead of a traditional pedestrian crossing, stop sign or stop light, there’s a tiny “yield to pedestrians” sign in the middle of the road that approximately every car ignores. It’s dangerous, hard to cross, and the winner for the worst intersection of the year.

Most Runner-Friendly City

This year’s runner-friendly city (based on my own personal observations) is Ferndale, MI. As I mentioned earlier, Metro Detroit isn’t the friendliest area for runners, but at least Ferndale is trying. From dedicated bike lanes, to real pedestrian crossings, to drivers who actually pay attention to us peons running in the streets, Ferndale is putting in more effort than most cities. Of course there’s work to be done (like making it less of a dangerous journey to cross Woodward), but congrats to Ferndale.

Running Route of the Year

The Fresh Brew Running Route of the Year goes to the Riverwalk in Detroit. I made a video about this, which you should watch, but a few highlights are the fact that you don’t have to deal with cars, the scenery of the city and the river, and the accessible bathrooms. Congratulations, Riverwalk.

Running Tech of the Year

The winner for Running Tech of the Year goes to the Whoop Strap. This wearable fitness tracker measures strain, recovery and sleep, and a myriad of data points in between. For runners specifically, I most like the fact that it will help you gauge whether you are fatigued or just unmotivated about getting out of bed and running in 33-degree weather. It can also help you track different things that impact your workouts and recovery. For example, if I don’t wear blue-light-blocking glasses at night, my sleep is much worse. If you’re serious about your training, I highly recommend this product.

Second Place Finish of the Year

The winner for the Fresh Brew Second Place Finish of the year goes to me, for my second-place finish at the Volkslaufe 10K in July this past year. It’s my awards show after all, right? Congrats to me. Check out my vlog here.

Volkslaufe Trophy

Coffee Shop of the Year

This is the Fresh BREW Run Club after all, so the award for the 2021 Coffee Shop of the Year goes to Desert Oasis in Royal Oak, MI. The winner of this category not only has to have great coffee (they do), but also excellent vibes inside the shop (they also do). It’s a great place to grab a fresh brew, sit down by the window and do your thing on a laptop or read a book. Congrats, Desert Oasis.

Brew of the Year (Coffee)

The 2021 Fresh Brew Coffee Brew of the year goes to Nespresso’s Intenso coffee. I am a big fan of Nespresso, and in my opinion, this is their best work. It’s bold, pairs well with a little splash of creamer and will give you that caffeine boost needed to power through a long run. Congratulations, Intenso.

Nespresso Intenso coffee
Via Nespresso

Brew of the Year (Beer)

For after your run, the 2021 Beer Brew of the Year goes to the Mr. Blue Sky Raspberry from Griffin Claw. This Wheat Ale is a spin on their popular original Mr. Blue Sky, but this time with a raspberry twist. Perfect for a hot summer day in the backyard, or on a patio somewhere. Buy it here.

Runner of the Year

The Fresh Brew Run Club Runner of the Year award for 2021 goes to Craig Engles. The FBRC is all about having fun, good vibes, and cracking some jokes, and Craig embodies this mentality. Funny, honest and quite fast, it was great seeing Craig get some national exposure to people outside of the running world (such as his appearance on Pardon My Take). The kind of runner you want to crack a fresh brew with.

Craig Engels on Pardon My Take podcast
Via Pardon My Take on YouTube

Shoe of the Year

If I learned anything from making videos this year, it’s that people care the most about my shoe reviews. So that’s why I saved this category for last in The 2021 Fresh Brew Awards. The 2021 Fresh Brew Run Club Shoe of the Year goes to the Nike ZoomX Invincible. I’ve made a bunch of videos about this shoe, so check those out for my full thoughts, but overall, I loved running in this shoe. From the massive foam cushioning, to the rocking motion when you run to the durability, this shoe has been with me for a majority of my runs this season. I dare say it has surpassed the Nike Pegasus Turbo as my all-time favorite shoe. Here’s to you, Invincible!

Thanks for reading the 2021 Fresh Brew Awards! If you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel, be sure to do that for more running-related content. Happy trails!

Power Ranking: Cars Least Likely to Use a Turn Signal

Runners and cars must coexist, but not everyone plays nice. Here’s my list of cars least likely to use a turn signal.

Cars with turn signals

Running can be hazardous. This summer alone, I twisted my ankle three separate times. I’ve seen runners pass out, fall down a muddy hill and get stung by hornets. But cars are another story. Runners must always look out for cars who don’t stop, signal or even look at the road, because our chances against a two-ton machine aren’t great.

One of my biggest pet-peeves is drivers who don’t use a turn signal. I can’t predict where a car is going to go, especially at intersections. Are you going straight, or turning? If only there was a way to signal your intentions as a driver by using some kind of device… Anyway, here’ s my power rankings of cars least likely to use a turn signal.

5. Chevy Suburbans

The official status symbol for soccer moms rushing around the roads while clearly having a speakerphone conversation on the phone. Do these cars not come with Bluetooth? Are Airpods sold out? I can see why it’s impossible to use a turn signal, when you have one hand on the wheel and one hand on your bedazzled iPhone.

4. Nissan Altima

If I see a Nissan Altima, I assume the driver is either A.) texting and driving B.) eating and driving or C.) pretty much doing anything besides paying attention to the road. It doesn’t matter the year of the car, I fear them like Nissan Altima drivers fear using a turn signal.

3. Any BMW or Mercedes-Benz

I think when you get to a certain point where you can afford one of these car brands, you just feel like you are above the law. Or maybe turn signals aren’t standard on these brands? Is that a German thing? Who knows, but I do know these drivers will run a stop sign, not signal and stare you down like it’s your fault for being in the way. Get out of the way runners, the important people in the world have important places to be.

2. Jeep Grand Cherokee

Jeeps, man. What is it about these vehicles that just invites a level of automotive selfishness on par with me at a self-serve frozen yogurt shop? Set aside the fact that these beasts were designed for off-roading, but will spend more time parked in a cul-de-sac, they have a certain unpredictability that goes beyond turn signals. I guess “it’s a Jeep thing” right? Too bad we can’t turn the “Jeep wave” into the “Jeep turn signal” in 2021.

1. Ford F-250

Not sure what it is about the F-250 that empowers drivers to feel the need to put on a show of force on every single humble sidestreet, but these trucks are the definition of “just chill out, man.” Between comically aggressive acceleration at green lights, “rollin’ coal” and a complete lack of interest in the rules of the road, I just assume an F-250 is going to attempt to put me into the ditch and do a burnout on the way to getting groceries, or whatever mundane tasks that underutilized suburban trucks do in their spare time. Also, having a Punisher sticker on the back window also increases the likelihood of not using a turn signal to 100.00%.

Stay safe out there, runners.

Note: if you drive one of these cars, don’t take it personally. Be the turn signal you want to see in the world.