This summer, the internet was buzzing when, Lewis Kent, a 21-year-old University of Western Ontario student, broke the beer mile world record. On August 8, 2015, he made history by finishing the beer mile in 4 minutes and 55.8 seconds. He's since broken that record twice.
On November 17, after flying through 5280 feet and finishing four beers, he set a new record, crossing the finish line in just 4 minutes and 51.9 seconds. Two weeks later, on December 1, Kent raised the bar yet again at the FloTrack 2015 Championships in Austin, TX, completing the beer mile in 4 minutes and 47.0 seconds.
His full history of his races and times can be found in below's screenshot from beermile.com.
We were, of course, amazed when we heard about these incredible feats, so we reached out to the fastest man in beer for a Q&A. For some context, at the very highest level, the rules of the beer mile are as follows: each competitor drinks four cans of beer and runs four laps, ideally on a track (start - beer, then lap, then beer, then lap, then beer, then lap - finish). A full set of rules can be found here.
Could you just give us a little background info on you, particularly on what you're doing in your life right now and how you got to be so fast?
Lewis Kent: I'm 21 and currently a Kinesiology student at the University of Western Ontario. Graduating this upcoming June and hoping to pursue a degree in physical therapy. I got quicker at the beer mile by constantly looking for ways to improve! Practice makes perfect. At first it was getting the chug times down, and now I've got to improve my running fitness to get quicker.
How did you get into beer miling in the first place?
Lewis Kent: The beer mile has been a fun way to end the collegiate cross country/track season for a couple of decades. If you ask any runner that has been through the university or college system since the '90s I'd be surprised if they hadn't done one or at least knew what it was. My first beer mile was in April, 2014, and I fished fourth or fifth in a time of 6:11.
Most people can’t drink four beers in under five minutes, and yet somehow you managed to also run a mile in that time frame. How does someone go about training to do those things both simultaneously and remarkably fast?
Lewis Kent: A big part of the training is having the proper technique and the stomach ready to handle 1.4 liters of volume in a short period of time. I do a lot of practice bottle chugs with water and non-alcoholic beer, as well as eating massive meals to stretch the stomach. Closer to the big races, I will do a few "beer-specific" workouts where I do track intervals starting or finishing with a beer, to get used to drinking out of breath as well.
Which beer did you drink during the record-setting beer mile? And how has your choice of brand and style changed over time as you’ve run more of these types of races?
Lewis Kent: I drank Amsterdam Blonde, a craft beer from Toronto. When I first started doing them I would drink whatever I had kicking around (usually Old Milwaukee). I have tried a few types of beer and Amsterdam has gone down the best so I've stuck with it.
What’s the worst part about running a beer mile? There’s got to be something, right?
Lewis Kent: The worst part is definitely the stomach discomfort. Thankfully with training, I feel minimal amount of it, but for a vast majority of people (especially doing their first beer mile) it is the biggest obstacle. Trying to keep all four beers down can be a challenge.
What’s your favorite beer off the track?
Lewis Kent: I'm a big fan of Innis and Gunn and any sort of amber beer.
We’ve heard so many stories of people puking during the beer mile. How do you manage to avoid that? Have you ever yakked while racing or training?
Lewis Kent: It all comes with practice and experience. You learn to eat the right meals the day of, and early enough that hopefully your stomach is happy when it is time to go. I have never puked during a beer mile, but sometimes 5 to 10 minutes after I get a little nauseous and a beer or so comes up!
You’re famous for drinking beer while running at a very high speed. That’s awesome. How has beer miling changed your life? And how can you turn this into a career?
Lewis Kent: Beer miling has changed my life significantly. It has allowed me to develop great media skills as well as travel to places I have never been before (Austin, Texas and San Francisco, California). We will have to see what 2016 brings! If major companies and brands can get on board, more money will be involved, and maybe one day there will full-time beer milers!
Additional Info on Beer Miles and Lewis
If you're interested in learning more about beer miles and upcoming races, check out beermile.com. You can also follow Lewis on Twitter at @LewisKentMiler or visit his website here. Thanks again for taking the time to speak with us, Lewis!