Leith Poole and Tammy Ackerman proved two things last Friday during the Michelob Ultra Beer Mile 2022—both can run very fast and at the same time hold their beer.
In a race that gave a whole new meaning to carbo-loading and humbled NMI National Athletics Team members and your usual six-pack customers alike, the Marianas High School PE teacher and former tennis protege whipped up the fastest times at the Saipan Country Club.
Lining up in Wave 1, Poole finished the four beers and four miles in 8:03.
His only excuse? “I like beer. I also didn’t eat a lot today. Just breakfast and snacks of apples, carrots, and dragonfruit and came here and ran.”
Running barefoot to get more traction due to the grass course, Poole said the most difficult part of the bizarre run was the first mile/beer.
“I think the first one was because of my adrenaline, but I finished it quickly and I’m happy to go and just run fast. I like to beat the young guys. I’m 50. The experience of beating the young crew is always good for the ego,” he said.
Ackerman, who works at Tano Group, beat Run Saipan regulars with a time of 9:01 in the third wave.
She attributed her win to a propensity to liking cereal, or in this case its germinated form—malt.
“It brought together all four of my favorite things—beer, beer, beer, beer…I’m just grateful to Dr. [Ron] Snyder and the rest of those who organized this race. It was so much fun but also not much fun when you’re running it.”
Ackerman, who once ranked No. 951 in the junior International Tennis Federation rankings, said she wasn’t aware that she was beating club regulars during the beer run.
“You can say I’ve been training a lot. The whole time I told myself ‘don’t puke, don’t puke, don’t puke’… I wasn’t aware I beat any good runners. I think everyone just came here to have fun. Congrats to everyone for just showing up because this was tough.”
Ackerman also jokingly suggested that the beer mile concept be somehow applied to tennis.
“I’ve never done a tennis set wherein I drank a beer every game. So, I guess that should be the next tournament where we drink one beer every game. I think everyone would show up for that,” she said.
Both she and Poole each came away with a beautifully crafted first place medal and Michelob Ultra Cooler BackPack.
Other winners of the Marpac-sponsored event were first wave runner-up Demetrius Borge (9:34) and third place Ian MacLean (10:37); second wave first placer Rosemarie Chisato (10:51), runner-up Ann Bang (11:33), and third placer Robyn Spaeth 12:26; third wave winner Chace Talbot (8:32), runner-up Scott Smith (8:40), and third placer Vic Sablan (10:16).
Under the rules of the beer mile, a participant drinks one beer, then runs 400m. He then drinks another beer, runs a second 400m, before drinking a third beer and runs another 400m. Forgivingly, he then drinks a fourth and final beer and then takes off for the final 400m loop to finish the course. Another run is tucked in when the beer you consumed somehow reverses course.
Run Saipan president Edward Dela Cruz thanked Michelob Ultra and Marpac for sponsoring an “outstanding race.”
“Run Saipan is happy to add a new staple and signature race in the CNMI’s race calendar. Thank you to everyone who participated and supported their runners to make this race another success. Amazing and strong work runners. Congratulations. You deserved that finisher medal!”
In all, 95 out of the expected 99 runners signed up for the event. A beer mile is a 1-mile race invented by Canadian runners in 1989. It combines the physical challenge of interval training with the skill of speed drinking. The beer mile required runners to consume a 12-oz. beer before each quarter mile lap, i.e. four beers and four laps.