WCC distances itself from beer run

Event could send 'dodgy messages' to youth

TIM DONOGHUE
GENERAL REPORTER
Last updated 15:41 11/07/2012
beer std
KENT BLECHYNDEN/Fairfax NZ
RUN, RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN: Chris Swallow, once described as a 'running lunatic' by a Tararua endurance race organiser is one of the organisers involved with the 'Wellington Beer Mile 2012.'

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Wellington City Council will provide wheelie bins for a one-mile beer-drinking race, but says the event could send 'dodgy messages' to young people.

The 'Wellington Beer Mile 2012' is the brainchild of teacher Chris Swallow, an accomplished long-distance runner.

"I'm mildly apprehensive about doubling my alcohol intake for the week in about eight minutes, but seeing as it's for charity, I will give it a go," Mr Swallow said.

"It's only four beers."

To successfully complete the event runners will be required to drink four beers during four laps of the velodrome track to achieve the one-mile mark.

Wide-pour and large-neck beer vessels are outlawed from the competition, as are "Strawpedoing, puncturing and shot-gunning".

Vomiting on the track would not be tolerated and competitors who did would be required to run an extra lap after completing their mile.

The fancy-dress charity race was scheduled to be held at the Hataitai Park velodrome on Sunday, but no official approach to council had been made to book the facility.

"We have not booked the velodrome and will be turning up on the hoof," Swallow wrote in an email to prospective competitors on Tuesday.

"Mention you're there for a charity event if asked (by persons in authority) and walk away quickly."

A gold coin donation is required to enter with the proceeds going to Wellington Free Ambulance.

Wellington City Council spokesman Grahame Armstrong said the council would not actively endorse this event.

"It could send dodgy messages to impressionable young people - who might wrongly expect to see the event run at an elite level in London in a couple of weeks," Armstrong said.

Sprinting around a track after drinking any liquid, whether it be water, coke or beer, was not something the council would recommend, he said.

"We're pretty sure the organisers, competitors and spectators will do the right thing and clean up afterwards and leave the venue in the same condition they found it. To help out we'll provide a few wheelie bins for them," Mr Armstrong said.

Swallow said the world record for the event was 5 minutes and 9 seconds for men and 6 minutes and 42 seconds for women.

"Don't be soft. Have a go. Don't drive home afterwards. Friends, family, spectators are very welcome. What wouldn't they enjoy about it?," Swallow said.

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Contact Tim Donoghue
General reporter
Email: tim.donoghue@dompost.co.nz

- The Dominion Post

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