The Fool’s Mile at the Foolproof Brewing Company in Pawtucket, RI drew out the novices and experienced alike on Saturday. They flocked to the brewery to take part in the beer mile, which is an event that is quickly gaining traction in the mainstream. It’s only a matter of time before we have beer mile/color run mashups, featuring sprays of foamy vomit containing every color of the rainbow. But that’s off in the future somewhere; for now we can enjoy the basic, no frills beer mile while we have it.
The drink of the day was their Barstool Golden Ale, which at only 4.5% alcohol was just under the required 5%. Between that and the fact that we were circling buildings in a lot, well, a PR that day could prove to the be the beer mile equivalent of claiming a downhill 5k as your best. But it’s still a challenge, dammit!
Heat 1 featured a full 18 participants, and two chuggers quickly established themselves as the horses to watch in this race: Rich Fague and Steve Brightman. Rich was the superior drinker, but eyes were drawn to Steve in his Oregon racing kit. Rich had a sizable lead on Steve, and for a while it was easy to think that Steve was in the lead just because he had the look down. But you couldn’t let Rich’s t-shirt and baggy (by comparison) shorts fool you. He came ready to throw down.
Rich ended up winning 7:26.9, with Steve coming through in 7:56.6. The top woman in the first heat was Kathy Perada in 14:21.2. The competition stretched out past the 20 minutes barrier as the last one came through in 23:52.
What was perhaps most impressive about Rich’s win is that his sober mile PR is around a 5:50. Chugging 4 beers only slowed him down about 90 seconds.
In the 40 or so minutes between heats, it was becoming obvious that Heat 2 was where the action was. It had a faster vibe to it and by all appearances it seemed like it would be a deeper field. They didn’t disappoint as the top 8 came through in a faster time than the 3rd runner in Heat 1.
As an embedded competitor/journalist, I can provide a firsthand account of how the race went. In short: Will Lynch kicked my ass! The competitive triathlete ended up running a blazing 7:14.6 and won by a full can. I still had my 4th beer/lap to go when he finished.
For me, this being my 3rd ever beer mile, the struggle was real despite my big PR. Burping is key, and I just couldn’t birth that bastard. The first beer went down oh so smooth (30 seconds), but the belch contractions started to come on that first lap. Try as I might, I couldn’t get it out and had to force the 2nd beer down. Despite that, I was actually a shade faster on that second chug (27 seconds). Lap 2 wasn’t terrible but now The Burp That Wouldn’t Be Belched was creating problems.
The third beer was one that lingered, taking more than both my first two beers combined to go down (90 seconds). I thought I was going to boot a couple of times, even hoping for it, but alas, I had to choke down the brew to be on my way. Now, the last time I tried this, it took me until there was only 200m of running left in the whole damn thing to get the burp out. This time, I was able to coerce it free about 100m into that 3rd lap. Let me tell you…it was a spectacular moment. It echoed off the surrounding walls, some of which may have cracked slightly, and I felt as if a huge weight had been taken off of my chest.
With a bounce in my stride, I pulled into the pit area for Beer #4 and had my fastest chug of the day (21 seconds) before taking off to see if I could reel anybody in on Lap 4.
Just when it looked as if I wouldn’t be catching anybody, I saw a guy coming back to me (David Blessington). I dug deep and produced what was possibly some sub-6 minute mile speed and caught David just before the last turn. With the finish line in sight, and Scott’s camera, I started celebrating a little prematurely. To onlookers it probably looked like I eased up but in reality I was spent. David caught me just before the line and there was nothing in my legs. Not a drop. With only a couple of weeks worth of 9 minute miles in my legs on this comeback, there was no nitro boost surge in there. I was just happy to finish this beer mile sub-9 without any foamy discharges.
Back to the results…Lynch’s win put him at the top of the standings for the day, a place he would stay. Maybe Lynch was best suited for it with his triathlon background. Will has done the half Iron Man in about 4.5 hrs so he could handle a multifaceted event. In 5th place came Meghan Maguire, who would end up being the top woman on the day in 9:53.8. To put that time in perspective, she ended up having the 7th best time of anyone on the day.
One of those that she bested was Bob Jackman, the race director and the favorite in Heat 3. It was Bob vs Steve Sharp and Leslie Bunnell. Bob had them beat hands down if it was a pure running race, but Steve and Leslie could chug! The big guy could probably take down anybody there in a chug-off; it was a question of how much the running would push the odds more into Bob’s favor.
Bob did end up winning, but it wasn’t without it’s entertainment. Jackman unleashed a furious blast of foam into a barrel on his 3rd beer. Luckily this discharge was caught on camera (I was the only one moving towards him at the time) and we all got a good laugh out of it.
— Level Renner (@levelrenner) September 26, 2015
This also meant a penalty lap for Bob, which really makes one’s time suffer. But Bob still crossed first, winning his heat in 9:57.4. Steve was next in 13:45 followed by Leslie in 14:11.
Steve probably had the finish of the day. When he came into sight for the last straightaway he somehow had another can in his hand and was drinking down the homestretch. What a competitor!
The first Fool’s Mile was a roaring success, and hopefully this marks the start of a new tradition.
Besides that highlight/interview video above, our Twitter feed is chock full of highlight so check that out, too. There were also many great shots by Scott Mason Photo. Check out Scott’s full gallery on Facebook.