You may be familiar with the saying, “beer before whiskey, mighty risky” — or some variation of it — but have you ever heard of chugging a beer before a run?
The beer mile is one of the many dauntless subcultures of running. The format is simple: Chug a can of beer with alcohol-by-volume contents equal to — or exceeding — 5.0; and run a quarter mile (or a mile lap on a track). Chug another; run another quarter mile or lap. Repeat until you hit the mile mark. If you vomit, you have to run a penalty lap, but do not have to chug another beer. The fastest time wins. Read the full rules here.
According to Beermile.com, Jim Finlayson holds the world record at a time of 5:9.0. That’s quicker than Olympic 800-meter runner Nick Symmonds who attempted to set a new world record after he came in fifth at the 2012 Olympic Games. His beer mile time was still an impressive 5:19.
Beer and running seem to go hand in hand with the running crowd. Runner’s World explains that the malt and hops used to make dark beers contain flavonoids, the same heart-healthy compounds in vegetables and wine that counter cell damage, thus reducing your risk of heart disease and cancer. Beer also contains B vitamins and chromium, which aid in converting carbohydrates to energy. That doesn’t mean you get to drown yourself in booze. While downing beers on a short run is harmless — just remember to have a designated driver! — don’t think about chugging beers every mile in a marathon. Alcohol will speed up dehydration on a hot day and dilate your skin’s blood vessels to make you colder on a winter day. Not to mention you’ll probably fall on your face from all the high alcohol intake.
It’s a little tricky finding a local beer mile event. Our advice is to scour the Internet and local runners’ club listings. They’re out there, and we plan on trying it this year. Consider it our 2013 resolution.
Watch Symmonds attempt his record in this video: