There are two main camps of runners, those that almost inexplicably connect running with enjoying a cold beer, and those that avoid alcohol altogether.
Of course, many runners fall somewhere in the middle and enjoy an occasional beer or glass of wine, but the celebratory nature of opening your favorite craft beer at the post-race finish line festivities is definitely a part of the running culture.
The Beer Mile takes things one step further. Rather than enjoying a cold beer after your race or hard workout, it tests your ability to drink beer while racing.
To those who have never tried it, the very concept of this race may sound absolutely bonkers, and even some of the runners who have dared take it on think back on their experience and get nauseous just remembering how much vomiting went on.
With that said, the beer mile is a long-withstanding, riotous event that plenty of runners enjoy with glee. There are even National Championships, world record holders, and official beer mile rules.
In this complete guide, we will explain all about how the beer mile works, the rules for running one, and just how fast the beer mile world records really are.
We will cover:
- What Is a Beer Mile?
- Official Beer Mile Rules
- What Is the Beer Mile World Record?
- Beer Mile Variations
- Tips for Running a Beer Mile
Let’s get started!
What Is a Beer Mile?
To the uninitiated, the beer mile might sound something like a beer run—heading out to the local liquor store a mile away and picking up your favorite six-pack.
However, it is a creative running event that combines the task of running a mile on the track and drinking beer.Here is how it works:
Runners have to drink one beer before each lap of the track, drinking four beers over the four laps to run a mile. As with any running race, the goal is to run as fast as possible and therefore drink the beer as fast as possible as well.
Although previous versions of the beer mile only required women competitors to drink three beers, the official beer mile rules now state that all competitors must consume four beers in order for the results to count.
The event kicks off by chugging the first beer and heading off for your first lap. After 400m, you chug your second beer and then run your second lap. You then chug your third beer and run your third lap, and then guzzle the last beer before heading out on the final lap to finish the mile.
Although there are plenty of unofficial beer mile races that take place, there are nearly 48,000 official beer mile race results in the Beermile.com database.
Moreover, there are official beer mile rules that must be followed in order for the results to be sanctioned.
Official Beer Mile Rules
The official rules are as follows:
1. Each runner, regardless of their sex, must drink either four cans or four bottles of beer and run four laps around a standard 400m running track, beginning with a beer before the first lap and finishing the fourth beer before the last lap.
2. Beer cannot be opened until the runner enters the transition zone, which is the 9-meter zone between the waterfall starting line for a regular mile race and the standard finish line of a 400m track.
3. Each beer must be consumed in the designated transition zone (as described above) before the lap begins. You cannot continue to drink the beer beyond the transitions down into the lap. You are able to walk, run, or move through the transition area while you are drinking the beer, but you must have finished the entire bottle or can before exiting the transition area and beginning the next lap.
This is true for the first lap as well, meaning that you must consume the first beer within the transition zone before crossing over the waterfall starting line and heading out for your first lap.
4. Beer can be canned or bottled but can be no less than 355mL (12 oz) in volume.
5. Only beer can be used (defined as a “fermented alcoholic beverage brewed from malted cereal grains and flavored with hops”). Hard ciders, hard lemonade, hard sodas, or other alcoholic-sweetened beverages are not permitted.
6. Beer must be a minimum of 5% ABV (alcohol by volume).
7. Wide-mouth cans or bottles or other specialized tops that facilitate faster consumption are permitted.
8. Competitors must drink the beer solely by opening the tab top on the can or twisting off the lid. You cannot tamper with the beer cans or bottles in any way, meaning no straws or aids that assist pouring can be used, and you cannot squeeze the beer can, shotgun the beer, or puncture the can.
9. Runners who vomit before they finish the entire race are required to complete one penalty lap at the end of the race. This lap is run immediately after finishing the fourth lap, but you do not need to drink another beer before the penalty lap, and even if you vomit multiple times during the beer mile, you only have to do one penalty lap.
10. Competitors who want their beer mile results to be official need to provide video evidence of the race that not only shows the running portion but also demonstrates that all of the beer was consumed.
According to beermile.com, competitors can tip the empty beer can or a beer bottle over their head after each time they chug the drink or can pour the remaining contents into a measuring cup to demonstrate that there is no more than a total of 4 oz of liquid and/or foam remaining from all four beers.
What Is the Beer Mile World Record?
So, just how fast is the beer mile world record? How much slower is the beer mile world record than the regular mile world record?
According to BeerMile.com, the official resource for the Beer Mile, the world record is held by Corey Bellemore, a Canadian athlete, who ran an impressive 4:28.10 drinking Flying Monkey Beer Mile Lager.
Bellemore set the world record at the 2021 Beer Mile World Classic, which took place at Leigh Sports Village near Manchester, UK, on October 23, 2021, breaking the previous world record of 4:33.
He had previously run 4:24 at the 2018 Beer Mile World Classic in Vancouver, British Columbia, but unfortunately, his performance was disqualified due to having slightly too much foam remaining in the accumulated total.
The men’s mile world record for a regular outdoor track mile is 3:43.1, a blazing time held by Hicham El Guerrouj from Morocco.
Although this is significantly faster than the beer mile world record, it leaves only 50 seconds to drink four beers and run with a stomach filled with 48 ounces of booze!
The beer mile world record for women is held by Erin O’Mara from the USA, who ran 6:08.00 drinking Bud Light Platinum.
The women’s record time is less competitive relative to the regular mile time of 4:12.33, held by Sifan Hassan.
Beer Mile Variations
There are several variations and offshoots that have been developed with a similar format and theme. Here are some of the other official beer mile alternatives:
- Chunder Mile: The Chunder Mile, which is popular in the UK, is similar to a regular beer mile except that runners have to drink a full imperial pint (20oz, 568mL) of beer rather than just the standard 12oz (355mL) before each lap. However, competitors are allowed to chug the beer from any drinking vessel, including pint glasses. If you “chunder” (vomit), there’s no penalty lap.
- Chocolate Milk Mile: Competitors must chug 12 ounces of chocolate milk, rather than beer, prior to every lap.
- Egg Nog Mile: Competitors must chug 12 ounces of egg nog, rather than beer, prior to every lap.
- Soda Pop Mile: Competitors must chug 12 ounces of soda pop, rather than beer, prior to every lap.
Tips for Running a Beer Mile
So, if you’re keen on giving this challenge a go, here are a few tips to run a faster beer mile:
- Practice running on a full stomach or guzzling soda so you are used to the sensation.
- Drink your beer warm.
- Pace yourself, both in terms of running and drinking.
- Stick with a low-ABV beer (as long as it’s about 5% ABV).
- Have fun!
You should be of the legal age to run a beer mile, and we do not promote excessive drinking.