On Saturday 22 brave competitors showed up to a Ottawa track for the annual end to the racing season, the Beer Mile.
At the start of the race the participants all chug a beer then do a quarter-mile lap around the track, upon returning to the starting line they must chug another beer before running another lap. The pattern continues until 4 beers and 4 laps have been completed.
That is provided of course that you don’t puke along the way, that results in an extra penalty lap.
The rest of the rules are pretty reasonable, the most important is that there are no chugging aids allowed, whether it’s wide-mouth cans, straws or shot-gunning allowed.
There are also requirements on the type of beverage allowed, no wussy stuff allowed, before the race began on Saturday the judges made an announcement. ”We already have our first disqualification. Bud Light Lime is not allowed.”
First-time participant Jamie Stephenson took home the title, besting the defending champion Ryan Grant.
“I’m not a big beer drinker,” Stephenson said, “so I went to the Beer Store and asked them what they would recommend. There was actually quite a debate in the store. And finally they recommended Steam Whistle.”
“I’ve got a cast-iron stomach,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what I eat or drink, I can still run. The only time I felt anything was coming around the last corner. I had a bit of an oh-oh moment. So I just put my head down and ran.”
Race organizer David Markin (left) was not as skilled as the winners, he was still drinking when they were done and mingling with the crowd.
“I’m not a very good drinker,” Markin replied, between gulps. “I drink four beers in one night only once a year.”
Women’s winner Heather Ireland overcame the early discovery that chugging was going to be even harder than she expected.
“The running is the easy part,” said Heather Ireland, the winner of the ladies division. “On the first beer, I thought, ‘No way.’ I don’t normally chug beer and I was thinking I can’t even get one down. But by the third, it got a little easier.”
Ireland paused and then added, “It’s not a very classy race.”