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 (355 ml) 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 are based on the most common rules used in North America.

  • Beer must be at least 5% ABV and be brewed from malt and flavored with hops. This excludes alcoholic beverages such as hard ciders and lemonades.
  • There is to be no tampering with cans. Shotgunning by puncturing holes in a can, or using straws to aid in the speed of pouring, is prohibited.
  • Each beer may not be opened until a competitor enters the transition zone for each lap.
  • Any competitor who vomits before the finish must complete one penalty lap following the fourth lap. This does not require drinking an additional beer.[1]


James Nielsen[4] helped bring the beer mile into the public eye after becoming the first to break the five-minute barrier in 2014. 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 2014, the inaugural Beer Mile World Championship was held in Austin, Texas, giving new legitimacy to the event. The men's race was won by Canadian Corey Gallagher with a time of 5:00.23.[7] In the women's race, American Beth Herndon set a new world record with a time of 6:17.8.[8]

In August 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 10, 2015, at the University of Manitoba track, Corey Gallagher ran a 4:54.4[9] becoming the first man ever to dip below the 4:55 mark.[10]

World record holder Joe Kent was the victor in the inaugural Beer Mile World Classic held at Treasure Island in San Francisco. Founded by James Nielsen and Kingston Rule Pioneer John Markell. The Men's inaugural World Classic pitted the last four world record holders against each other for the first time. Called the Beer Mile of the Century, it was the first time sub-5-minute beer milers competed in the same race (Josh Harris:[11] Australia, James Nielsen:[12] USA, and Lewis Kent:[13] Canada).[14] Canadian Jim Finlayson, another former world record holder, finished third overall, behind Kent and American Brian Anderson.

Canada won the men's World Classic Kingston Cup. Nielsen was a notable disqualification (for excessive spillage). Josh Harris suffered a reversal of fortune in the sport's most prominent puke. Race announcer Josh Muxen dubbed it the "Chunder from Down Under". Nielsen's disqualification was the deciding factor in the Canadian Men's Victory. Turning the 10–11 American victory into a 10–11 Canadian win. The American women won the Queens cup in a sweep, with Caitlin Judd, Chris Kimbrough and Lindsay Harper taking the Top 3 Spots.[15]

The 2nd Annual FloTrack Beer Mile World Championship was held in Austin, Texas on December 1, 2015.[16] For the first time ever, the top two fastest men in the world competed against each other in the same race, with two former world record holders in 2014 World Champion Corey Gallagher and Lewis Kent. This event proved to be an instant classic with both men surpassing the previous world best. Kent set a new world record with a time of 4:47.17 and Gallagher finished with a time of 4:48.62

The women's elite field consisted of two of the top three fastest women ever making this the most competitive Beer Mile field ever assembled.[17]

Erin O'Mara set a new world record with a time of 6:08.

On July 31, 2016, Canadian Corey Bellemore shattered the world record in London with a time of 4:34.35. Dale Clutterbuck finished in second, breaking the European record in a time of 4:47:39 [18].[19]

"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. Thomas Mathieson from ickinham Middlesex has run the beer mile in 4:46.23


Some variations of the beer mile are

  • 4 × 40 oz. relay - In this event, a team of four competitors run 100 metres each around the track, finishing a 40 oz bottle of beer or malt liquor on the way.
  • Wild Turkey 2-mile - Each competitor runs eight laps, with a shot of whiskey (usually Wild Turkey) before every lap.
  • Naked 4 × 400 m - Each member of a four-competitor team runs a lap around the track nude – drinking is technically optional, but encouraged.
  • Beer 2 Mile - This event involves consuming four more beers for a total of eight beers and eight laps, vomiting only incurs one penalty lap.
  • Vodka 2 Mile - Competitors consume eight shots of vodka and run eight laps.
  • Chocolate Milk Mile - Instead of beer, competitors consume 48 ounces of chocolate milk and run four quarters.
  • Female Beer Mile – Like the standard beer mile except the first lap can be run without consuming a beer. This rule is often enacted to encourage female participation.


Kastenlauf (short for "Bierkastenlauf", literally "beer crate running"), Kistenlauf, Bierlauf, Bierkastenrennen (literally crate-running, beer crate-running, or equivalents), Bier-Rallye, or Bierathlon, 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.[20]

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.[citation needed]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Frequently Asked Questions". Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  2. ^ "Nashville Beer Mile". Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  3. ^ News | Flotrack | Flotrack
  4. ^ Erika Odmark (2014-04-28), Official Beer Mile World Record: 4:57 by James Nielsen, retrieved February 15, 2016 
  5. ^ "5 minute barrier: will it be broken?". Retrieved January 21, 2017. 
  6. ^ "Aussie Josh Harris Sets Beer Mile World Record". flotrack. Retrieved 2015-11-10. 
  7. ^ "2014 Beer Mile World Championship - Men\'s Race (Gallagher wins in 5:00.23!)". flotrack. Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  8. ^ "2014 Beer Mile World Championship - Women\'s Race (Herndon sets WR 6:17.76)". flotrack. Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  9. ^ "Corey Gallagher Lowers Beer Mile World Record to 4:54". Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  10. ^ "Corey Gallagher breaks beer mile world record". flotrack. Retrieved 2015-11-10. 
  11. ^ "Josh Harris looking to reclaim world record at Beer Mile World Classic". Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  12. ^ "After bringing beer mile to forefront, James Nielsen is back for more". Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  13. ^ "As Beer Mile World Classic approaches, Lewis Kent relives world-record run". Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  14. ^ "Beer Mile World Classic delivers excitement". Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  15. ^ "Canadian Men, American Women Dominate Beer Mile World Classic". Runner's World. Retrieved 2016-02-15. 
  16. ^ "2015 FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships Press Release". flotrack. Retrieved 2015-10-02. 
  17. ^ "FloSports Announces Elite Field for 2015 FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships". FloSports. Retrieved 2015-11-10. 
  18. ^ "The Bad Boy Running Podcast: Ep29 - The Beer Mile vs The Great British Beerathon". Retrieved 2017-04-25. 
  19. ^ "New Beer Mile World Record set in London". Runner's World. Retrieved 2016-10-31. 
  20. ^ "Vogelsberger Kastenlauf"

External links[edit]