Lewis “White Horse” Kent set the new world record beer mile just a few weeks ago.
At the Beer Mile World Classic, he proved it was no fluke by turning in a dominating performance and outpacing the field with a 5:09 beer mile. He led from lap 1 and never relented.
It didn’t trump his 4:55 from a few weeks ago, but the conditions were challenging with a strong headwind and a makeshift track on San Francisco’s Treasure Island.
The lanky Canadian towered over the field both literally and metaphorically, including former world record holders Josh Harris from Australia and fan favorite James “Beast” Nielsen from California.
Nielsen crossed the finish line sixth, but was disqualified for having too much beer left in his cans. That paved the way for team Canadia to claim victory in the cross country point-scoring system. Brian Anderson was the first American to finish, coming in second place.
When I interviewed Kent with the Canadian team the night before the race, he seemed giddy with excitement.
“I think the Americans are going to be out in front early on,” he said. “On paper they are the better runners, we’re not going to argue that. But just wait until the fourth beer. That’s where you’ll see us shine.”
What really struck me about him was how they had studied the beer mile tactics of others and incorporated that into their own training.
For instance, Kent said eating a ton of watermelon – a strategy favored by James Nielsen – will help with expanding your stomach. Liquid will just flow right through you, he surmised, but watermelon will actually help create space.
“It sounds ridiculous,” he said, sitting in the basement of beer mile pioneer John Markell. “But it stretches your stomach, so it doesn’t hurt as much when you’re drinking that fourth beer.”
“We ate so much watermelon like, oh my God, I can’t eat another bite. Then we slammed beer afterward. We didn’t puke, we managed to burp it out.”
At the same time, he was also practicing actual beer miles.
It looked like the training paid off, because I’ve never seen anyone drink a bottle of beer so fast and so smooth. Kent’s beer of choice for the race was the Toronto craft brewer Amsterdam beer.
On the elite women’s side, Caitlin Judd made good on her winning prediction and took the title home for the USA.
And in the footnotes, I also ran in one of the sub-elite heats. I finished in 6:53.