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Windsor, Ont. to host Beer Mile World Classic in August

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The beer mile has long been an underground event but over the past decade, it’s gained prominence as a mainstream event, complete with a world championship.

And this year, it’s coming to Windsor, Ont. where the current world record holder, Windsor’s own Corey Bellemore will try to break his world best time on home turf.

“I'd love to fill the stands at the university stadium and just put on a show,” said Bellemore, who is the ambassador for the event. He successfully pushed race organizers to bring the event to Windsor, and the University of Windsor Athletic Club will host the races.

The event will be held at the University of Windsor’s Alumni Stadium on Aug. 17, 2024. Tickets are now available online.

WHAT IS THE BEER MILE?

The beer mile is four laps of a track, or one mile combined, drinking a beer before you start each lap, for a total of four beers.

“It's a meet like no other, a race like no other,” said Bellemore. “People can be good at the beer drinking aspect of it. A lot of people could be really good at the running aspect of it, but to put those things together and be able to handle it for four and a half minutes of very hard efforts.”

“You either have it or you don't.”

Bellemore definitely has it.

A runner first, Bellemore won many accolades and national championships as a Windsor Lancer under the tutelage of the late legendary coach, Dennis Fairall.

Since his first beer mile in 2016, Bellemore, has been the undisputed world record holder, breaking his own records multiple times, including his best in 2021: A staggering four minutes and 28 seconds.

“I don't think that people understand or appreciate how incredibly hard that is to do,” said Beer Mile World Classic co-founder John Markell.

For perspective, Bellemore’s world record is like running a four minute mile (which is elite) and drinking four beers in seven seconds apiece.

“You basically have to waterboard yourself, and keep it in. It's mind numbing to me how fast he can do that,” said Markell.

Last year, Bellemore ran two seconds off his world best time, with only one spike on. He still won the race, but now, he’s back for redemption.

Bellemore wants to make his world beer mile title untouchable.

“It's a very unique thing to put hard running and then consuming beer in a race together,” Bellemore said.

Bellemore and a field represented by about 13 different countries will take part in the elite race, which has highly competitive men’s and women’s divisions.

But if you want to give it a try, there’s also an open race that will run beforehand, where participants will drink alcohol-free “athletic” beer.

“If you want, come see how it feels. I will put a note on it that it's extremely uncomfortable and it's not the most fun thing to do,” warned Bellemore. “But there you can get a taste of what it feels like for us to do it during the competition.”

The origins of the beer mile date back to the 80s, where a group of varsity athletes would gather at season’s end for the underground race. Over time, and thanks to the internet, various teams would post times online and compare amongst themselves to see which city boasted the best beer milers.

Through this, the so-called “Kingston” rules were drafted, rules which have evolved over time.

Today’s basic rules are: the beers must in a 341 millilitre bottle and at least 5 per cent alcohol. But biggest no-no? Don’t “chunder.”

“Chundering is when you have a reversal of fortunes in the beer mile. So it's puking,” Bellemore said, noting it happens in just about every race and is caused mostly by excess foam and carbonation from drinking liquids quickly then churning it around in your stomach as you run.

“Chundering” will cost runners a one-lap penalty, all but eliminating a runner from contention.

Bellemore hasn’t had that happen to him during competition, and he doesn’t plan to let it happen come August in front of the home crowd.

“It’s going to be a fun time,” he said.

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