Wednesday 21st June 2017
By Clayton “Puker” Bannon
For some the Summer Solstice is spent by the prehistoric monument called Stone Henge watching the sun align itself with some neolithic stones zzzzz. For many this gloriously hot Summer Soltice would have been spent at a barbecue. For a few it meant making the weekly trip to the sacred site that is Arethusa, for the Arethusa Mile and the SHAEF Shifters had a slightly different kind of mile race in mind.
The usual Arethusa Mile took place with 47 participants in scorching conditions. The Beer Mile Entrants all participated applying various levels of effort. Now the SHAEF Shifters whatsapp group discussion normally has tales of cross country ramblings and insane ultra running exploits, but in recent weeks some of the SHIFTERS had clearly set their sights on the beer mile. Tom Cassidy’s training exploits captured on camera as justification for missing his long Sunday run. Shifters grinding out long Sunday runs whilst clearly still drunk from the night before and Nick Rowe attended a training camp AKA The Isle of White Festival.
With preparations all complete, 11 contenders stood on the start line with many of the Arethusa Milers spectating hoping to catch some puking on camera. Much discussion over the rules saw the tinnies opened with athletes allowed to walk no more than 10 metres with their drink.
Clayton “Puker“ Bannon led the way with a 14 second downing of a can, only to be in danger of puking by his second can and finally succumbing to puking on his third can.
Tom “The Beast” Cassidy followed in close pursuit before easily downing his second can then taking off leaving the rest of the field in his wake fulfilling his pre race billing as favourite. Toby “Heavy Cans” Cooper tried valiantly to reel in the beast that is Tom, but will need to prove the doubters wrong who were left suspecting some cans may not have been completely drained.
However, as much as doubts over Toby’s performance may exist, this is surely not the biggest talking point of the race. That honour clearly belongs to Nic “Mike Ashley” Wiseman who stood on the start line ready with his first of four non alcoholic beverages.
To knowingly drink non alcoholic beers in a beer mile must be a sin, although I must apologise for comparing him to the director of Newcastle United and he was quick to own up to buying the cheapest beer without checking the label.
Ravi “Mango & Cream” Lobo’s strava map also requires a little explaining. Exactly how pissed did you manage to get on your mango and cream (or whatever the hell it was) alcoholic beverage?
Richard “Too Easy” Lupo found the idea of the beer mile lacked sufficient challenge and whilst the rest of the field had left their beer cans at 400m intervals, Richard decided to carry his cans around with him just for the extra weight and to ensure his beers were gassy enough.
Nick Rowe’s training camp on the Isle of Wight paid off with a solid performance and I am sure we will see much preparation for the next beer mile by Nick. Rob Jones put in a solid performance and with a fall in recent weekly mileages on his Strava feed, questions now emerge about how much training he has put in for the beer mile?
The skipper cannot go without a mention. Only a few days after his Run the Wall exploits, Ian put in a decent Arethusa Mile despite stopping to tie his laces and then made a late surge through the field of the beer mile to finish in fourth place- that’s why he’s skipper!
Ciaran “Sat Nav” Murphy easily navigated the course leading some to believe a few beers should be his strategy every race to ensure we have no more detours.
A special mention has to be made to the best dressed contestant: Gary Neville. We all wait now to see what he will wear for the Fancy dress Bushy Park run having already set the bar so high.
Hopefully more will join in next time and with a more carefree attitude about keeping the beer down.
If anyone actually cares about the results they are as follows:
Tom Cassidy - 7.23
Toby Cooper - 8.21
Clayton Bannon - 8.44
Ian Fullen - 8.53
Rob Jones - 8.57
Nick Rowe - 9.02
Richard Lupo - 9.22
Gary Neville - 11.00
Nic Wiseman - 11.31
Ravi Lobo - 13.54
Ciaran Murphy - 13.54
Most contestants (apart from Gary & Ravi…?) got faster on the last rep safe in the knowledge another beer was not greeting them in 400m.
Many working in tempo and VO2 Max territory showing it is the drinking time which is the key to success.