The 2021 Beer and G&T Mile will go down in history, and not for the best of reasons.
Due to a slightly blurred remembering of events, we have two race reports for this event.
The first comes from Ayo Dada:
Ayo & Tim at the pre race weigh in
"We thought we’d seen the last of the sporting controversies for 2021, but behold, something was brewing in NW London on Thursday 16th December.
Before we get into the shenanigans, our annual Beer and G&T Mile – a Queens Park Harriers Runners favourite – is not like any other race, it’s more a state of mind.
A race not focused on running performance, but on the performance of how one can quickly transfer liquid to their stomach... and without 'chundering'.
Going into the race, many talked up their chances at any given opportunity – especially previous champion, Ayo Dada, who clocked a 6:32 G&T mile in 2018.
Another podium finisher from the 2018 Beer Mile, Tim “Iron Gut/Mut" Lewin also backed himself highly.
Our very own ultra-marathon superstar Matt Duckett completed the confident line up, although history remembers his 2018 effort which included copious amounts of chunder and a DNF.
With previous achievements behind us, it was time for 2021 Beer and G&T Mile athletes to carve their own place in history.
The time was upon us, the athletes started to arrive shortly after 7pm, many had travelled far and wide for this race. It was time to see if the weeks of inverted drinking tapering and carb rinsing was worthwhile.
A sight to truly behold, the cacophony of colours, cans from all four corners of London – ales, lagers and G&T’s!
Spectators gathered, all hoping to witness a spectacle of a race – a star-studded attendance featuring ex-presidents, head coaches and many more!
Head Coach Sophie ensured the athletes were well warmed up with inclusion of Beer and G&T Mile specific drills all with the hope to sharpen the performance of these eager beer-vers...
Sam Sutherland, coordinator-in-chief laid down final instructions to the athletes and advised that any spewing detected will be rewarded with an additional lap.
On the start line, race favourite Matt Duckett was a bit too eager and was given a yellow card for his false start, we could hear the premature opening of his can from the other side of the track.
Then - ding, ding - the race kicked off. Duckett led the charge with a quick consumption of his beer within the technical area and set off with Ali and Ayo close behind.
The second beers were patiently waiting, Ayo and Ali arrived but it was Ali who led the quick consumption on this second lap. Tim and Matt were nowhere to be seen.
The race was heating up, two laps remaining. Ayo demolished his third beer and set off rapidly. Ali, the new-comer, could see Ayo in his sights and had his eyes on the title.
Ayo arrived at the final lap ready to consume the final beer first, Ali was steps behind. Controversy was brewing... Ayo close to chundering, managed to swallow his vomit within the technical area.
Keeping it in, he set off for the final lap, again Ali was a few seconds behind him.
30 meters into the final 400m, it was alleged by onsite referees that they’d witness Ayo projectile vomit some of the beer he’d managed to save earlier.
The race went on, Ayo crossed the line first and was [self] crowned 2021 Beer Mile Champion with Ali and Stefan arriving second and third respectively..."
Thank you, Ayo, but we hear that there's another version of events.
Ali, what was your take on the Beer Mile 2021? "After a week of both public and sporting scandals – from the uncovering and denial of illicit Christmas parties to F1 crowns being wrenched from would-be victors by controversial technicalities – it came as no surprise to anyone that the QPH 2021 Beer Mile would be ignited by similar controversies. Like any good sporting event, this year’s race included everything: competitive spirit, testing battles and, unfortunately, heartbreak.
After a creative and perfectly suited warm-up from Sophie, the scene was set for a classic race. Despite the biting cold and enveloping darkness, the lights spotlighted the scene below: a menagerie of beers, ales and G&Ts (all 5%+, of course) and a throng of eager contestants.
The rules were iterated and reiterated clearly by the fastidious adjudicators, Sam Sutherland and Susan Kennedy:
4 laps. 4 beers. A one lap chunder penalty. There was no room for ambiguity.
The race proceeded as described already by one of our pre-race favourites, Ayo. Participants swapped podium positions incessantly; one person would get a breakaway on the track, only to double over when attempting to drink more beer. Many succumbed to the bubbles and liquid, offering mouthfuls of beer to the already sodden grass. Gas propelled and with ever-cramping stomachs, all ran on, goaded by the glint of gold promised for any who could repel the urge to relieve the pain…
Duckett, taking another Beer Bow, Santa fleeing!
Once the figurative bell for the final lap had sounded, three runners had managed to break away from the chasing pack. Ayo – skilfully having re-swallowed some escaping beer in the drinking area – started first. Ali and Stefan were close on his heels, desperately trying to chip away at the impressive lead he had made for himself.
It was at this point, alas, that the leader’s luck faded. On the north curve of the track, shielded from the harsh, incriminating lights of the proceeding straight, Ayo faltered. A torrent of liquid – golden, bubbly – escaped his mouth and gushed onto the track below. Against the – thankfully dry – synthetic rubber of the track, a shadowy stain could be seen.
Duckett, inspecting Ayo's final lap offering
Ayo continued. Ali, leaping over the maelstrom, followed behind him. Both runners twisted the dial, battling until the final straight. Ayo crossed the line, followed shortly by Ali and Stefan.
The finish line was a hubbub of noise. Fierce denials from a proud, flabbergasted Ayo. Nail-biting waiting from Ali and Stefan, eager to hear the judges’ deliberations regarding the colour medal they could proudly display with an emoji on their Strava.
Ultimately, the judges acted with the swift decisiveness a Premier League referee could only wish for. No VAR was needed here: the evidence was plain to see. Without hesitation and deaf to pleas to the contrary, victory was awarded to Ali. It was with the humility of a great athlete that Ayo valiantly conceded, congratulating Ali and Stefan on achieving 1st and 2nd place, respectively, and Tom coming in third.
With talk of an additional Summer Beer Mile, we can only hope that 2022 offers a similarly thrilling viewing spectacle."
2021 Beer Mile winner, Ali
Thanks to everyone who ran, drank and helped organise, it was a truly memorable event. A special mention to our G&T runners, Beth and Monika, who took Gold and Silver respectively: