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The 2014 Cascadia Beer Mile

Let the beer chugging commence

By Joanna Harper

After missing the 2013 beer mile season, I returned in 2014 seeking to add another title the one I captured in 2012. Sadly it was not to be; however, a fun time was had by all.

Jacob Buckmaster has been organizing the annual Cascadia Beer mile championship for several years now – a semi official lizard event. For those who don’t know, a beer mile is a four lap race of a standard track in which each contestant must drink a beer at the start of each lap; four beers – four laps.

I first ran the event in 2011, and in 2012 I was fortunate enough to be the female champion. Although I missed last year’s race, I returned, thirsting for another victory in 2014. The race date of Friday June 13th should have told me that this was not going to be my lucky year, but I ignored that sign. I did, however, wear my lucky beer mile dress of neon pink, which I hoped would be enough to get me back into the winner’s circle.

The race wound up being won by two first time entrants to the event who took very different paths to success, both before and during the event. I’ll start with the men’s winner, Wes Furman. Wes claims that he is a former collegiate beer miler, or something to that effect, who decided to enter this year, after Jacob’s wife Annie talked him into it. Wes said that he wasn’t in very good running shape, but his beer drinking skills had not deteriorated since his college days, and he hoped they would be enough to see him through.

Wes undertook no special beer mile training prior to the race, instead relying on his distinguished past in the event, but he did start cautiously, following the early lead of Jacob and one other dude. Wes claims that he took the lead during the second beer, and held it all the way to his finish of 7:16. Jacob, a former champion who had suffered through some lean years lately, managed to hold on to his beer this year, allowing him to capture second place.

To the victor go the spoils

Dealyn Richards was a beer mile virgin until Friday, but she said her love of running and drinking made her a natural for the event. Unlike Wes, she undertook rigorous training for the race, under the tutelage of Tony Carpenter, a beer mile veteran, whom I dubbed beer man in my recap of the 2012 beer mile. I felt a little regret that I poked too much fun at Tony that year, but he certainly got me back by training a fearsome champion to dethrone me. Tony had Dealyn do five beer – five lap training runs as part of her beer mile preparation, so the actual event would seem tame by comparison.

This training, coupled with her natural proclivity for drinking certainly paid off. She rocketed off the starting line, behind only a few men, and left me far in arrears. I actually struggled a bit with my first two beers; I think I was pressing too much, given her substantial margin. By the time I finished my first two laps, she had already finished her third beer, and was fifty meters into her third lap; I knew then that it was all over. I relaxed a bit, knowing victory was out of reach, and I think it helped me. The last two beers went down smoothly, and I attained my prerace time goal of sub ten minutes with a 9:56 clocking, only 9 seconds slower than my 2012 time. Daelyn shattered the nine minute barrier with her outstanding time of 8:55. I predict a bright beer mile future for her.

Perhaps the highlight of the whole race occurred at the end of my third lap. I could feel someone approaching me quickly from behind. It was Wes and he was closing in on the finish. I thought I could keep him from lapping me, but alas, he passed me about thirty meters from the line on his way to victory. But before I recount what happened next, I should tell you about one important beer mile rule.

Holding the beer down is one of the most important attributes for a successful beer miler – it is right up there with the ability to burp out the inevitable gas build up. Should one puke during the race, the offender is subject to a one lap – but no extra beer penalty, plus a large dose of shame. If the runner should hurl after the finish, however, there is no penalty.

As I said, Wes lapped me just before he reached the finish line and so was right in front of me at that point. He crossed the line, took two steps and puked – he then staggered to the infield grass and spewed forth a vile lake of the stuff, as I passed him by. I was very impressed that he had pushed himself right to his limit as a beer athlete, and I silently applauded his guts.

Wes said that he started to feel a little queasy on his second and third laps, but felt confident he could hold it together over his final lap. He said that once he crossed the line, he immediately lost it and the beer. While he appreciated my worshipful comments, he also remembered that his college “captain” would call out anyone who hurled during or after a race for wasting good beer.

Both Daelyn and Wes were awarded three twelve packs of PBR for their efforts, and many of us then went out to a nearby pub. I ate a much needed sandwich, but could only manage a sip or two of my celebratory beer. Realizing that I was quickly fading, and that I had a busy weekend ahead of me, I called it a night. The next morning, my head was throbbing and my stomach did not feel good either, but that is the price of near glory.

Darren, Joanna and Lou racing the 2014 Cascadia Beer Mile

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