Barista Mag Goes Inside the JavaJog in Seattle

One of the best events of any SCAA show is the JavaJog, and this year’s was no exception

By Jeremy Martin
SPECIAL TO BARISTA MAGAZINE

Water? Check. Shorts? Check? Jacket? Check….wait, the zipper’s stuck half way up the track and I can’t get it back down…..need to find a new fleece, grab my backpack and get out the door.

It’s 6:58 AM; Dammit, missed the bus. OK, I won’t catch the coffee sack races, but I’m not 100% certain that’s a real sport anyway.

I haven’t seen the sunrise in months, so I’m lucky it’s cloudy this morning so I won’t break my streak.

What I will be doing however is running the 5K JavaJog for a Cause to raise money and awareness for the women coffee farmers of Ethiopia who continue to endure harsh working conditions, societal violence, and low wages so that we in the west can sip some of the finest coffees on the planet.

The author taking a selfie with all of the people that would immediately pass him once the race started.
The author taking a selfie with all of the people that would immediately pass him once the race started.

Jogging 3.2 miles up and down the west side of Seattle’s beautiful Lake Union isn’t my normal idea of a relaxing morning, but I can deal with tomorrow’s sore legs, stiff joints, and potentially collapsed lung for a cause of this magnitude.

Elizabeth Goldblatt, co-owner of Six Degrees Coffee, who raised over $3,000 by soliciting friends, loved ones, and co-workers, shares the same sentiments.

œThere’s nobody who doesn’t understand the disparity of what goes on in Ethiopia versus our five-dollar pour overs here,” she says. “It’s not my activity of choice, but I can keep moving for 5K, especially when I think about what some of the people in Ethiopia endure. 

Elizabeth Goldblatt and Laura Everage have raised over $3,500 between them and hope to continue bringing money in through the end of April. Laura, who hasn't ran since last year's JavaJo,g isn't concerned about her lack of training (ulike the author of this article who has complained to everyone within earshot).
Elizabeth Goldblatt and Laura Everage have raised over $3,500 between them and hope to continue bringing money in through the end of April. Laura, who hasn’t ran since last year’s JavaJo,g isn’t concerned about her lack of training (ulike the author of this article who has complained to everyone within earshot).

Suffering through sexual violence, unsanitary working conditions, and miserably low wages are just some of the cruelties that woman farmers must find strength to withstand while simply attempting to live their lives and do their jobs.

Elizabeth explains that a mere $500 can match one woman’s yearly wages in Ethiopia, so the thousands of dollars being drummed up by the nearly 200 runners participating in this morning’s 5k, and the more competitive 10K can potentially go a long way towards improving the lives of many, many women.

That’s why we have all gotten up early, some of us after a night of cocktails and craft beer at the SCAA Capitol Hill Block Party and opening reception.

Even the SCAA’s event emcee Marcus Boni found the strength to fight off the early morning haze to be here.   œThere’s so much passion for running in our community and we want to combine that with a good cause and getting together with your friends,  Marcus intoned. œWe had a late night last night and got up early today, but it’s certainly worth it. 

Event organizers came up with the brilliant  idea, too, of giving the  indefatigable  Marcus his very own bullhorn.   œI can get people fired up, make sure they’re all running,  Marcus laughed.

Event emcee Marcus Boni reads from a list of sponsors, all of whom have generously donated to this very worthy cause. Not pictured is Marcus' bullhorn, which he used before, during, and after the race to fire up runners and have 'private' conversations with people across the park.
Event emcee Marcus Boni reads from a list of sponsors, all of whom have generously donated to this very worthy cause. Not pictured is Marcus’ bullhorn, which he used before, during, and after the race to fire up runners and have ‘private’ conversations with people across the park.

The race course itself took participants from Lake Union Park, adjacent to the Museum of History and Industry, northward past boatyards, restaurants, office parks, and the house boat dock where Tom Hanks lives. (That is, of course, assuming  Sleepless in Seattle  was a documentary.)

After about a mile and a half, the 5k course doubled back on itself while the 10k runners continued under the famed Fremont Bridge, pushing their endurance through the untamed streets of Seattle, avoiding Amazon employees and hurdling Paul Allen’s stacks of million dollar bills.

3.2 (or 6.4 if you’re a 10ker) miles may seem like quite a distance, but its a drop in the bucket compared to how far some folks traveled to be at this year’s SCAA Event.

Allan Botrel of the Brazilian Specialty Coffee Association passed through eight countries to be here exhibit at the Washington State Convention Center and to run the race. The only problem? He didn’t register in time.

œMy plan was to try it this year, but it clearly didn’t work out,  Allan said.

A self proclaimed ‘weekend runner,’ Allan decided since he was up that he’d run the course anyway. He just wouldn’t get a cool paper number to pin on his shirt like the rest of us.

Laura Everage, who is a member of the Java Jog organizing committee and one of the first people to sign up for the event took her head start as a way to raise over $500, though she intends to continue pushing for more donations and for awareness of the annual race.

œWe look forward to continuing to raise money until the end of the month,  Laura said. œBeing that this is the third year we’ve had [the race], we’ve got some momentum and it really has its place on this Friday before the show. I think everyone is kind of getting int the groove of saying ‘Java Jog for a Cause is on that Friday.'”

Whether we signed up on time or not, came from across town or across the globe, we all gathered on the mild, spring day in Seattle to have a little bit of fun, get a good workout, and raise a whole bunch of money for people that desperately need a boost.

Tomorrow, when the lactic acids build up in our joints, we’ll remember why we’re hurting and understand that there are thousands of women in Ethiopia who suffer everyday so we can nurse are aching bones and hangovers with the coffee they’ve risked their lives to grow.

For more information on JavaJog for a Cause to to donate to Coffee Women of Ethiopia please visit:  javajog.org

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