Runner’s high is one thing, but runner’s buzz is another, better thing. There’s no better reason to run a race than the reward of free booze at the finish line. And while drinking as much as possible after a 5K is always good fun, entering a race where runners drink copiously before, after and during the race itself is infinitely more so. For anyone in need of a little extra incentive to hit the ground running, here are seven of the most epic boozy races in the world.
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The most widely popular boozy race is called the Beer Mile, informally held in countless places around the world. Competitors chug four cans of beer and run four laps, ideally drinking each beer before the start of each lap, not all at once. There’s a lot of other particular rules as well—cans must be at least 5 percent alcohol, hard ciders aren’t allowed, no wide-mouth bottles—but the basic gist is everyone will get very tipsy and probably not break any personal mile time records. Sign up for an official Beer Mile event put on by an organization, or run your own Beer Mile outside your house—judgment from the neighbors guaranteed.
All hail Bacchus, Roman god of wine. This English race does its best to honor the harvest god with both full and half marathons, complete with six wine tasting stations per lap. The event takes place at the scenic Denbies Wine Estate and also features a post-race hog roast with runners dressed in costumes inspired by the Romans, mythology or their passion for wine itself.
All of those nights out at the bar with the squad will finally come in handy at this beer run, which calls for six-person teams to complete a relay race. The 50-mile course consists of 12 legs of varying distance (ranging from 4 to 8 miles per leg), with each person running two legs. Each relay exchange location is at a brewery offering small samples of beer. Once all of the legs are completed, the team runs together for the “Keg Leg,” a 3-mile pub and brewery run in downtown Bend, each serving more beer. Once you’ve all crossed the final finish line, enjoy live music, food, carnival games and, you guessed it, more beer.
Ladies be drinking Cosmos, am I right? While we may not always agree with the cliché cocktail choice, we can always get behind an all-female race that gives runners two free Cosmopolitans, along with free glassware to take home. Held in multiple locations including Seattle, Vancouver, and San Diego, the Cosmo 7K is a guaranteed great time for any cranberry juice-loving group of girlfriends.
If you’re going to drunkenly take to the streets dressed as a leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day, you might as well get some exercise in. This annual Paddy’s Day race held throughout Illinois features five stops, one for every kilometer marker, each pouring 3-ounce servings of craft beer. There is also more free, full-sized beer at the finish line, and lots and lots more drinking to be done during the post-run holiday celebrations. Costumes are preferred, but at the very least, you better wear green.
OK, so alcohol isn’t strictly permitted at Bay to Breakers anymore, but good luck telling that to its 80,000 some odd participants that kick off the race several shots deep. This race is notorious for being the booziest race in the world, and in our opinion, the greatest drinking experience to have in California before you die. Crazily costumed racers pregame for the wild event and sneak booze onto the race route itself in increasingly absurd ways, including plastic babies, binoculars and “costume props.” Then, of course, there are the after-parties that go well into the dawn.
You might assume the French are particularly stuffy when it comes to savoring wine, but this ridiculous, vino-fueled race turns that pretentious stereotype on its beret. Take the elements of all these other booze runs—the costumes, the tasting pit stops, the out-of-shape runners—and multiply it by a hundred. It’s a full 26.2 mile marathon throughout French vineyards, costumes are pretty much mandatory, and there are 23 glasses of wine to be had along the way, along with oysters, cheese, foie gras and ice cream to settle your stomach. People tend to pregame the event with more wine and carbo-load at the many pasta parties held throughout Médoc the night before. If you manage to cross the finish line after all those French goodies, you’ll be rewarded with a medal, more food and an entire bottle of Médoc wine.