It’s the most wonderful time of the year for a beer. Now it may come as a surprise to many to know the crack squad of Athletes at QPH ever associate with the demon drink. Indeed, the casual observer of the abstinence display at the QPH Christmas party would be forgiven for thinking that the harriers were a bunch of teetotallers. However believe it or not there are a few Harriers who do enjoy a tipple and sixteen gathered at the track on Tuesday night for a QPH track session with a difference, The Beer Mile. The rules are simple, drink a beer, run a lap and repeat a further three times. If the beer makes an unplanned appearance then an extra lap must be run. Being a cultured and an inclusive lot we expanded our drinks cabinet to also include G&Ts and ginger beer thereby reaching out to a diverse number of athletes. Richard Ettenfield masterminded the night ensuring an ample supply of amber liquid and making sure these were transported to the track. Alan Lawrenson and Susan Kennedy returned from lengthy absences (a fortuitous coincidence and certainly not because beer was involved) and were welcomed back with open arms. So with these welcome additions swelling our numbers the festivities began.
Owing to the high number of athletes two races were run. The first, principally comprised of G&T runners included Jojo Braine, Danielle Howe, Natalie Hall, Susan Kennedy, Kate Jones, Victor Tsui, Bill O’Connor and new comer Tim. Kate Jones led from the front showing admirable speed both in her running and her drinking. Hot on her heels followed Tim who help onto second place with the tenacity of a hoopster holding onto an alcoholic beverage. However as the race progressed it was Jojo Braine who moved steadily up through the field and finished a convincing winner. An honourable mention in dispatches must go to all runners in this race as all without fail managed to keep their drinks down.
In the second race the question on everyone’s lips was would this running/drinking ability run in the family and could Neil follow in his sister’s footsteps and take home double glory for the Hutchison clan. Alongside Neil lined up Matt Wooden, James Walerych, Franco Genovese, Alan Lawrenson, Jasper Llewellyn, Richard Ettenfield and yours truly. Beer was the tipple of choice for most of these athletes and a steely determination was evident in every eye as they lined up on the start. Unfortunately this competitive drive proved to be the undoing of many an athlete as in pursuit of fast times and faster beers some slipped from the treacherous knife edge which is the beer mile onto the side of upset and disaster. In this race many beers resurfaced spontaneously and unexpectedly like lava spilling out of an erupting volcano. Neil Hutchison, in his desire to emulate Jojo’s earlier heroics became a notable casualty and was reduced to a final lap Hutchison hobble in his efforts to complete the course and register his time. He valiantly battled to the end and joined the ranks of successful beer milers. With all runners home, a few bushes fertilised and all empty cans collected the survivors staggered off to Richards house to finish up any left-over beers (waste not want not). A big thanks has to go to Richard for his hospitality and for organising the night.