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The 2018 Beer Mile World Classic: an underground track event

The beer mile is a uniquely Canadian event and the World Classic is coming home to an undisclosed Canadian location on August 10th or 11th

Beer Mile World Classic 2017
Beer Mile World Classic 2017
Photo: Tyler Deniston.

The beer mile is a uniquely Canadian event.

The event started in Canada, the world record holder is Canadian, and this year, a group of beer mile pioneer’s have brought the Beer Mile World Classic home to Canada. 

 The Beer Mile World Classic will take place on August 10th or 11th at an unnamed location in Vancouver, B.C.

RELATED: More than a beer miler: Corey Bellemore’s unfinished business

The beer mile has taken off as a major event. In 2015, the Beer Mile World Classic was the most viewed race in the world, eclipsing any single day of the IAAF World Championships. But almost none of those viewers saw the event in person. Organizers explained that due to the nature of the event, it’s been historically difficult to nail down a venue to host the World Classic. Because of this, fans follow along on the internet during and after the actual race.


Organizers haven’t released the location of the event, and don’t plan to until the evening of August 9th at Malone’s Bar in Vancouver. In order to keep the event from getting shut-down, the location has to remain quiet. Organizers said, “On Thursday August 9th we will host a media night and technical meeting. That night we will be telling the athletes where to be on race day. That gives the runners two days to let friends and family know where they can watch.” 

On the day of the race, the entire event will be over within roughly 15 minutes. The racers and organizers will arrive and warm-up without displaying any of the beer or set up equipment to avoid suspicion. When everyone is ready, they will set up, run, and tear-down within 15 minutes. “We’ve done it before. We did the same thing in San Francisco in 2015. We ran the race as a half-time event of a soccer game.”

Organizers want the event to be fun, but most importantly, run smoothly. They’re trying to make a good name for the beer mile, “When we’re done, it has to be as if we were never there. We’re trying to give people a positive impression of the event.”

Organizers also discussed the positive aspects of the beer mile for talented runners like beer mile world record holder, Corey Bellemore. They explained that the beer mile allows athletes like Bellemore to make some extra money from the beer mile to use toward training for their main track events.

“The beer mile is 95 per cent running. You cannot be a good beer miler unless you’re a good runner. Actually not just a good runner – a good miler. There are really three parts to it: you need to be able to chug fast, you need to have the stomach to hold it in, and you have to be calm.”

They continued, “There’s no chance you’re going to put your beer down smoothly if you’re panicked. You can become a good chugger, that’s easy to practice. But when it comes to having a strong stomach and keeping calm, you’ve either got it or you don’t. Those two qualities are kind of innate.”

The beer mile started with a group of runners at Queen’s University in 1989. Four years later in 1993, members of the Queen’s team decided that their event needed rules and regulations. “We needed to have rules so we could compare races. We wrote seven or eight rules and published them. I was one of the five or six guys who wrote the rules.”

Years later in the summer of 2015, a group of elite beer milers decided the make the event into a championship. Organizers thought, “We know all the fastest beer milers, why not host a world champs. The event was formerly called the Kingston Summer Classic so there was nothing in the name that would alert the police. That’s why it’s now called the Beer Mile World Classic.” The new name pays tribute to the original event in Kingston.

The August 10th or 11th event is the fourth annual Beer Mile Classic and its first time in Canada since the Kingston Summer Classic many years ago. If you’re unable to make it to Vancouver for the event, organizers will stream the race with a 10 minute delay. Keep your eye on the event website and social media to follow the results.