This past weekend, while Americans were drinking beer and grilling by the pool, four Canadians were drinking beer and breaking world records. The four competitive drinkers — Andrew Hall, Jeremy Bryant, Jack Williams and John Oisin O’Keane — donned running shoes to challenge the world record for the fastest beer-mile relay, which has stood at 4:06 since being set in London last year. The Canadians managed to complete the beer-mile relay — a relay in which each runner must finish a standard 12-ounce beer before running their leg — in a speedy 4:03.33, setting the new official world record.
“It was down to the wire but we pulled it off,” said Andrew Hall, one of the runners from the event who organized the record-breaking run. For some time, Hall and Bryant had their sights set on the record and approached Williams and O’Keane, runners in a local running club who showed promise, to create a four-man team. “We were obviously stoked to have Canadians running to make it an all-Canadian record,” said Hall. “Especially since we set out to break it on Canada Day!” We caught up with Hall to chat more about the niche but competitive world of beer-running.
J. Travis Smith: Why did you set out to break this record?
Andrew Hall: Jeremy and I have been running beer miles for a few years, and have always had our eye on the records that are out there. We knew we didn’t have a hope of running the speed that Corey Bellemore and the other guys run in the individual beer mile, but when we first tried the relay, we knew we had it in us to break the current record. We just needed to find two others that could run our pace. Seemed like a fun challenge for the spring!
JTS: I’ve done a beer mile before. It was terrible. I vomited multiple times. How does a person train for this?
AH: Haha! Because we were only doing one beer for this record attempt, the training was mostly in the running. Running a 53 second 400m takes a lot of work for washed up old runners like us. If you’re training for beer miles, though, the best tip we can give you is to expand your stomach for a few days before with big meals and lots of water. That really makes the whole process go a lot smoother. There are also great youtube videos that Lewis Kent and Phil Parrot-Migas have posted, going out and doing laps with practice beers in between to get your body used to the punishment.
- “White Rock West Beach Fruit”, American Pale Ale, 5%, IBU 36
- “Main Street Pilsner”, Pilsner, 5%, IBU 22
- “Four Winds Brewing Pale Ale”, American Pale Ale, 5.2%, IBU 38
- “Hearthstone Cali Common”, California Common, 5.3%, IBU 33
Splits (Drinking and Running)
- Jack Williams (400m): 11.30 drinking + 50.98 running = 62.28
- John Oisin O’Keane (400m): 9.69 drinking + 53.68 running = 63.38
- Andrew Hall (400m): 6.12 drinking + 52.70 running = 58.83
- Jeremy Bryant (409m): 4.82 drinking + 54.01 running = 58.84
JTS: It’s hard enough to complete a beer mile drinking light beer, why did you chose to incorporate craft beer?
AH: Well, there IS some practicing for the beer drinking section of the relay that needs to be done in order to break the WR. If we were going to be training drinking, it might as well have been delicious local craft beer, right?! Our four craft brewery sponsors were generous in providing us with a bunch of beer before the race. Thanks to Hearthstone Brewing, White Rock Beach Beer Co., Main Street Brewing and Four Winds Brewing for keeping us well hydrated!
JTS: What’s more important, a fast runner or a fast drinker?
AH: In the full beer mile, a faster drinker (with a big stomach capacity) beats a faster runner who can’t drink — every time. In the relay… you kinda need both!
JTS: What did you eat to prepare for the race? Any other preparations?
AH: We prepared pretty similarly to any other race — a nice pasta dinner the night before, followed by a light breakfast (leaving room for a frosty beer), and some water and coffee in the morning.
JTS: Any pro tips for aspiring beer runners out there?
AH: Hmmm… burp in the first corner, push it for 300 meters, and then catch your breath before you come back to the beer station. Have fun, and be safe!
JTS: Any good stories related to the event?
AH: We practiced for the drinking with non-alcoholic beers. The tellers at the grocery store by our training partner’s office started to give him funny looks when he’d come in for a 6-pack of non-alcoholic beers every Monday morning! Also, Jeremy and I probably have the record for running in full Batman and Robin costumes too, at 5:25 and 5:40.