The Best Beer Miler Ever By Far Doesn't Train For It At All

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Corey Bellemore's beer miling career started in a way true to the event's haphazard roots: He was halfway through dinner in Windsor, Canada, when a friend showed up at his house with a six-pack of beer and ordered him to the local track. "I finished the last couple bites, and my friend and I agreed that if it went poorly, no one will ever find out about it," said Bellemore.

A lot of people found out about it. Despite coughing up blood before the time trial, Bellemore covered a mile and four beers in 4:39--eight seconds faster than his countryman Lewis Kent's then-world record.

"Two hours later, Canadian Running Magazine had an article up about it," Bellemore said. "I had to get up early for the youth track and field camp, but I was a bad counselor that day because I was on my phone all day."

The two Canadians and world record-breakers will face off on Saturday in Austin, Texas, for the FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships, and there's no doubt who is the favorite. Four days after the YouTubed 4:39, Bellemore flew to England and lowered the world record to 4:34, handily defeating Kent. No one has run within 13 seconds of that time.

There are two keys to Bellemore's success: hard-earned running ability and the natural ability to chug and run on a full stomach. Bellemore is a serious middle distance runner with legitimate professional aspirations. The 22-year-old University of Windsor senior sports a 1:47.68 800m PR and is a 3:43.88 1500m runner. His 4:01.99 mile PR is from a second-place finish in a February indoor race that was won by eventual Olympic bronze medalist Clayton Murphy.

But: Nick Symmonds is a 1:42/3:34 guy, and he only managed a seventh-place and 5:41 finish at the inaugural FloTrack Beer Mile Worlds. Simply being a great runner isn't enough; you also have to be able to chug and to run on a full stomach.

Lots of people can chug one beer. Bellemore's talent is in holding four in his stomach nonchalantly. Bellemore is That Guy on your team who can pound a huge meal right before a workout with no repercussions. While even the best beer milers can struggle with keeping the beer down, Bellemore says that he's "never felt the slightest bit of nausea, I always run on a full stomach. I always run with a bunch of crap and fluids swishing around in my stomach."

He also taught me a new, disgusting term for that sensation: fishbowling. "You know when your stomach gets super watery and you can hear it just sloshing around? That's fishbowling," Bellemore said. "Every single workout during cross country, my teammates would hear that and say, 'Corey's fishbowling again.'

"I will have a sandwich right before practice. My teammates hate me for it, because I'm fishbowling the whole workout."

The hardcore running training and the God-given digestive system are all Bellemore relies on in his beer miles, though, as he's never done any specific workouts for the event, and he doesn't drink that much. Like many elite collegians, Bellemore doesn't imbibe often during the season and only lets loose in the offseason. 

He will allow that he has done a cousin of the beer mile, a pub run, in those offseasons. It's as gruesome, though more grueling, than a beer mile, with a six pubs scattered over roughly six miles.

"If you want to count that as training, we cover six bars in total, everyone has to drink at least a cup of beer," Bellemore said. "If you puke once, you have to do a tequila shot. If you puke twice, you have to do a tequila shot and eat two hot dogs from 7-Eleven. A lot of people end up doing those penalties."

Nothing is more disgusting than a 7-Eleven hot dog, except for perhaps 7-Eleven chili, which exists.

Bellemore thinks that he can run faster in the beer mile, explaining that in his 4:34, "When I was really tired, it got really difficult to grab a bottle and pop the top off. I missed a couple, so I think I could run faster with a twist off." (He had opted to stick with Kingfisher, the same beer he used for his 4:34. About Kingfisher, Bellemore says that he doesn't know how it tastes and has never consumed it outside of a beer mile.)

But he thinks he can seriously improve in non-beer events, and that's what he cares about most. Though adidas obviously saw additional marketability in beer miling when they signed Bellemore, he says that his coversations with the shoe company have been "minimally" beer mile-oriented. 

The contract with adidas is a one-year deal, so Bellemore's future in professional running largely hinges on how he runs this summer. And he thinks he can run "1:45-high, 3:30-mid"--not unreasonable for a 1:47 guy. He qualified for the U-23 NACAC meet last summer, finishing third in the final and a quarter second behind NCAA 800m finalists Isaiah Harris and Chris Sanders. Now his sights are set higher for this summer, as he'd "like to make worlds, but there are four or five Canadian teams to make, and making any one of those teams would be good for me."

After Bellemore's adidas deal was announced, a few runners have complained. The most notable was three-time 1500m Olympian Nate Brannen, who tweeted on Wednesday "Make Olympic Final, lose contract. Run a Beer Mile, gain contract. Something doesn't seem right here. Or maybe I need to switch events."

Bellemore has seen this, but he's more than fine with it: "I'm not used to the limelight, but I don't mind the limelight. My phone dies a lot quicker nowadays than it used to.

"People are getting mad at me, because I'm sponsored. Obviously, I see it. I try not to think about it a whole lot. I don't think it takes away from anything. If you can find something that works for you and benefits you, you should keep riding the wave, because it won't be there forever."

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