By Jake Greenberg / October 12, 2018

The Beer Mile Is Getting Serious

Drinking four beers across four quarter-mile laps has attracted an athletically accomplished crowd.

Drunken half marathon runner Joe Kukura approaching the Golden Gate Bridge during the San Francisco Half Marathon where he consumed 13 beers in 13.1 miles on July 31, 2010 in San Francisco, California. The beer mile has recently become a pursuit for serious runners. (Photo by Barcroft USA / Getty Images)
Drunken half marathon runner Joe Kukura approaching the Golden Gate Bridge during the San Francisco Half Marathon where he consumed 13 beers in 13.1 miles on July 31, 2010 in San Francisco, California. The beer mile has recently become a pursuit for serious runners. (Photo by Barcroft USA / Getty Images)

The beer mile is no longer just some drinking game. The mile, in which participants are expected to drink four beers interrupted by four quarter-mile laps, has become a rather serious competition over the past decade, and has sparked questions about whether brews can actually be helpful to runners in training.

The beer mile heated up as a burgeoning sport in 2014, when a competitor ran the first sub-five-minute mile. Today, Corey Bellemore, who is known for his prolific chugging-speed, holds the world record and recently ran a 4:24, after which he was disqualified in the event for leaving behind half an ounce of beer.

The mile has evolved, adding rules across time. The beer in question cannot dip below five percent ABV, and if a runner vomits, an extra lap is required of them.

The study of beer’s positive nutritional value may seem like a fool’s errand, but it has yielded possible evidence that beer in moderation can be useful for training, though not for recovery. A new health-inclined beer by the brewing company Sufferfest capitalizes on the elements of beer that can aid healthy exercise, like iron, potassium, and fiber.

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