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Running the beer mile

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You can’t really call yourself the Beer Runner if you don’t run the beer mile from time to time. But my last beer mile adventure was six years ago. I was way overdue.

For the uninitiated, an official beer mile race is four quarter-mile laps with four full-sized beers interspersed between each lap. Over time, it has become an underground running and beer-drinking phenomenon. Today there’s even a site devoted to chronicling beer mile performances all over the world at http://www.beermile.com.

My baptism by beer mile came courtesy of a Wisconsin chapter of the Hash House Harriers, the international group with the motto “a drinking group with a running problem.” Just out of college, I ran the beer mile in 7:30-ish, and was most proud of the fact that I didn’t vomit on the course.

Let me dispel any myths right now. The beer mile is not fun and games, even for a group as seasoned in the art of combining beer and running as the Hash House Harriers.

“People think this is a fun event,” said a runner who goes by the nom de hash Mangina. “It’s not. It’s f*cking horrible.”

Well said, Mangina. Well said.

After six years, my brutal beer mile memories had finally faded enough to try another one with the same group that initiated me. We met on a recent weekend at a county park, warmed up with plenty of Schlitz and Miller High Life, and tried to block out from our minds what we were about to attempt.

And so it began. Pound a beer. Run a lap. And then a little slower. Pound a beer. Run a lap. And then it really started sloshing around in your stomach. Pound a beer… Run a lap. Almost there. Pound a beer. You’re not sure if you’re going to make it to the finish, but then finally, one. more. lap! I finished. My official time: 6:31.

It really hits you the hardest once you stop, and all the alcohol and adrenaline and lactic acid that was produced in such a short amount of time floods your system. I’m happy to report that I again didn’t puke, even though I came close. Others were not so lucky.

After that, tempo runs and fartleks suddenly don’t look so daunting. So thanks for the confidence boost, beer mile. Because of you, I know I can handle just about anything else that running can throw at me.

6 Comments

  • Flounder says:

    We’re proud of you for coming back and running the Beer Mile with us once again!

    Too bad you didn’t beat the record of 6:21.

    Next year maybe…

  • Anon says:

    Wow!!! You are a machine. I both puked and cried during my first and only beer mile. I think I need to try again and regain some of my dignity (? if combining the concepts of “beer mile” and “dignity” even makes sense)

  • Love, Sweat, and Beers says:

    Interesting. It may not be fun, but it’s def funny. I’d like to try that… but maybe not too fast

  • anon says:

    Your last sentence should end: “just about anything else that running can *hurl* at me.”

  • Pampers says:

    You guys should try the Cambridge King Street run, organised by the Cantabrigensis hash here in the UK, if I remember right it’s 7 pints in 7 pubs. No puking, pissing, or spillage!

    On On!

  • GatorAte says:

    Very impressive Beermile time. I won’t embarass myself by posting mine. Congratulations on the streak and the article in Runnersworld.
    On-On

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