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Interview with a beer mile champion

"I think the record can get somewhere into the 4:20s."
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Photo via Kris Mychasiw

Corey Bellemore always knew he had a strong stomach.

Teammates say he has the Iron Stomach because eating before big runs or practices was never a problem. But the beer mile showed just what kind of talent he possessed.

“I was midway through eating a plate of pasta for dinner when a friend convinced me to head to the track and try it out before it got too dark,” he remembers.

That’s when he set the world record.

Bellemore, a Canadian college student, won the triple crown of the beer mile this year. He is the reigning champion of the FloTrack Beer Mile Championship and the World Beer Mile Classic, and currently possesses the beer mile world record of 4:34. That’s running a mile while drinking four beers in 4 minutes and 34 seconds.

On top of that stellar year, he also signed a shoe deal with Addidas.

In this Q+A, he talks about his favorite non-beer mile beers, how low he thinks the beer mile can go, his theory for Canadia’s beer mile success, and more.

DRAFT: Congrats on winning the beer mile triple crown! What are your future goals now? How do you stay motivated?

Bellemore: Thanks a lot. Definitely an interesting thing to have to my name! My future goals stay pretty much the same as they were before I started doing beer miles. My main goal is to continue training hard on the track to set myself up for future world teams and/or any other national senior teams. I stay motivated because I enjoy getting out on the track with my friends, traveling to new places and meeting new people. The beer mile is a side event for me that keeps things fun and spontaneous.

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Photo via Corey Bellemore on Twitter: @CoreyBellemore

You came out of nowhere to take the beer mile sport by storm. How did you get introduced to the beer mile? When did you know you’d be so good at it?

I had heard about the beer mile way back in high school but never thought about trying one until about midway through university, after our XC season finished up. The first one I ever did, everyone told me to pace myself and go out slow because most people puke if they treat it like an actual race. My first one was 5:31 with cans and a week later I did another one in the Canadian cold, with cans again, in 5:27. I took a 2-year break from beer miles and finally did another one this past summer after my twin and a fellow teammate convinced me to try getting the world record. My friend came over with a six-pack after I worked an 11 hour day (three hours at a kids track & field camp followed by an 8-hour shift at a local shoe store). We agreed to tape it and only put out the video if it went well; if not we were going to talk nothing of it. After jogging two laps for warm up and spiking up, I gave it my best shot and ran around 8 seconds faster than the record. It was crazy how quick everything happened … 24 hours later I was on a flight to England to compete at the Beer Mile World Classic where I lowered the record to 4:34.

How did you train for your beer miles? Do you have a training secret? Do you taper?

As long as I am in good running shape I know I can run a solid beer mile. My stomach can handle the beers without a problem as long as I get the burps out. The biggest thing is making sure I open my throat to chug well enough to chug the beer cleanly (not leave any leftover) even if I am out of breath. I don’t taper for the beer mile at all, I go about my regular running training and just hope I feel good on race day.

Do you think the beer mile record can go lower?

I do! I think the record can get somewhere into the 4:20s. The chugging can only improve minimally while the running can improve (not much more but) a bit more.

What beer do you drink when you’re not chugging it in a few seconds?

There are many different craft breweries I enjoy to casually drink (mostly familiar with Canadian ones). These beers include: Steam Whistle, Granville Island, Mill Street and Flying Monkey, just to name a few.

I read that you had finals the week after the beer mile. How are you balancing school and training?

Although I’m not used to traveling in between exam season, I am used to balancing school and training. Since high school I have been a multisport athlete where I swam, ran cross country and track and field. In university it became much more challenging to balance the higher demand of academics and athletics. Writing things down was what helped me the most and making sure I have my school work or studying done completed any big competitions.

You’re part of a Canadian cohort that has been dominating the beer mile. What do you think accounts for your country’s success?

As Canadians, we are pretty laid back and enjoy trying new things so I think the beer mile fits our attitudes pretty well. Most of the guys who do the beer mile in Canada are all buddies so it helps keep the rivalries competitive, friendly and fun.

The beer mile has enjoyed some high-profile visibility in the media over the last few years. What is your prediction for the beer mile in 2017?

It has definitely been on the rise the last two years or so and I think this year it will continue to gain more attention. A lot of elite or serious runners don’t agree with the beer mile because they think it takes away from the sport of track and field and makes a joke of it. I don’t agree with that at all. It is a separate event and is marketable because the average person finds it very interesting. It’s crazy the amount of messages I have received from random people that have said congratulations and that they will continue to follow my running career now that they know of me. I think this is a very different way of marketing yourself and building your brand but from being a serious track athlete, and it has only helped me. At the end of the day it’s only four beers and a bit of running. My focus is track and field but beer miles are a fun way to end a season after all the hard work I’ve put in.

What’s your advice for someone who wants to run their first beer mile?

1) Don’t get out too hard
2) Run consistently quick laps
3) Take a big breath before you chug
4) Get the beer down as quick as you can
5) Within the first 40m of running after you chug, get those burps out
6) Don’t think too much

 

Author
Tim Cigelske is DRAFT's Beer Runner. (Beer Run•ner [noun]: Someone equally devoted to fine beer appreciation and an active, healthy lifestyle. Ex. "John downed four microbrews at the triathlon finish line. He's a total beer runner.”) Follow Tim on Twitter @TheBeerRunner, and email him at beerrunner [at] draftmag.com.

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