On Tuesday, American Olympic track and field athlete Nick Symmonds, set a new American record in the “beer mile,” clocking a time of 5:19.9.
For those who are unfamiliar with the beer mile, it is just like any other regular mile — typically four laps around a standard 400m track — with the stipulation that each competitor must consume one 12 oz. can of beer with a minimum 5.0% ABV preceding every lap.
Beermile.com lists the 10 official rules followed by the majority of competitors in North America, including the final rule, which states: “Competitors who vomit before they finish the race must complete one penalty lap at the end of the race (immediately after completion of their 4th lap).”
Beermile.com states the “official” world record of the beer mile as currently being held by Jim Finlayson, former winner of the Royal Victoria Marathon. Finlayson surprisingly suffers from Multiple Sclerosis, but he still owns the Kingston Beer Mile WR with a time of 5:09.
Ryan “Spuds MacKenzie” Boudreax currently holds the “unofficial” world record of 4:06, according to Beermile.com. I strongly doubt this considering Boudreaux would inevitably be a sub-four minute miler without the beer and you can’t find anything about him with a search on Google.
Although Symmonds failed to meet his goal of breaking the world record, he came pretty close. He’s no stranger to the race either; Symmonds’ performance of 5:09 on Tuesday broke the previous American record of 5:31 which was held by the American Olympian himself.
Symmonds is blowing some steam coming down from some aggressive Olympic training for the 2012 London Games. His fifth place finish in one of the greatest 800m races of all time was an unfortunate end to a hyped up summer, but Symmonds just solidified his name in beer mile history with the 3rd fastest “official” time ever.
Whether it’s fighting the IOC’s ban of individual sponsorship, catching a date with Paris Hilton, or being five-time national champion the 800m, Symmonds has a unique outlook on being a professional athlete, and his beer mile feat is nothing short of it.
If you are going out to try a “beer mile” for the first time after reading this article, there’s a good chance you won’t clock anywhere close to five minutes; so be careful and understand that just because there’s beer involved doesn’t mean it makes the treacherous mile any easier. That being said, if you surround yourself with a lot of friends, it can make for a fun workout.
Just be glad you don’t live in Germany — where the drinking game “Kastenlauf” is popular. This game consists of two people carrying a crate of beer, all of which must be consumed prior to finishing a 10k run. I'd say we’ve got it easy.