We are in a golden era of the “beer mile.” Earlier this month, the event where participants are required to chug a 12-ounce beer before every quarter-mile lap of a full-mile run, garnered headlines when two separate runners claimed to have broken the world record within 24 hours of each other. Over the weekend, the Beer Mile Classic in San Francisco pitted those two athletes—Canadian Lewis Kent and Australian Josh Harris—against each other, along with American James Nielsen, the only other athlete to ever break five minutes in the event, in perhaps the most legit drinking/running competition yet, as ESPN was actually on hand to cover it.
No world records were broken on Saturday, but Kent did win the battle of the record holders in 5:07—short of his record of 4:55.78, but easily outpacing Harris (who had to serve a penalty lap for puking) and Nielsen (who was ultimately disqualified for leaving too much beer in his Budweiser cans). Caitlin Judd took home the women’s title in 6:48. The Classic does represent a mainstreaming for the chugging event. Not only did a major sports network show up, but the 300 beer milers who competed are more than double the number who ran the inaugural New York marathon. “This is the coming of age of the sport,” Nick MacFalls, one of the founders of San Francisco event and a beer mile runner himself, told the SF Gate. Though even as it comes of age, some might question its level of maturity.