The Great British Beerathon is one of the best events of its sort (and I say this with the authority that comes from inventing the 30 Pack Marathonand with participating in numerous stupid and ill-advised running/drinking combo-races). It is as if I have been training all my life for this. As I understood it, the race would be 5x one mile loops with stops at the pub between each to consume a bite and a beverage, specifically, a pint of cider and a pork pie, a pint of ale and a pasty, a pint of lager and a Scotch egg, and a pint of Guinness and a crumble. The record time for this course was about 46 minutes, but I was just shooting for an hour (to leave time to stop at a pub mid-race, optimistically).
The racers and their support teams assembled at the Hoop and Grapes on Farringdon Street at the edge of the City of London (although my support team, Jackie, pissed off to the East End to do some market shopping and do a bit of sight seeing). We got to the start line and the organiser read out a greeting from Mo Farah, the Olympic gold medalist in the 10,000 m and 5000 m; I didn’t catch all of it but I DO remember the words, “you make me ashamed to be British, good luck.”
I felt especially slow on the first lap and the heat, though not staggeringly high, was the first any of us had experienced since LAST summer; I decided to take it easy and once the mile was done, trudged upstairs and took my pasty and ale then headed out to the garden.
The food was the worst of the race but it was made even more egregious by the order…after mile 2, we were presented the dessert and Guinness then the pork pie and cider after 3 and the lager/Scotch egg combo after 4. I was certain I was going to do a tactical on the 5th mile but got to chatting with another runner who was dressed as a monkey and soon forgot my problems. Just before we passed an Asian wedding party we noticed the large spot on Fetter Street where another of our group had purged since our last pass, so I wouldn’t even have been the first in THAT race.
With the course nearly over and mostly down hill, I picked up the pace and actually sprinted the last 100 meters or so. Time: 47 minutes 17 seconds, but a new record was set ahead of me so what would have been the third fastes last year was 5th or 6th this year (someone did it in 37 minutes, I understand…while I was still choking on the Scotch egg). Oh well, that’s racing in the big leagues, I guess.
Jackie was hungry and quite a few behind, as I found her nursing a vodka tonic inside. I wasn’t really ready for food yet, but felt that a drink would be lovely. We left toward the East End to see if we could find the Blind Beggar which has been on my short list of London pubs for years…leaving behind my mask for my bit of the fancy dress effort (Obama on one side, Romney on the other), and missing the awards ceremony. Following that, we worked our way over to Brick Lane for a bit of Indian as I was getting a bit peckish:
Maybe I can improve on these results next year; maybe I’ll see you there. (I’ll post links to more photos and write-ups as they appear…these aren’t the most reliable folks as you might imagine.)