Track races might conjure images of lycra-clad athletes sporting the latest shoe technologies as they stare down the track with unflinching focus, but the beer mile is a spectacle that exceeds all expectation. Aside from the camaraderie and hilarity that ensues when trying to down beers while simultaneously sending it down the straight, the beer mile is also an event that has come to be revered in track racing culture. Sure it’s one thing to boast a 30 minute 10km or four minute mike, but to boast the completion of a mile after having downed four beers? Now that’s a talent.
To run a mile under five minutes is challenging at the best of times, not surprisingly the goal of doing so stands alone as it’s own bucket list for motivated athletes. But when you throw a couple of beers into the mix, things get a little harder, with participants having to fight through the possibility of dry-heaving or even vomiting. For Canadian athlete Corey Bellemore though, the beer mile has become an event the runner dominates. Just recently, Bellemore set a new all-time world record for the beer mile, completing all four laps of a track – and downing four beers – in just 4 minutes 28 seconds.
It should be said that this isn’t Bellemore’s first attempt; the man has become something of a recognised face for the event. His more recent attempt marked his fourth world record in the event, and he was his own competition, having last broken the record with a 4:33 finishing time in San Francisco in 2017.
In a post-race interview, Bellemore expressed, “I knew the potential was there, and I’m finally happy to go sub-4:30. There’s still room for improvement, but overall, good quality field, everyone ran really fast, so it was an awesome day.” He added, “I’m really happy with the result.”
But how exactly does one train for the beer mile? According to Bellemore, you don’t. You simply lace up, rock up and send it – all gas, no brakes. “I just show up on race day and hope my stomach can handle it all.”
As former Olympic runner Nick Symmonds explained on his YouTube channel when attempting a Beer Mile, you might be burping up suds for most of the race and experiencing the discomfort of liquid jostling in the belly while running fast, but you don’t actually feel intoxicated while running. “The alcohol doesn’t hit you,” said Symmonds. “You don’t have enough time for the alcohol to Mae you feel drunk. You just have a ton of adrenaline and a lot of cramping in your stomach.”