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Track and a tipple: QPH Beer and G'n'T mile race report

December 18 at Willesden Sports Centre saw the most recent instalment of the annual QPH beer/G’n’T mile.

Four cans for a fiver, what’s not to like?

So what is the beer mile?

It is a combination of running and speed drinking, taking course over the 1-mile distance (1,609 metres). At the start of each 400-metre lap each person must down a 355ml can of beer, run a lap of the track, then be handed another can and drink that before starting the second lap...and repeat a further two times. After the fourth beer has been consumed and the fourth lap completed, you are finished...unless you have taken a ride on the chunder bus, in which case you get a one lap puke penalty and must complete five laps–also known as ‘doing a Neil’.

QPH being a totally inclusive club and not wishing to exclude any individual from any activity, have also come up with the alternative for those non-beer drinkers, simply substituting beer for gin and tonic in a tin. Sorry teetotalers!

Race day

After a few last-minute drop outs, the pressure getting to much for some (or the “common cold” as it is also known) but as race day arrived what was left of the brave Harriers would commence battle. Weapons of choices were picked, tactics finalised, and disclaimers signed (in blood). It was time to brave the rain, crack open a can, and start running.

The G'n'T milers prepare to set off.

First up was the gin and tonic mile. Ayo Dada set off at blistering pace, both in terms of drinking and running. Defending his title, he looked determined to better the time he set in 2017. His win never looked in much doubt, although by lap three he did look to be carrying a gin baby in his belly as Gez Mendinger was closing the gap. However, Ayo was stronger and held on to take the men’s title in a rapid time of 6:32:00 (30 seconds faster than last year).

The women were setting blistering records, too. Jen Armson can run like the wind, but could she drink? The answer was yes! Despite a couple of wobbles where it looked like she might be paying a visit to pukesville, she managed to hold on and whip round in a winning time of 07:45:00, followed in by previous winner Jojo Braine, and debutant Georgina Thorborn.

Next up was the beer milers—and this had the potential to get messy.

Plenty of first timers stepped up to the challenge, and last year’s winner Edwin Mooney was back to defend his title. Ayo Dada winner of the G’n’T mile, also decided to give the beer mile a go…the maniac.

From the start, Matthew Duckett went with the surprise approach of downing his first can in about two swigs and setting off like a wild man, catching the rest of the field cold. All participants had their first beers down and set off in swift pursuit...apart from Ayo who after 20 metres realised another mile downing booze was all too much, flagging down the chunder bus and subsequently bowing out.

Matthew couldn’t maintain the pace he’d set in the first lap and was starting to flag, and by the next transition zone, he looked to be struggling. Edwin could smell blood and started to close the gap. Among the women, with an ability to down beer and smash round the track, Melanie McGovern looked to be the early pace setter, and the one the others would have to chase down.

Transition zone three: Early pace setter Matthew Duckett was gone, the chunder bus picking up another passenger. He valiantly said he’d take the penalty lap, but quickly decided his ‘blaze of glory’ approach was a terrible idea and had to drop out.

Edwin took control and on his final lap seemed to have it in the bag. All he needed to do was avoid injury, and finish. Neil Hutchinson while guiding me, had other ideas, and nearly performed a hit and run with the chunder bus… choosing the middle of the track, mid-lap to ride to puke central, which just so happened to be at the exact same time Edwin was tearing off the bend right behind him.

Thankfully, Edwin avoided Neil and his fluids to finish and retain his title for another year, valiantly followed in by Thomas Man and Tim Lewin.

After Neil, The chunder bus made another stop picking up Jana Wolfova–credit to Jana for fessing up as I don’t think anybody noticed. Melanie continued to lead from the front and took home the women’s beer mile title, followed in by fellow first-timers Gabby Smart and Charlie Morris.

While all this was going on, at the back of the field there was a bit of a surprise. Turns out our usually super speedy Sam Sutherland is bloody awful at the beer mile. Coming in dead last he finished in an impressive time of 21:53:00.

So, if you’re unsure about trying this frankly idiotic race next year, at least you know you’ll finish ahead of Sam!

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