Beer mile

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Bierathlon participants in Harrislee

A beer mile is a drinking race combining running and speed drinking. Typically, the race takes place on a standard 400 meter or 1/4 mile running track. The race begins at the 1-mile starting line with the consumption of a 12-ounce (355ml) beer, followed by a full lap around the track. The second lap continues in a similar manner; another 12 ounce beer is consumed before commencing the running of the second lap. This process is repeated for the next two laps. Following the completion of the fourth running lap (and four beers), a competitor has finished the race. More specific rules of the race vary by region.

North American tradition[edit]

In North America, typically, 12 US ounces of beer is consumed from a can or bottle before every lap.[1][2] Since the advent of the internet, the rules of the Beer Mile have become more standardized, particularly in the United States and Canada.[3] The standard rules published by BEERMILE.COM are based on the most common rules used in North America. These rules specify that any competitor that vomits prior to finishing the race must complete a penalty lap immediately following the fourth lap. The penalty lap does not require the drinking of an additional beer. The standard rules also dictate that the beer be consumed directly from the pour of the can (i.e. tampering with the cans, such as "shotgunning", is not allowed). The beer used for the competition must also be full-strength, or at least 5.0% ABV. Hard ciders and other alcoholic beverages are generally not allowed.[1]

James Nielsen helped bring the Beer Mile into the public eye after becoming the first man to break the magical five-minute barrier in 2014.[4] Much like the four-minute barrier in the mile run, the five-minute barrier tempts beer-milers worldwide.[5] Since then the record has been lowered a handful of times by runners from all over the world, including Australia's Josh Harris and James Hansen who ran 4:56.20 and 4:56.25 respectively.[6] In August of 2015, Lewis Kent of Canada ran a 4:55.78, becoming the then fastest recorded beer mile ever. His beer of choice was Amsterdam Blonde. Determined to break the five-minute barrier, on October 10th, 2015 at the University of Manitoba track, Corey Gallagher ran a 4:54.4 being the first man ever to dip below the 4:55 mark.[7]

The current Women's World Record is 6:17.8 by Beth Herndon[8] in the inaugural FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships set in Austin, Texas. The Men's race was won by Corey Gallagher in a time of 5:00.23 to become the events first world champion.[9] World Record holder Lewis Kent was the victor in the inaugural Beer Mile World Classic in San Francisco, run by an alternative organizing committee to the FloTrack event.

The 2nd Annual FloTrack Beer Mile World Championship will be held in Austin, Texas on December 1, 2015.[10] For the first time ever the top two fastest men in the world will be competing against each other in the same race, with current world record holder Corey Gallagher defending his World Title against previous world record holder Lewis Kent. The women's elite field will consist of two of the top three fastest women ever making this the most competitive Beer Mile field ever assembled.[11]

"Chunder" Mile[edit]

In the United Kingdom, an imperial pint (19.2 imperial ounces) typically is consumed before every lap, with no specification of the drinking vessel but pint glasses are preferred for the speed in which the beverage can be finished. The one lap penalty for "chundering" (vomiting) is not generally enforced.


A variation allows female competitors to consume one fewer beer than the male competitors. Females are allowed to begin the first running lap without consuming a beer. This rule is often enacted to encourage participation from females.

While full strength beer is generally the preferred beverage, some races allow consumption of alternative beverages such as light beer, malt beverages, or chocolate milk.

The beer mile is often combined with other running/drinking events such as the:

4 x 40 oz. relay -- where a team of 4 competitors run 100m each around the track, finishing a 40 oz. bottle of beer or malt liquor on the way
Wild Turkey 2-mile -- each competitor runs 8 laps, with a shot of whiskey (usually Wild Turkey) before every lap.
naked 4 x 400m -- each member of a 4 competitor team runs a lap around the track nude - drinking is technically optional, but encouraged
The Beer 2 Mile -- variation of the beer mile which adds four more beers so you are completing eight beers and eight laps, vomiting only incurs one penalty lap.


Kastenlauf (short for "Bierkastenlauf", literally "beer crate running"), Kistenlauf, Bierlauf, Bierkastenrennen (literally crate-running, beer crate-running, or equivalents), Bier-Rallye, Bierathlon, etc., is a drinking sport in the German-speaking countries Austria, Germany and Switzerland. It is a race among teams that consist of two people carrying a crate of beer, all of which must be consumed prior to crossing the finish line. The route is about 10 km long, although it can vary from half this to twice this.

The name bierathlon is also used for a students' event where participants have to drink a beer in a fixed order in a number of pubs of the city, which is certified by stamps.

External links[edit]