Run Saipan held the Michelob Ultra Beer Mile 2022 not because they suddenly became loyal acolytes of Bacchus, the Greek god of beer.
In fact, the non-profit’s secretary/treasurer, Dr. Ron Synder, didn’t want any part of beer runs when he first heard of them a decade or so ago.
“So I was visiting my family in Buffalo, New York about 10 years ago and there was a craft beer mile run in downtown Buffalo. None of my family would participate. I thought what is this garbage? But I kept it on the back of my mind for years until finally we (Run Saipan) put starting races together and I said ‘how about a beer mile?’ just for variety,” he said.
Despite some criticisms, the CNMI national athletics coach said the Michelob Ultra Beer Mile 2022 was a success in that they were able to lure people who don’t normally show up in their regular events.
“It’s great…Really our mission is to keep people moving so anything we could do to keep people moving is a plus. So whether it’s the adrenalin junkies with the Dash & Splash or the it’s somebody who loves to drink beer and we keep them moving through the beer mile, that is great. This is a win for us if we keep people moving that way,” he said.
Snyder said even one of the CNMI’s top runners was tested by the beer mile.
“A few puked today. There was our potential winner for today who puked coming in and had to do a penalty lap. I don’t wanna mention names—Mike Mancao. Obviously it’s very difficult. It’s not really the alcohol that gets you, it’s the full stomach. So being able to run at a fast mile with a full stomach, those have the advantage,” he said.
Mancao, for his part, said the beer mile was a very different experience.
“As a person that doesn’t consume alcohol as often as other people do, it was overall a fun experience to have. Definitely I’m doing it again next year and I hope I have a better time.”
Keith Longuski said the Michelob Ultra Beer Mile 2022 was “a marvelous success” for an inaugural event.
“Well planned with outstanding sponsorship. Spectators received an array of stamina, gluttony, and laughter with a dash of inebriation. I can only hope that next year’s event is bigger and better.”
The physician’s assistant, who usually smokes the competition in local 5-kilometer races, said at the very least running the one mile was the easy part.
“I would have rather done two miles of running and half the beer. I contemplated dumping the last drink and taking the penalty lap, but I knew I wouldn’t be able to look my fellow competitors in the eye with such a cowardly act,” he said.
Marianas High School physical education teacher Leith Poole finished the four beers and four laps in 8:03 to top the event. The first to finish among the women, meanwhile, was former tennis prodigy Tammy Ackerman who came in at 9:01.
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.