Health

This 22-Year-Old College Student Became The World Champ Of Beer Miles

And all without throwing up.

1. Meet 22-year old collegiate runner, Lewis Kent.

He’s a junior at the University of Western Ontario in Canada.

2. He’s also the world record holder in the Beer Mile, an event that involves drinking four beers and racing a mile.

Caleb Kerr Photography / Via Courtesy of FloTrack

The way it works: You chug a 12-ounce beer. Then you run a quarter-mile (one lap around a standard track). Then you chug another 12-ounce beer. Then you run another quarter mile. After two more beers and two more quarter-miles, you’re done. (Unless you throw up. That will cost you one one penalty lap.)

The Beer Mile probably originated on college campuses, Kent told BuzzFeed Health, where collegiate runners held the event for fun in the off season. But now it has standardized rules and official meets put on by FloTrack. Even some elite runners (including Olympians) compete in the event.

3. So, how did Kent win the Beer Mile in a puke-free 4 minutes, 47 seconds?

Caleb Kerr Photography / Via Courtesy of FloTrack

Yup, Kent won the FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships in December 2015 and scored a sponsorship from Brooks, making him the world’s only professionally-sponsored Beer Mile athlete. Here’s how he did it:

4. First of all, he got really good at chugging beer.

Caleb Kerr Photography / Via Courtesy of FloTrack

After reviewing video of his first beer mile in April 2014, Kent’s roommate noticed that starting with the second lap, Kent took a lot longer to finish each beer because he had to stop drinking to catch his breath. By the time he got to the last lap, it took him four whole gulps — costing a precious 15 or so seconds — to finish his last beer. So he set out to improve his chugging technique.

Kent discovered that getting better at chugging is mostly a willpower thing: “You’ve just got to tell yourself it’s almost done,” he told BuzzFeed. But in addition to working on his mental beer game, Kent learned to “approach the chug as if you’re pouring water down a drain.” So, basically, do not stop to taste or even to swallow. (Editor’s note: Please don’t try this at home.) Key to the drain strategy is Kent’s beer of choice — Amsterdam Brewing Co. All Natural Blonde — which is lighter and goes down super easily.

5. Then he had to work on guzzling while out of breath, and running while full.

About five weeks before a beer mile competition, Kent starts to adjust his usual training to be more beer mile-specific. So, if his team’s workout is to run 400-meter repeats, Kent will do about three of them after chugging a non-alcoholic beer, which helps him practice both chugging while out breath and running while full of beer. Now that he’s had so much practice running while full, Kent says: “I don’t feel uncomfortable even after the fourth beer. It feels like finishing a regular race.”

6. He also trained his stomach to get used to being very full.

In addition to practicing running while full of beer, Kent also had to train his stomach to be so full in the first place. He did it pretty simply, with what he says are some run-of-the-mill competitive eating tricks. He’d have a big meal — like sushi until he couldn’t eat another bite or a huge bowl of pasta — and then he’d fill a couple beer bottles with water and gulp them down. Over time his stomach actually stretched to accommodate larger volumes.

7. And he learned the secret to vomit-free burping.

Caleb Kerr Photography / Via Courtesy of FloTrack

Though Kent has never puked during a race, there have been times when “some of it comes up” after a hard run. Kent’s strategy is to burp immediately after chugging the beer. Any urge to burp that comes later, he does not give in to. Those first post-beer burps provide some relief, but he says that waiting any longer than that to burp is dangerous because “You want to burp, but you don’t know if it’ll be puke or not.” So there’s that.

8. Finally, Kent channels his beer mile success to motivate his regular training, which in turn has made him faster.

Kent says that though he’s “just above average” as a collegiate runner, excelling at the beer mile motivates him to work harder in his regular training. It definitely shows: Since competing as a beer miler, Kent has beat his own best times in several cross country distances and he expects to do the same for the shorter distances in indoor track this spring. His ultimate beer mile goal is to break 4:40.

9. Disclaimer: If you decide to run in one of the many amateur beer mile events out there, please know that it’s not something a doctor would actually recommend.

Aaron CC BY-NC-ND

Aaron CC BY-NC-ND

 

BuzzFeed asked Dr. Holly Lofton of NYU Langone Medical Center her thoughts on amateurs participating in a beer mile event. It turns out that if you must imbibe during exercise, beer is a decent choice — its high carb content provides fuel while it’s lower alcohol content means it won’t dehydrate you as much as, say, liquor would. That said, Lofton still doesn’t recommend participating in a beer mile for the simple reason that it requires you to stress your body and then fuel it with something that has no nutritional properties.

No matter what, always check with a doctor before starting a new training regimen, especially one that mixes drinking and exercising.

10. Lewis Kent, we chug to you!

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