The evolution of the Beer Mile

(Hayley Patterson/Staff Illustrator)


Assistant Sports Editor


In the wide world of sports today, many new sports are popping up daily. One new sport that is starting to become a hot trend in track and field is called the “beer mile.”

The beer mile is a race where you have to consume four 12 ounce beers in four laps around a track that is 400 meters. Each contestant has to drink a beer in the last 10 meters before starting their next lap, according to, and you can only have standard 12 ounce cans and bottles, as wide-mouthed cans and bottles are illegal for this race.

Each beer can’t be opened until the competitor enters the transition zone on each lap. If the competitor opens the beer before the transition zone, a penalty will be given and the player will lose the race.

Every contestant must finish all of their beer and they aren’t allowed to “shotgun or puncture” the can unless they are opening the can from the top. If they are using a bottle, then straws are not allowed either. This makes it so everyone has to chug the beer regularly which makes the laps more challenging.

The race is called the beer mile because it is supposed to be done solely with beer. Hard ciders and lemonades are prohibited.

This race becomes more challenging as many contestants throw-up while running this race. If a contestant throws-up during the race, that person has to run another lap after completing their fourth lap.

There are many races that are similar to the beer mile, i.e. the chocolate milk mile, vodka two-mile and wild turkey two-mile, but the beer mile is unique because the combinations between the beer and you gasping for air makes the race much more difficult as you consume more beers and run more laps.

While this race is popular among many college towns, it became noticeable to the public in 2014 when American James Nielsen became the first person to officially run a beer mile in under five minutes. Later that year, the first official Beer Mile World Championships were held in Austin, Texas, which gave the race legitimacy.

In that race, the men’s winner was Canadian Corey Gallagher with a time of 5:00.23. The winner of the women’s race was American Beth Herndon with a world record of 6:17.08. In the next couple of years, contestants would flip-flop over the record for fastest time for the beer mile for both men and women, but last week the record was broken by Corey Bellemore.

This year’s Beer Mile World Classic saw Bellemore beat the record with a time of 4:33:60. In an interview with Bleacher Report in May, Bellemore said that the key to his record breaking time was, “After you chug those beers, the first hundred meters of the next lap, you really have to focus on getting the burps out.”

Fredonia seniors on the track team participate in an annual post-graduation beer mile every year. Seniors

Rocky Caparro, Mitch

Loiacano and Chase Towse

all understand how tough a beer mile

is and shared experiences

of how difficult the race can be.

“Freshman year you run the chocolate milk mile in the beginning of the year and senior year after graduation you run the beer mile. It’s a tradition for Fredonia track,” said Towse.

The difference between running the beer mile in college and professionally is substantial. As Caparro explained, the beer mile in college is more for fun.

“When college kids run the beer mile, it’s more for fun. Obviously you want to win, but the most important thing is to finish. When I ran my first beer mile, it was horrible. We only had Heineken to drink and it wasn’t great, but the experience was fun,” said Caparro.

When thinking about running and drinking beer simultaneously, you may assume that throwing up is a common part of the sport. You would be right. While professionals usually keep their bodily fluids inside of them while racing, many college students fail to get past the first couple of laps their first time.

“A lot of people usually throw up after the second lap,” said Loiacano. “It’s hard to control your burps while you run and breathe but after you throw up, you normally feel a lot better.”

Throwing-up means you automatically land out of the top three in the race, so throwing up isn’t advised and to prevent that it takes skill and knowing how your body works. It takes a lot of will to continue running while your body is taking in heavy amounts of alcohol in a short time.

The beer mile is evolving into an Olympic caliber sport. With its popularity is growing, a Beer Mile World Series could be coming to a TV near you sometime in the future.

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