Heather’s stipulation for the 2nd annual beer mile was that under no circumstances must Molson Canadian be the beer of choice. This resolution however quickly faded, as is tradition with the beer mile we provide beer for anyone foolhardy enough to enter, that mornings hung over (Heather not me for once) run to the Bleasdell Boulder left H somewhat spent, so the thought of travelling further than our local rural LCBO was decidedly unpalatable. This is how the field once again ended up with Canadian, to my mind whilst a vile beer a great choice for a Canada Day Weekend beer mile. Heather however was bound and determined to find an alternative that would fit within official beer miles rules, this is how she ended up with James Ready 5.5′s, I can only put this choice down to her lack of experience with bucka’ beers.
Having made a few more friends in the ultra community I have encountered more benchmarks for what constitutes a good beer mile time. In particular the Boultbee sisters sub 8 mins. Now in a normal race those ladies can kick my ass, but surely where beer is concerned and the mechanics of drinking said substance in abundance and quickly I had to have the advantage. I stand around 8 inches taller and out weigh them by the better part of a 100lbs. Non the less their time was over 2 mins faster than my previous years effort, but last year was my first effort at this and in general I have become a faster runner in this last year, perhaps this increased speed was to be the foundation of a beer mile legend…
We had several returning competitors, including Heather and her cousin Alex both seeking redemption, last year Alex avoided the lap of shame by the narrowest margins, finishing with hampsteresque cheeks full of vomit, and we know that Heather was the sole participant in the lap of shame. Alongside these veterans we had a few newbies, not least of all Blake the younger brother of the previous years ladies title holder. Blake lined up in little more than flip-flops but from the go he was snapping at my running shoe clad heels. Don’t get me wrong dude looks like a runner, but damn he could put those beers away too.
But as Blake and I were duking it out a quite interesting fight for third place was brewing. Last years runner up Brandon was being bested by Alex, by his own admittance Brandon had let his running slide over the last year, but was Alex really going to be able to maintain this drinking pace? It seems that in the last year Alex has spent as a student has strengthened his constitution, but surly he was punching out of his weight class.
Also new to the race we had Geoff who in his own right is a beer drinking champ but on this hot day the combination of the running and drinking led him to bow out after finishing the first loop in a respectable third place.
One of the biggest shocks of the race is reigning Masters Champion Dalton blowing a gasket after just 2 beers, this was blamed on the short duration between lunch and the event, and he is my father in law so what he says goes ;-). He then bowed out of the remaining race. Last years runner up in the men’s masters took top honours in that division, congratulations to Neil.
Meanwhile I was 2 beers in with Blake still just seconds back, this bit of fun was all if a sudden feeling like a race, we trotted in for beer number 3 still with seconds separating us we each watched the other chugging at their beer neither of us wanting to go to fast and risk a technicolor explosion and at the same time not wanting the other to take the advantage. As we left for our penultimate lap I passed Alex still in third place and still with enough spring in his stride to high five me as he bounded by (our course is a 200m out and back).
Meanwhile in the ladies race Heather was the only returning combatant, going head to head with her was her mum Cathy and older sister Laura. The latter were both running with modified rules Laura chugging diet coke and Cathy an unappealing combination of cider and diet coke. Both finished ahead of Heather but under beer mile official rules that leaves only Heather to take the official female title in a time of 19:50 mins, with no lap of shame. However there was copious post run vomiting.
Alex held on to his third place beating Brandon into fourth although I am not sure if he held onto his beer as he seemed to disappear into the woods for a long time post race.
As for Blake and me we came in for that final beer still only seconds apart, it was here however that I was able to pull away as Blake struggled a little with his last beer. I finished up just over 9 mins, would have been under had I not stopped for another beer forgetting to actually finish the race. I am bewildered at how much faster people can run this.
I did make a couple of errors that slowed me down, the long training run completed an hour so earlier probably slowed the legs down a bit. However the biggest mistake I made was making the beer ice cold, it actually hurt to chug it, maybe that is just because my British taste buds are accustomed to somewhat warmer beer.
When all said and done it was a blast, and if Blake trains as he was threatening to do I think next year I will be handing over my title.
Until next year my friends, stay thirsty!!