We welcomed spring this weekend with a classic beer mile. This is the 3rd year, and 5th running of the event in our neighborhood. For those unfamiliar with the concept, the race is 4 laps sprinted around a track, with a pause to drink a beer between each lap, totalling 3-4 beers downed. It can take less than 7 minutes, or well over 30, for a runner to complete the race. My fiance started it as a throwback to the college track team he’d recently left, and as a way to socialize with runners we were starting to meet in a new city. That first event had 7 participants, while the most recent one drew 35 plus.
Normally I take racing fairly seriously [and I hated this event in college because someone inevitably pukes], but a good beer mile is a lot of fun. It’s definitely a great spectator event, to say the least ;).
I love that the winner usually isn’t the fastest in the field — or the greatest drinker — but a well rounded individual with a mix of skills. Discounting the beer, it’s a good representation of how multi-factorial a sport running can be. You’ve got to cultivate endurance and strength to augment natural talent, and train intelligently for your event.
But we can’t discount the beer. That’s the point. It’s a party, as well as a contest. We don’t run in isolation, and sometimes you need to bring everyone together to make fun of what you do. It’s painful and challenging, but also just plain silly. Some of our competitors are in the middle of training for marathons and ultras, and they still showed up to shotgun against the clock. Some people are casual runners not training for anything at all, and some are just trying to get in (or back) to running at all. It’s as competitive as you make it, but all are welcome to try. *Costumes welcome*