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Introducing the beer mile’s long-distance, trail spin-off: The Beer Relay

In a long-distance version of the beer mile, the Beer Relay is a four-hour team race run on 5K loops with the option to gain a competitive edge by drinking.

The Beer Relay

Over the past year, the beer mile has gained plenty of relevance in the running community with the industry’s first-ever sponsorship, the world record staying in Canada and a world beer mile championship. This summer, there will be three events that turn the premise of the beer mile, a four-beer, four-400m-lap race, into a long-distance trail race.

The Beer Relay, which combines beer drinking and trail running, involves a team taking turns of running 5K loops for a four-hour period. If a runner chugs a beer before a lap, they’re eligible to take two minutes off their lap time. Drinking is optional though a two-minute lap time reduction sounds pretty sweet.


Austin, Texas – April 23
Lyons, Colo. – June 4
Brevard, N.C. – July 16

A 17-minute 5K loop with a beer chug at the beginning of the lap equates to a 15-minute 5K with the event’s rules taken into account. Oskar Blues craft beer is the brew of choice at the Beer Relay.

Because loops are run on trail terrain, runners must pass certain sobriety tests to ensure they’re able to safely complete each loop. The test, as can be seen in the below photo, includes a mini obstacle course.

The Beer Relay
The sobriety test for runners who opt to drink before each loop.

Teams of two or four can participate and the team with the most amount of laps within the four-hour time limit is declared the winner. Each course is 5K of trails with on-course aid stations.

The whole idea around the event, now in its second year, is to have fun rather than to run blistering times.

The first of three Beer Relay events begins on April 23 in Austin, Texas followed by stops in Colorado and North Carolina. The Beer Relay is part of the Burning Can Festival, which celebrates craft beer with live music in a party-like atmosphere. Austin was added to the list after inaugural editions in Lyons and Brevard.

The minimum age for those looking to partake in the drinking portion of the event is 21 but runners as young as 13 are allowed to participate. Team names are also customizable. One team at the Lyons, Colo. event last year was named “Tested positive for IPA” in reference to India pale ale.

The Beer Relay is a spin-off from the beer mile, which involves drinking a beer before running 400m of a track, four times over. London, Ont.’s Lewis Kent is the beer mile world record holder, a mark he set at the FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships on Dec. 1, 2015.

RELATED: Why Lewis Kent is actually the world’s best runner