The Beer Mile or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Foam Puke.
For some, the ultimate test of athleticism is the 100 meter dash, meaning speed is your measure. For others, it’s the marathon, putting endurance high on the list. And still others look to things like the Iron Man, which is a basic test of sanity (in other words, if you want to compete in an Iron Man you’re insane). While impressive, those of us at goodr feel these particular feats lack a certain essential dimension. Sure the people who won them (or hell, even competed) demonstrated physical abilities and mental stamina far beyond limits we are even willing to think about. But they did not quite measure the true heart of what we represent at goodr.
But that all changed when we saw this video. Ladies and gentlemen, the Beer Mile!
Now this is a fucking challenge! If there was ever a physical and mental test that embodied the “Work Hard, Play Hard” credo, it was this one. That or it stands as a monument to modern civilization’s debauchery, excess and miss-directed energy. Either way, we love it.
If you want to dive into the real nitty gritty of the Beer Mile, you should check out the official page here. For a shorter version though, here are the basics:
- Each competitor drinks four 12oz cans of beer and runs four laps, ideally on a track (start – beer, then lap, then beer, then lap, then beer, then lap – finish).
- No specialized cans or bottles may be used that give an advantage by allowing the beer to pour at a faster rate. ie “super mega mouth cans” or “wide mouth bottles” are prohibited. Also, no altering beer cans (e.g., “shotgunning”).
- Beer must be a minimum of 5% alcohol by volume. Hard ciders and lemonades will not suffice. The beer must be a fermented alcoholic beverage brewed from malted cereal grains and flavored with hops.
- Competitors who vomit before they finish the race must complete one penalty lap at the end of the race (immediately after the completion of their 4th lap).
Motivated by the awe inspiring effort of James “The Beast” Nielsen, we started immediately planning to test our mettle against this challenge of challenges.
First, we needed to find a quarter mile track. Turns out, the only quarter mile tracks in and around Denver are all associated with public or private schools. This is problematic because apparently, these puritanical institutions frown upon drinking alcohol on their premises. Also, when not in use by the high school track teams, the teatotaling school administrators lock the gates that surround the track. But at its heart, the Beer Mile is about overcoming adversity and this small obstacle was nothing compared to our desire to drink beer in a silly and self-destructive manner.
So, how did we overcome the legal obstacle? Well contrived legal reasoning of course!
While noting the technical prohibition against alcohol consumption that schools post on their gates, those amongst us that dabble in interpreting the law in self-serving way (i.e., being a lawyer) surmised it was likely only a prohibition on “recreational” alcohol consumption, and not “athletic” alcohol consumption, a category into which the Beer Mile clearly falls.
The logic goes like this: As everyone knows, the primary goal of any ban on the consumption of alcohol in America is to prevent people from having too much fun and to figuratively spit on the freedoms the founding fathers secured for every red-white-and-blue-blooded American (see the bar tab from the first President’s going-away party for proof of this inalienable right). Recreational alcohol consumption, of course, naturally results in fun and merriment, making it a clear target of these prohibitionist laws. Athletic alcohol consumption, however, is almost always painful and stops being fun almost immediately. Continuing down this line of reasoning, because there is no fun to prevent in the case of athletic drinking, there is no point in prohibiting the consumption of alcohol during this type of activity. Therefore, any prohibition against general drinking does not apply to drinking during a Beer Mile and we are free to use public school property for that purpose. Q.E.D.
Though we did not have to test this reasoning out, we guess that if an officer of the law were to ever question you on this point and you recited the foregoing reasoning in a haughty and entitled manner, he would no doubt nod in agreement and let you continue on your alcoholic quest, all the while smiling in agreement with your cleverness and wit. (Or you may end up being beaten for petulance and jailed for violating a clearly posted law, but that is unlikely… probably.)
As for the type of beer we chose, because we ran the inaugural goodr beer mile in Denver, we selected Coors Original, aka the Golden Bullet, aka Rocky Mountain Champagne, aka the Banquet Beer, aka the only beer that looks as good at a wedding as it does at a house party. For us, Coors Original is the perfect beer in that it tastes great and can be drunk in quantities of 10 without causing you to blackout.
And so, with unassailable legal logic in our back pocket and 12 cans of Coors in a travel cooler, three adventure-seeking souls drove around one Saturday to multiple tracks until we located a school that had left their gate open to allow for the type of constructive community use represented by the Beer Mile.
So how did it go? Well for some, not bad! For others, it was rough. We were going to post a video of us actually doing the Beer Mile, but upon review, we determined that no one would actually want to watch three guys in their 30s struggle around a track while puking up beer. In the end, Stephen put up a very respectable 9:30. Ben put up a much less respectable 11:30. And Brad puked in front of a high school soccer team but finished like a champ with a time of it-doesn’t-matter-because-he puked-and-let-us-and-his-family-down.
Clearly, we have some training to do. But rest assured, we will not give up until we can post a sub-six Beer Mile or our livers give out.
As a postscript, in an effort to help all the aspiring Beer-Milers out there, goodr will be testing a variety of beers in order to determine which among them is the most effective for achieving your best Beer Mile time. Stay tuned for these posts and in the meantime, keep devoting your energies to an endeavour that your families will never understand and society generally will judge you negatively for!