The Beer Mile Goes Mainstream

It may seem like something out of Animal House, but the first recorded Beer Mile World Championships are kicking off tomorrow in Austin, Texas, reports CultureMap Austin, with Olympic runners and amateurs alike lining up to drink and dash. But according to Outside Magazine, this is just one of many steps that the sport has taken towards becoming more mainstream.

The Beer Mile, which unsurprisingly has collegiate origins, was established and formalized in its current iteration at Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario in the early nineties, though versions of the event have existed in the running community for years. Then, in 2006, one enthusiast purchased the domain, which has since become an archive of race records and a battleground for elite runners seeking the elusive sub-five minute time. It’s one such quest—manifested in a rivalry between the sport’s top talent, James Neilsen and Josh Harris—that’s gone viral, propelling the sport out of the shadows and into the limelight.

Contrary to what some might think, it’s not the alcohol that proves a challenge to competitors.  It’s actually the beer’s carbonation, leading to all sorts of messy situations come race time, though racers are warned that “if you make a mess on the track, you’re expected to clean it up.” Tomorrow should prove interesting. [Outside Magazine] [Photo: Flickr/U.S. Army]