Running and Beer
by Joe Lomaye
Hello Bob! This might be a bit different from the readers' columns you
usually publish but I hope you like it. When it come to recreation I do
two things - drink beer and jog. Somehow I've never been able to
combine the two but now there's an event that does just that - a beer
mile. Not only is it an almost legitimate sporting endeavor a new
world's record was recently set. Yes, one James Nielsen became the
first man to run a sub-5-minute beer mile. Nelson, 34, is a marathoner
and two-time NCAA Division III champion in the 5,000-meter run.
The beer mile is one of those thoroughly American inventions that
combines heroic athleticism with, well, beer. Competitors line up, chug
one 12-ounce beer, run a quarter-mile lap, then chug another, and
continue racing. Four laps; four beers. Until Nielsen, the record, held
by an Australian, was 5:04.9. The women's record, 6:42, was set in
1997 by a Canadian.
Those are incredibly fast times when you factor in 10 seconds or so of
chugging per beer. With 48 ounces of gurgling alcohol in the gut, it's
no wonder many beer milers finish with a spew, a penalty that
demands they run an extra lap.
Nielsen warmed up and then stood before a camera to declare he
would break the 5-minute barrier, "which many people believe is a
physical limitation." The YouTube video
(youtube.com/watch?v=HZ-XFC5qzyM), which has drawn more than a
million views, is priceless. With tongue in cheek, he explains that he'd
"studied the anatomy of the esophagus and the upper sphincter . . .
[to] maximize the amount of volume in the shortest amount of time."
Then, he cracks the first can, gulps and heads into his first lap. Why
cans? Drinking from a glass or cup has proven to be much faster and
would thereby taint the record. Hey, there are rules you know.
His quarter-mile splits are seriously fast: 63 seconds, 68, 67, then a
final lap of just 63 seconds. And - given all the heavy breathing
between laps - his chugging is equally impressive, averaging 9 seconds
per can. Four minutes, 57.1 seconds. A world-record beer mile.
At the end of the run, bent over in agony with hands on his knees,
Nielsen grimaces. "It's really painful." One reason for that might be his
beer of choice for the event was Budweiser, but that's another issue.
By the way, for readers in the UK there is something called the
"Chunder Mile " where you drink 4 imperial pints instead of four
comparatively small 12 oz. cans. The Chunder record is close to five
minutes, an impressive feat. However most "Chunder" contests don't
penalize vomiting as happens in a true beer mile contest.
Now that got me thinking about other beer related world records.
One that covered considerable less distance than a mile was recently
set in the category of carrying stein glasses full of beer. Bavarian-born
restaurant manager Reinhard Wurtz, broke the record for carrying
one-litre steins of beer, when he lugged 20 of them for 40 metres.
With each beer-filled stein weighing at least 2.5 kilograms, Mr Wurtz
carried 50 kilograms of beer and glass in the record-breaking effort.
The previous record of 16 steins was held by German barmaid Anita
Schwartz. Unlike the beer mile there are no separate gender records in
this event; after all we're only talking 40 meters.
And for those who don't like to move around much there's a world for
you. John Evans of England holds the title for most beer pints
balanced on his head while remaining stationary: 237.
Well Bob, that's it from me. Think I'll go for a jog around my block
and end with a beer. Then I'll do it again. Well, at least the beer part.
Joe many thanks for sending in you article. It was great fun!
I'd like to invite everyone to send me their own columns about anything
related to beer just as Joe did. I'll select the best ones and publish them
here. So join in and get writing!
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