Welcome to the World of Digestive Athletics

Beers on the starting line
Photo Credit: Clark Moeller

  • Posted: Mar 23rd 2010, 15:00 / Written by: Joel Marcoux
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If you’ve ever wondered why (for some strange reason) chugging beer, running, and puking has never been considered a championship event, well you’re in luck.

Have you heard of the Beer Mile?

If the answer’s no, consider yourself normal.

You see, this competition is a race that enables you to showcase your ability to consume beer and run, all at the same time; a pugnacious challenge that will surely trigger almost every gag reflex in your body.

Sounds fun, doesn’t it?

Here’s how it works.

The rules, according to, stipulate that in order to successfully complete this grueling circuit, each competitor must drink four 355ml cans of beer (at a minimum of five per cent alcohol) and run four (400m) laps.

The competitor must finish a full beer before running the first lap. Once the lap has been completed, he or she must go to the designated transition area (usually located near the start or finish line), drink another beer and run another lap.

This process is done four times, thus, the Beer Mile.

Oh, and if you puke, you have to do a penalty lap – those are the rules.

Leave your shiniest shoes at home.

On paper this race doesn’t seem like a daunting task, but Beer Mile veterans say that the newcomers should check their ego at the starting line -- right next to where they’ll likely be re-acquainted with a portion of their breakfast…or lunch.

“I’m a pretty good runner when I’m sober, so you’ d think I’d be able to do this in a decent time, but it’s not the case,” said Sheldon Kilcullen, a 12-time Beer Mile competitor.

“It's not easy as you think. You have to pace yourself, and realize that you’re more than likely going to puke, a lot,” he added while acknowledging that he pukes (on average) anywhere between 5-10 times during any given race.

So how can you possibly train for one of these competitions?

Being a runner (at least a competitive one) must be an advantage, right? Not necessarily.

In fact, two-time Olympian (and 1999 Pan American Games gold medalist) Graham Hood, was passed by a 230 pound, non-athletic, father during the 1996 Manitoba World Cup of Beer Miling.

So, it’s clearly a combination of both physical ability and willpower, topped off with a little liquid bravado.

Six-time Beer Mile champion, and quite possibly Manitoba’s top beer-drinking runner, Corey Gallagher, shared what goes into his pre-race training regimen.

“I obviously try to keep myself in running shape. Whenever I drink something, whether it’s water or even wine, I chug it,” the 23-year-old said via Email.

“Winning these races isn’t exactly something that I should be proud of, but it’s still pretty cool,” added Gallagher, who also holds the provincial record for the 3000m Vodka Steeplechase.

Former Canadian Marathon champion, Jim Finlayson holds the world record for the fastest Beer Mile.

The Beer Mile is held twice a year.

The next is slated for August. The location has not yet been determined.

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Joel Marcoux

  • User since Oct 27th 2009, 09:38