The Beer Mile World Classic traditionally consists of the following: drink one 12-ounce beer (can or bottle) with at least a 5 percent A.B.V. Then do one lap around a track. Repeat four times. Runners are permitted to drink only in “the transition zone,” and if they ralph, and they might, they’re penalized with an extra lap. A simple thing. A clear-cut thing. And yet this year’s Beer Mile World Classic drew a little extra sweat from the brows of its contestants: there were exercise sweats, and beer sweats, and controversy sweats.
Those details, and more, come courtesy of Runner’s World and NPR, which this week reported on the trials and tribulations of Corey Bellemore, a “legendary beer miler” who appeared to have demolished his own world record (4:33) by nine seconds at this year’s event in Vancouver, Canada. But a new rule disqualified Bellemore and two other runners, all with times in the top 10, making British runner Dale Clutterbuck the default champ with a time of 4:50. Another runner was knocked out for what Runner’s World calls “an unspecified bottle violation,” and this is just such a magical sport, know what I mean?
“When race officials measured the remaining liquid in the cans and bottles of the 20 competitors,” writes Runner’s World, “they found that three runners, including Bellemore, had more than the permitted amount left over.” Patrick Butler of beermile.com told RW that the rule in question, which permits a maximum of four ounces left unconsumed, is a new one—so new, it’s not even on the official rules page.
In 2017, Cathal Dennehy, also for Runner’s World, wrote about the difficulty of this feat, on the occasion of Bellemore’s previous world record run (which he set at the ripe old age of 22): “For those not familiar with this event, that means he chugged four beers and ran four and a bit laps of a track in 4 minutes and 33 seconds. If, like me, you suspect that’s not possible by an actual human being, I can verify that Bellemore is, at least from what I saw, an ordinary guy—just one with an extra-terrestrial ability.”
That ability is doing the Beer Mile, and this time around, four ounces of beer were all that stood between him and glory. Our condolences, Mr. Bellemore. We’ll pour exactly four ounces out for you.