On a still Saturday night in April history was made at the Rawlinson Track. Josh Harris took 4 seconds off the 7 year old beer mile world record, clocking 5:04.9 for 1609m and four beers at the Autumn Classic. Conditions were perfect and Harris came into the race in top form, having won the first round of the 2103 National Beer Mile Series, the Tasmanian Beer Mile Championship, in 5:17 a few weeks earlier. Harris would not go into the race unchallenged with Ash Watson (number 6 on the world all time list) and Charlie Blanch (number 9) also in the mix for the win. Harris was the clear favourite however, paying $1.20 for the win, and most eyes were on him as the race started. 26 starters cracked open their beers and it was rapidly apparent that Harris meant business. Watson stuck with him through the first beer but one lap Harris was racing the clock and himself in the hope of claiming the world record. On track for the record after three beers and three laps, disaster loomed when the cap refused to come off on the last beer. A frantic effort cost Harris seconds, and some skin on his hands, but finally the last beer was opened, consumed and he was on his final lap. The crowd anxiously watched the clock as Harris stormed into the home straight, closing with a 58s final lap to stop the clock in 5:04.9 and stake a claim to a new world record. Ash Watson and Mark Kirwan took home the minor placings. There were some intriguing battles further down the field with 800m runner Darcy Sutton beating fellow 800m man and current Australian Champion Alex Rowe. Neil Sampson edged out Kiwi compatriot and suit wearer Peter Gaukrodger by a fraction of a second in a sprint finish. Chapeau to Alex Bull winner of the womens race in her first attempt at the distance.
Athletes and spectators retired to the Parkville Beer Milers Club home base for more beer.
Beer Miling will return to the Rawlinson Track on Saturday, September 21st with the Parkville Beer Mile.
Ratification of the world record may take a few weeks.