Adventures of A Beer Queen: My First Beer 5k

Ever heard of a Beer 5K? No, it’s not when you run a 5K followed by a beer festival, but that’s cute. It’s the invention of someone who probably makes terrible life choices, a bad twist on a beer mile, where you run a 5K with a beer station at the start, at each mile marker, and at the finish.

I recently had the opportunity to participate in a beer 5K and was crowned the elusive title of Beer Queen! Ok, so maybe it wasn’t actually an officially sanctioned event since it was the creation of an enterprising member of my running club. And, it might have been free and BYOB. And I might have been only one of two female participants. But it did come with crafty homemade medals, a belt buckle and an awesome swag bag that could rival those of some of the top marathons: Axe deodorant samples, expired jalapeno-flavored Kind bars, Biofreeze and Salonpas samples, and Honey Stinger beer koozies (all ransacked and scavenged from various freebie collections).

After spending the morning attending a professional workshop, I decided I needed to balance out my Saturday with a little irresponsibility. Honestly, I was nervous and felt sick to my stomach just thinking about it in the days and hours leading up to the run.

Luckily, the event started in the evening and ended with a potluck, so our drinking didn’t hamper our weekend duties. The rules of a beer 5K are as follows:

  • Beer must be chugged at the start line, at mile 1 and at mile 2. You have the option of chugging a beer at the finish to earn 30 seconds off your time.
  • Beer must be at least 5% alcohol (per Beer Mile rules!).
  • You may not leave the checkpoint until you can prove to the volunteers you have sucked down every last drop.

Oh, did I mention this was a trail event with over 1,000 feet of elevation? Either roads are for wimps, or it just happened to be the only location where alcohol could be consumed on the premises without drawing too much attention to ourselves.

The race began with a chug-off of beer number 1. My beer of choice was good old PBR, and naturally, I was the last one out of the gate, but I dashed up the trail to catch up with my competition. At mile 1 I was greeted by an enthusiastic volunteer who had schlepped up my second beer for rapid consumption. From there I bounced down the trail with a foam belly to the next mile where a second volunteer awaited with my last beer to suck down. After I cleared the last can, it was a mad dash down the fire road to the finish. My lone female competitor and I finished hand in hand, so when someone handed me my bonus victory beer for a 30-second time bonus to solidify my win, I took it.

Surprisingly, aside from a few belches, the alcohol consumption didn’t seem to hinder my running capabilities too much. True, I have been on the bench for the past few months because of mental exhaustion/training fatigue, so I wouldn’t have noticed the difference in my ability anyway. And maybe this was just the event to help me find the joy in running again!

Once I stopped moving, I realized just how completely intoxicated I was as my words came out in strange, self-conscious slurs as I celebrated my victory. Luckily, we celebrated our awesome feats of glory with an epic sobering potluck to follow the event, and I sopped up the beer in my belly with chili, enchiladas and an assortment of cheesy bread dishes.

Despite my fears, I did not end up a sad soul ejecting hoppy foam into the scrub oaks. So, if you ever find yourself presented with an irresponsible opportunity like this one, go forth and chug, I say! It promises to be a good time.

Disclaimer: Please keep in mind this is a binge drinking event that might not be appropriate for young impressionable souls or for the faint of heart with strict morals.

A teacher in the San Francisco Bay Area who loves trail running, backpacking and cycling. Having grown up in the Sierra Nevada foothills, I secretly aspire to run Western States 100 someday. Realizing it might not be as crazy as it sounds (maybe it is), I am currently training for my next ultra.

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3 comments

  1. I’ve never (hic!) done a beer (burp!) mile, let alone (urp!) a 5k on trailsh…thatsh an impressively strong shtomach (glug; slosh, slosh)! Also impressive: the volunteers who schlepped all the beer up the trail.

  2. Sounds fun and love your report! I would love to try a beer race sometime, but I would definitely need to practice chugging.