This is the second time I have done this race which is a long-distance version of the Beer Mile. Instead of drink a beer, run a lap of a 400m track four times, it consists of drink a beer, run a kilometre, five times.
Yes, that’s right… drink a beer first, then run a kilometre, repeat five times.
There are very strict rules for the race. The beer must be a regulation size can or bottle. A certain Mexican beer is out as the bottles are too small. The beer containers must only be opened one at a time, before starting each kilometre. All containers must be emptied completely, and proven by turning it upside down over one’s head before starting the next running loop. If one vomits, an extra kilometre must be run as a penalty. If one is able to keep the vomit in by swallowing, there is no penalty. No nudity is allowed. Apparently something happened in 2015 that necessitated this rule. Unfortunately I missed the 2015 race so I can’t report on the nudity occurrence.
There are several divisions including wine and spirits as well. I choose to drink non-alcoholic beer which means I am included in the beer division but I am not eligible for a trophy if I were to win.
Here is my race report, including words of wisdom for myself if I choose to partake a third time in the future.
I hesitated to take part in the event this year as I had a twingey hamstring from doing 500m repeats several nights prior. I was also concerned due to my upcoming goal race of the season being only 5 days later. Would I risk jeopardizing my goal race for a silly beer run? Yes, of course I would!
I had a busy afternoon at work and didn’t end up eating my lunch until 4pm. 3.5 hours prior to race time….. my quinoa salad should stay down fine, right?
I picked up my beer on the way home, direct from the local brewery. I had decided to use their new 0% beer. I had never tried it before, but it sounded good. How different could it be from the grocery brand that I had used previously, right? I left the chilled beer in my car to warm up to the ideal temperature, somewhere between cold and hot.
The race has gotten sillier over the years and some runners are starting to wear costumes. I use this as an excuse to wear my running kilt, which I otherwise reserve for Highland Games running races. I figure if you’re going to do something crazy, you may as well ramp it up.
We got to the race location with about half an hour to spare. Lots of time to sign the waiver and figure out the running course. This would be a 500m out and 500m back flat course. There were about 50 runners and as many spectators as all runners are required to have a designated driver. Much smack-talk ensued at this point….. ok, maybe it was just me mocking people who were opting to do the race as members of a relay team. I can be a bit obnoxious when it comes to Stupid Human Tricks such as this.
At 7:30, the race began. Drinks were opened and poured. It instantly became apparent that we were going to have a new champion. Our Aussie transplant quickly chugged his first beer in about 5 seconds and was off for his first kilometre. I am not a chugger, but I was done in about 40 seconds. With my first taste, I realized that I didn’t like my new beer choice as much as my prior one, but I thought I could tolerate it. I headed off for my first run.
The worst part of each kilometre is the first 200m. If you are lucky, you will have a couple of belches and then be on your way. My body did not disappoint and I had a good first kilometre.
Onto my second lap…. I didn’t remember the second beer being so difficult to get down last time.
Finally I was done and off running again. This time the belches didn’t come quite as easily. At about the 400m mark, the Aussie lapped me. I plodded back to the finish.
Beer #3 was very difficult to get down. Another woman who was running my speed asked me if I wanted to switch to a relay midrace, with her. I agreed but she had a change of heart so I was off to do lap #3 on my own. At this point I was questioning my decision to participate but being the stubborn Taurus that I am, I kept going. Now everyone was starting to lap me. Getting my belches out was not a problem at this point. I started to realize that the beer I was drinking had a ginger taste. Wasn’t that supposed to settle your stomach? Nope. Another big burp and I tasted my quinoa salad. This was not a good sign.
(After this point in the race, I think my picture-taking husband was laughing too hard to take any more photos!)
I finished up that lap and cracked open beer #4. The Aussie came in to his finish at this point, with a 17:20 overall. I slowly swallowed about half of the bottle and started to gag. I realized I was going to lose it. I ran to the side of the house, not wanting to yack in front of everyone. Up came the beer, and probably some quinoa salad, but I managed to keep it in my mouth and swallow it back down. Triumph! Back to the driveway and I finished the rest of that beer. Out for my second last lap.
By the time I got back to start my 5th and final beer and lap, at least half the pack was finished and the crowd was getting louder by the minute. People tend to finish the race sober, but become very drunk about 5 minutes later as their bodies metabolize the alcohol! At this point I decided I was going to finish no matter what. I slowly swallowed down the last bottle, and headed out. Just as in my last 5B-5K, the final lap was fine. For some reason, once you get to a critical mass of beer in your gut, running is fine. I finally came in to the finish in 35:50, about 3 minutes slower than my previous attempt, but good enough for 6th woman in the beer division.
Some interesting things to note, if you ever want to attempt this type of race.
- As someone with a very small bladder, I am surprised that I don’t feel the urge to pee through the entire race. It actually takes me at least an hour after finishing before I am able to pee at all.
- To assist with this, I stop drinking anything about 3 hours before the race start.
- I did eat about 3 hours prior to the race start. I would move this back an hour or two next time, to decrease the vomit-probability.
- After the race I had pretty severe stomach cramping for about an hour, until I threw up a couple of times and was able to start peeing again. I did not have this cramping with the prior beer I used. I think that may be due to the ginger flavour. I would go back to my prior beer for future attempts.
- The Women’s Winning Time for 2016 was 24:58. As far as we are concerned, this is a World Record!
Would I advise that you do this type of race? Sure, but probably try it first as the member of a relay team. I will probably be out there next year trying to better my time…. Life is too short to forego doing silly things occasionally!