What is a Beer Mile? Everything You Need to Know

Are you planning on partaking in a beer mile? If yes, we’ve got you covered! From what actually is a beer mile to its rules and risks involved, we’ll cover everything in this post.

We recommend you to at least give this post a good read before you run the race. Now, let’s dive deep and discuss everything you need to know about a beer mile.

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What actually is a Beer Mile?

By now, you might have known that the beer mile is fun yet can be quite risky at the same time. But what actually is a beer mile? A beer mile is a highly athletic sport that comprises simply running and drinking beers.

During a beer mile, one must drink a beer can, i.e. 12 oz. beer in the US, and run a ¼ mile. The show ain’t over yet; it’s just the beginning! Repeat this process thrice to finish the race.

And the greatest challenge is that it’s a race and walking and drinking at peace won’t do the job – you’ll have to run fast than the others in order to win it.

However, there is a standard set of rules that the participants have to follow in order to stay in the competition. We’ll discuss the rules further in this post.

History of Beer Mile

Beer mile today even has a national organization. But it all started when seven guys in Canada started competitive drinking and running on Burlington Central High School track in Burlington, Ontario on an August night in 1989.

As per the ‘The Untold History of Beer Mile’ written by Runners World in 2014, the youngest runner was 17 years old named Graham Hood, who later competed in the Olympics for a 1500-m race while the oldest of 26, Kelly Harris.

Ian Fallas and Rob Auld, the two runners, brought the tradition with them to Queen’s University in Kingston, Ontario. An official set of rules were established by 1993. Today, here we are, writing about how popular the beer mile has become, and you, reading it.

Beer Mile Rules

Beer Mile is not just any game that you play while you’re drunk. Yes, you’ll have to drink four beers and run four laps in an alternating manner around the track.

It seems pretty simple, doesn’t it? But, there are certain rules and regulations that you’ll have to strictly follow if you’re to play one. The standard set of beer mile rules is provided to you on Thebeermile.org. However, for your ease, we’ll be briefing a few crucial rules here.

  1. First and foremost, you should drink four beers and run four laps, i.e. a mile in total.
  2. You must consume before the lap begins and within the transition area.
  3. All the competitors must be lined up on the starting line, and the first beer must be completed within the transition zone before setting off to run a lap.
  4. Men or Women – all the rules apply!
  5. Each beer can or bottle must have at least 355 ml/12 oz beer in volume.
  6. Advantageous beer cans and beer bottles that pours a beer at a faster rate are not allowed.
  7. Tampering beer cans and the use of straws or any other aids are not allowed.
  8. The minimum alcohol by volume of beer must be 5%.
  9. You mustn’t open beer bottles or cans until you enter the transition zone in each lap.
  10. The one who throws up will be penalized with one extra lap at the end of the race. However, even if you vomit more than once during the race, the number of penalty laps is still one.
  11. If you’re attempting the beer mile for official records, providing video evidence of the race and proof that you’ve drunk sufficient beer is recommended. To know how you can gather the evidence, read the official rules on Thebeermile.org.

Here, we’ve just mentioned the rules in short such that you’ll get a brief idea of what you’re getting yourself into. For a proper set of rules and guidelines, please visit the official site for beer miles.

What Happens to Your Body If You Participate In a Beer Mile?

Chugging four beers at a short period, or, in simple words – binge drinking does more to your body than you think.

Let’s discuss what a beer mile does to you and some of your major organs, shall we?

1. Liver

Thanks to your liver, you can enjoy being tipsy drunk with your friends and family. But overloading the organ is probably not a good idea.

Generally, you can break 15 grams of beer, in an hour. A standard beer can contain 15 grams of beer, and you’ll be drinking four of them in the beer mile.

You’ll probably need 5-6 hours to break down the 60 grams of beer you’ve drunk during the race, but you’ll only have time in minutes!

But in the race, you’ll have time in minutes. So, your liver will undoubtedly face a hard time.

2. Stomach

Generally, our stomach is capable of holding four cups of beer. Let’s calculate how many cups you’ll be drinking while you’re in the race!

Considering each beer can will hold around 1 ½ cup beer, you’ll be drinking 6 cups of beer during the race.

Moreover, the euphoric feeling you experience after drinking is due to the alcohol leakage into the bloodstream via the stomach lining. So, you can definitely expect more of that!

3. Intestine

It is where your favorite drink gets absorbed into your system. But if you’re drinking too many beers at once, the consequences will be very unpleasant.

Depending upon your body and the amount of alcohol you’ve consumed, you might experience GI discomfort and cramping, or even worse – vomiting!

4. Brain

Brain and alcohol don’t really get along together, do they? Alcohol impairs your judgment, coordination, and speech.

Though the exact risk of partaking in a beer mile in relation to your brain health has not been yet established, a study has shown that acute intake of too much alcohol might cause brain swelling.

5. Muscles

Your muscles, especially leg muscles, will have to face double trauma. Firstly, as you’ll be running a race, your leg muscles start to burn as the result of lactic acid production.

And secondly, since you’ll be drinking, your muscle coordination and recovery, both will be hindered. So, if you’re planning to run in a beer mile, well, be prepared!

These are just a few organs that might suffer during a beer mile. And the list goes on!

Most importantly, remember that your blood alcohol concentration will be much higher during the beer mile. The quicker the beer is introduced to our body, the sooner the alcohol concentration in the blood elevates.

So, before you start running for the beer mile, remind someone else to drive you home afterward.

Should you participate in a beer mile?

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There’s no yes or no answer to this question as it comes down to your choice and decision. But if you’d like our suggestion, we’d probably not encourage participation.

As we’ve discussed above, a mile can be a brutal race if your body would not be able to handle it. If your body size is small or if you’re prone to being drunk quickly, we highly doubt if the race will be a pleasant experience for you.

However, there are some things you must take into consideration if you’re planning to run the race.

Are you ill?

The simple flu will also impair your body’s ability to break down the alcohol. And if you’ve any other major illness, make sure that your body is able to handle the circumstances that running a beer mile creates in your body.

Did you sleep enough the night before?

Sleep deprivation can be a real mood killer. But did you know it also weakens your body’s ability to metabolize alcohol? Well, you know now!

So, give your body a good 8-10 hours of sleep before coming to the battlefield!

Did you have any alcoholic drinks before the race starts?

If yes, it’s not too late to decide not to play. You will be drinking quite a few beers during the race, and if you’ve had drinks beforehand, it will only make the situation worse.

Drinking more than one beer 4-6 prior to the race will already have your brain and liver occupied. The same is the case for other alcoholic beverages.

So, if your answer is No, Yes, and No to these three questions, you’re good to go. If not, you should reconsider your decision to partake.


The super athletic and epic beer drinking game – the beer mile, is quite fun, but it comes with its fair share of risks. If you’re confident that you can handle it, go for it! But if not, the athletic and drinking prowess extravaganza is obviously not worth the risk.

We’ve provided you with all the necessary information that you need to know about the beer mile. So, have you decided to participate in one? Let us know! Or, if you’ve any queries, you know where to drop the comment!

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