THERE'S a popular saying amongst runners that goes: "There will be days you don't think you can run a marathon. There will be a lifetime of knowing you have."
As Savannah gears up for another year with the Rock and Roll Marathon and Half-Marathon series, our local runners who complete the course will have that lifetime of satisfaction of a race hard fought.
But if you’re not the type to engage in a distance run with all the hours of prerequisite training, gear selection and fueling strategies, there’s another race that may be of interest to you. This race would be especially appealing if you’re the type who enjoys an adult beverage along with your exercise.
Allow me to introduce The Beer Mile.
One mile. That sounds much more palatable than a lengthy 13.1 mile half-marathon jaunt or downright crazy 26.2 mile full marathon, right? Even the most sedentary of us can probably rally our bodies into a mile’s worth of steady activity.
The real challenge comes from the addition of beer. Four beers, to be exact, one consumed every quarter mile.
The Beer Mile races are organized independently by a small group of enthusiasts and typically held on a 400 meter or quarter mile running track. Each competitor begins by drinking a full 12 ounce beer as quickly as possible, then taking a quarter mile lap. This is followed by another beer and another lap, four times in total.
Now, if you were to take your time and savor the beer and leisurely jog around the track, this wouldn’t be that big of a deal. However, if you’re the competitive type, speed is necessary to make the most of a Beer Mile attempt. That speed comes from both the consumption of drink and the pace of the run.
There are some special stipulations when it comes to the selection of your race beer. The official rules (found at BeerMile.com) decree that the beer must have an alcohol-by-volume content of 5 percent or greater. That means light lagers and low ABV session ales are not allowed.
Similarly, non-beers like ciders and malt beverages won’t make the cut. Further, the beer must be consumed directly from the vessel, with no tampering.
Sorry aluminum can guzzling shot-gunners. You have to consume the beer via a “natural” pour.
The chief concern during this type of exertion is the very, very high chance of losing the quickly consumed beers in an explosive, projectile manner. The official penalty for tossing your beer before finishing the race is a brutal additional quarter mile lap.
Before you assume this is all fun and games, realize that some people take their Beer Mile very seriously. The current world record holder for the Beer Mile is James Nielsen of Novato, California, who accomplished the feat in an impressive 4:57.7 earlier this year. To remind you, that’s one mile and four beers in less than five minutes.
You can watch that amazing show of athleticism for yourself. A video of Mr. Nielsen breaking the record is on Youtube and has well over a million views. Feature-length articles of his accomplishment were published in Runners World, The Wall Street Journal and USA Today, giving the Beer Mile a newfound level of credibility.
So, if you’ve been considering getting into running but don’t feel that a marathon is in the cards, give the Beer Mile some consideration.
After all, you may not feel like you can run a beer mile every day, but you would have a lifetime of knowing you did it.