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Mississauga 'beer mile' runner chugs his way into the record books

He ran the race in four minutes and 47 seconds — half the time in which most people could do it sober.

Lewis Kent has been crushing brews and breaking records as an elite beer mile athlete. The sport consists of running a mile, while stopping every quarter mile to chug a beer.

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Lewis Kent has been crushing brews and breaking records as an elite beer mile athlete. The sport consists of running a mile, while stopping every quarter mile to chug a beer.

Lewis Kent describes himself as a “mediocre” college athlete, but in the competition known as beer mile, he’s an all-star. On Tuesday, at the Beer Mile World Championships in Austin, Texas, the 21-year-old Western University student set a world record in the sport, which consists of running a mile while stopping every quarter-mile to drink a beer. He ran the race in four minutes and 47 seconds — half the time in which most people could do it sober.

Brewing up success

Kent attributes his success at alcoholic athletics to his self-devised training regime. The “most boring part,” he said, is staying fit through his regular workouts. But as a race approaches, he practices chugging. He takes school seriously, so he can’t get drunk every night. Instead he lines up bottles of water or non-alcoholic beer and drinks them as fast as he can. In the days leading up to the race he eats a few “massive” meals, to stretch out his stomach.

First sip

“I get a huge adrenalin rush” when downing a beer at the start of a race, Kent said. But after the rush comes the gas. “The first 50 metres right after you chug beer there’s lots of burping, lots of stuff going on.” But Kent said the race is so short that he doesn’t start feeling tipsy until afterward. “I think it’s just your body hasn’t processed it yet. It’s in such a state of shock,” he said.

The chug zone

In beer mile, a competitor’s ability to drink quickly can be more decisive than running quickly. “Everyone’s fit, everyone’s ready to run fast,” Kent said. “But it’s that chug that gets you. If you’re taking forever in that chug zone, that’s where you lose a lot of time, potentially.” His lager of choice is Amsterdam Blonde. “I just tried a bunch of different beers and that one seems to go down the best.”

The last, sudsy stretch

As the race wears on, the carbonated liquid sloshing around in a runner’s stomach starts to take its toll. “It feels like it’s weighing you down. So it’s more important than ever … those second, third and fourth beers, to get the burps up,” Kent said. Some competitors go slow until they’ve burped enough, but Kent runs hard as soon as he’s emptied the bottle. “It’s such a tight race that you can’t afford to waste half a second.”

The after party

About 15 minutes after crossing the finish line, Kent starts to feel drunk. On days when he doesn’t have school work, he can keep the feeling going by having a few more. He’ll certainly be feeling the buzz from his latest performances for a while — his exploits on the beer mile circuit have earned him $5,000, an appearance on the Ellen DeGeneres Show, and an endorsement deal from Brooks Running Shoes and Apparel. “It’s been pretty fun,” he said.

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