July 1, 2023 — Chicago
The return of the Beer Mile World Classic to the United States after an 8-year hiatus was highly anticipated, and it did not disappoint. The deepest beer mile fields ever assembled gathered in Chicago for the 9th annual World Classic to duke it out for world titles, records, and glory.
Men's Championship presented by Two Brothers Brewing
As expected, world record holder Corey Bellemore (Canada) dominated the men's championship race. Bellemore was primed and ready to lower his own 4:28 beer mile world record, but chaos in the first 100 meters of the race caused Corey to lose a shoe and a British runner to go down.
Despite running the entire race with one shoe, Bellemore missed his world record by just two seconds, finishing in 4:30. He set a blistering pace early, coming through lap one in 60 seconds (beer + lap) and through halfway (2 beers + 2 laps) in 2:06.
Chris Robertson (USA) and Nick Finch (AUS) rounded out the podium. Team USA took the team title with former American record holder Garrett Cullen (5th overall) and Team USA Nordic Skier Finn O'Connell (6th overall) sealing the deal as USA's second and third finishers behind Robertson. Team Great Britian took runner-up and Team Canada placed third.
Women's Championship presented by ALWRLD
All eyes were on three Americans heading into this race: defending champion Melanie Pozdol, (now former) world record holder Allison Grace Morgan, and Elizabether Laseter who was first across the line in the 2022 World Classic but was disqualified on a chug zone technicality.
Laura Riches (England) set the pace on the first beer and lap, but Laseter took command of the race on the second beer and never looked back. She ran away from the field, setting a huge personal best of 6:03 and bettering Allison Grace Morgan's 6:16 world record going into the event.
Grace Morgan finished runner-up in a new masters (40+) world record of 6:19. Defending champion and Chicago local Melanie Pozdol rounded out the podium in third and Kassandra Marin (USA) took fourth, making it a clean sweep for Team USA of the top four spots and securing another team world title.
Celebrity NA Beer Mile presented by Athletic Brewing
The Celebrity NA Beer Mile featured a star-studded celebrity field, many of whom were trying their hand at a beer mile for the first time. They drank Athletic Lite, Athletic Brewing’s 25-calorie non-alcoholic light brew that contains less than 0.5% ABV.
Elite marathoner and podcast host Ken Rideout led wire-to-wire, cruising a 6:50, less than a week after winning the Gobi March in Mongolia, a 155-mile stage race across the Gobi Desert. US Rugby National Team member Carlin Isles took runner-up in 8:06.
There was a close battle for third on the final lap between Nev Schulman, Cynthia Frelund, and Francis Ellis. In a sprint finish down the home stretch, Ellis barely edged out Schulman to finish third in 9:28. Schulman finished in 9:29, Frelund in 9:36, and Darren Rovell closed out the race with a time of 11:37.
Legends & Elites Race presented by Long Run Coffee
The Legends & Elites Race featured several legends of the beer mile along with elite men and beer mile newcomer Shelby Houlihan.
Team USA's Bud Lightning dominated the race, clocking a 5:00 beer mile which was a 17-second personal best and would have placed him 4th overall in the Men's Championship heat
Jim Finlayson (Canada) battled it out with Todd Rose (USA) for the 50+ beer mile world record. Finlayson came out on top, clocking a 5:44, with Rose finishing in 5:54. They are now the top two 50+ beer milers of all time.
Much like the men's 5-minute beer mile barrier that was once thought impossible a decade ago, the 6-minute barrier for women stood the test of time — until yesterday. Shelby Houlihan crushed the barrier, finishing in 5:43 with a 63-second final 400m with four beers in her stomach. She ran her mile in roughly 4:25, which was quicker than most elite men covered the distance, and consumed her 4 beers in roughly 1:18.
Houlihan is currently 2.5 years into a 4-year suspension from track and field for a failed drug test (throughout the 2.5 years since her ban she has tested clean dozens of times). Because of the ban, and based on input from the other female athletes competing, the Beer Mile World Classic determined Houlihan was not eligible for the Women's Championship Race this year while the event works to develop a formal policy for athletes competing under suspension.
However, the official beer mile rules have never required athletes to test in order to have their results ratified. For over 25 years, beermile.com has relied on video evidence alone to prove legitimacy of a beer mile result and have it marked as 'Official' in the database. Further, the World Classic and athletes competing agreed to have Houlihan race in a non-championship heat. The beer mile is a community-focused, inclusive sport that does value integrity, but isn't restricted by having some outside governing body dictate process and timelines for bans.
Thus, Houlihan's time was world record eligible as she followed all rules outlined. Houlihan did not violate any rules regarding her ban and got pre-approvals ahead of the event by the required governing bodies.
Full results are here: 2023 Beer Mile World Classic Results
Watch the full 2023 Beer Mile World Classic broadcast to witness all the glory.
Corey Bellemore just misses world record with one shoe; Team USA men win the team title
Elizabeth Laseter dominates in 6:03; Allison Grace Morgan sets Masters (40+) world record of 6:19; Team USA wins team title on clean sweep
Legends & Elites
Shelby Houlihan 5:43 Beer Mile World Record; Bud Lightning 5:00 for the win, and Jim Finlayson 50+ World Record in 5:44