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Sunday 29 March 2015

Running a Beer Mile: Belching & Impersonating a Police Officer

I’m not much for celebrity culture. People famous for not doing a lot? Nah ... not interested thanks. But athletics stars ... they’re different.

And I’ve finally found an athlete I want to emulate. 

A recent world record holder whose dedication, determination and hard training had no doubt led to this worthy record. 

Did I mention the record was the beer mile? And James Nielsen ran it in 5:17 ... and that includes beer drinking time. FOUR beers.

Reasons I should be awesome at this:
  • Sitting in a pub drinking counts as training.
  • Downing pints counts as training. 
  • There’s running involved which I’ve been known to do a bit of occasionally. 
  • I’ve run to the kebab shop after a night out. That practically counts as a beer run. Right?

However, I hit a problem.  There seemed to be NO beer miles scheduled. AT ALL.


How am I supposed to break the beer world record  - or at least the Rugby drink beer, run in circles and vomit in a park mile record if there isn’t one planned anywhere in the UK?

I was just going to have to organise one myself. 

Having taken part in the beer mile at ‘Equinox-24’, ‘The Whale Ale Relay’ and ‘The 12 miles – and mulled wines - of Christmas’, I decided I knew the main ingredients of a successful beer run.

  1. Beer.
  2. Running.
  3. Trophy.

Easy, right? 

Not quite. I’d also decided to do it in fancy dress.

Fancy dress is huge amounts of fun when there’s a group of you but when you’re trying to get changed at the side of a road because gypsies have taken over the car park and it’s freezing cold and you’ve got bare legs and you’re doing a beer mile in a public park and you’re worried you’re going to have to explain either a or b to the police and c you’re dressed as a police officer. I was wondering whether I was going to actually get to finish the beer mile before I was arrested for drinking in public or impersonating a police officer. Or public nudity while getting changed into said police officer’s uniform in my car while attempting to hide under a coat.

(Can I find a ‘insert face in mugshot photo style app?)

It was all getting a bit confusing. And this was even before the alcohol was opened ...

I was timer and beer distributor for the first run. My job was to do the timing, cheer extra loudly, take the tops off the beers, pass them over and hide the empties in a carrier bag before one of the old ladies walking their poodles should complain about the park being taken over by fast-moving drunken louts. In lycra. 

Dressed in a police officer outfit, chugging beers, burping and running in circles around a park might be a difficult one to explain to law enforcement should they turn up and demand an explanation. And it wouldn’t be much of a beer mile if the beers got confiscated.

I did some superb beer opening, cheering and standing around timing. And then it was my turn to run.

My 1st beer was drunk in 22 seconds. And I set off around the park, sounding like an inebriated frog and running as fast as I could. It was like running a bit too soon after eating with that slightly too full feeling but every time I burped, the pressure was relieved slightly and I deflated a bit. If I could keep up the burping, I might be ok ...

I flew onwards overtaking bemused grannies pushing be-prammed grandchildren around the park. In true fancy dress style, I ran my first lap holding my police officer’s truncheon but after putting the Fear of S&M into one Granny, I realised it looked as though I was running at her brandishing a massive black d1ld0 and ditched it at the end of lap one. 

After I’d lost the truncheon I was handed my 2nd beer. Ugh. This one was downed a LOT slower. And this is where I realised that the running was the easy part.

Do you realise how much beer you have to drink for a beer mile? 4 x 440ml cans – that’s almost 4 pints. I don’t drink 4 pints when I’m NOT going for a run. 

I set off unsteadily and decided I REALLY should have had a wee before I started this run. I could hear the beer sloshing around in my stomach –  which didn’t bode well. Especially not when I had 3 more laps to run including this one. 

Lap 3 – 3rd beer.  The running wasn’t getting harder, it was the drinking that was getting more difficult. The sheer volume of liquid. Maybe I should have suggested a VODKA mile instead ... 

I bent down to re-tie my shoelaces and the bending was not good. I didn’t feel nauseous when upright but bending over made me light headed and feel sick. Then my shoelaces came undone AGAIN. I tied them up and kept my mouth firmly shut. Vomiting meant a penalty lap.

Just keep running, just keep running. 

Lap 3 finished ... just one more lap. And one more sodding beer. Ugh. I was sloshing like a washing machine now and was genuinely struggling to drink more liquid. My running pace didn’t change much, but the beer downing had turned into beer sipping. I was drinking my lager like an old lady sips her cup of tea. But in fancy dress. And with alcohol. 

I was still burping, but every time I burped my beer handler took a step backwards. I tried to reassure him that I wasn’t going to throw up but I wasn’t too convinced either.

Right. Fourth and final beer in. Go! I sloshed my way around the last lap, punctuating my footsteps with belches, weaving around the grannies and finished triumphantly. Arms in the air, beer in the stomach, belches in the mouth.

And trophy in my hand. Despite my appallingly slow drinking times, I’d still managed a 6:30 min/mile pace for the running and that was enough to net me the trophy. Just don’t fill it with beer for me.

Would I do one of these again?

Yes. It was good fun but a LOT harder than I’d expected. The running part was fine, but the drinking was immensely hard. Might be worth practising with pints of water beforehand as 4 pints is a LOT! Especially when you aren’t allowed to stop to go to the loo!!

We’re thinking about doing another one of these in a few months and maybe make them a regular thing. Like parkrun ... but with beer. 

And instead of Don’t Forget Your Barcode we’d have Don’t Forget Your Beer.



  1. Brilliant first beer mile! What was your overall time? Our club best by Adam is 5.56 and that INCLUDES the drinking. However from his unhinging jaw skillz I think he may have been a pelican in another life. My best is ~930; our best girls time was 8.01.

    1. Wow!!! HOW fast??? That's incredible!!

      And that's a cracking time from you - you would have beat me hands down!! You're just going to have to make the trip to the Midlands for the next one!!