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  • 4th Annual Encinitas Beer Mile – December 30th, 2007 (Part 1)

    Fri, 26 Dec 2008 12:53:30 -0800

    No Josh Cox. No Meb Keflezighi. No matter. The locals were out and between Roch Frey and Paula Newby-Fraser, the Encinitas Beer Mile men’s and women’s titles stayed at home in 2007.
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    Jason Tuffs wasn’t sparing any detail. He decided that if he was fast back in 1985, maybe breaking out some of the stuff that made him fast would help AND he could look good too.

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    Matt & Kim Friedman have been the lead vehicle since the start of this event and are always on time and prepared for speed. Kim pauses to ensure she’s properly hydrated prior to start – plenty more where that came from in the front mounted Igloo – sweet.

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    It’s a family affair. Local favorites, Pete Ligotti & Udo Heinz pose for a family photo with Udo’s wife, Antje, and the kids – you’ve gotta have your own cheering section.

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    Welchy was the lead official at the’07 event. Athletes knew there would be no allowance for spillage or puking with the Wombat from Wagga Wagga on the job!

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    Dr. John Clothier traveled from Northern California to be a part of the greatest single event test of running and drinking in the world – The Encinitas Beer Mile. Don’t let the tutu fool you. An old college roommate of Huddle’s, Clothier looked shaved, tapered, and very thirsty.

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    After skipping ’04 due to knee surgery, Frey came back without an ACL in ’05 to finish 4th in 7-minutes and then improved by a whopping 24-seconds in ’06 to a 3rd place finish in 6:36! The Canadian transplant was rumored to be under the direct tutelage of northern beer mile genius, Norm Thibault…what would ’07 hold?

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    And they’re off! The ’07 Encinitas Beer mile began with the machine gun pop & hiss of 40 beer cans being opened – except for the can of Paul Huddle who fumbles in the foreground while the crowd leaves him in their foamy wake.

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    With the real swillers already underway with Frey at the front, the rest of the group does their best to polish off the first 12 of 48-ounces and quickly getting out of the Consume Zone (CZ). Dan Selstad (foreground) has time to crush his empty can and doesn’t look to rushed to start his first 400-meters of running.

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    With the Pace Bike leading, the contenders were dismayed to find Roch Frey still present and accounted for ate the end of the first lap. The Stoney Plain Drain was first into the CZ which guaranteed that he’d be first to leave as he put down his 2nd 12-ounces of beer in his patented 6-second chug.

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    For the first time the Encinitas Beer Mile featured a new category: The Three Legged Team of Andy Hutchinson & Rick Spahn. That this team of renaissance men also had on Lucho Libre wrestling masks should have given them some sort of special award but, as anyone who has done the event knows, the race is the reward. Get those beers down and get running, er, hopping.

    Is it news if it’s almost a year old? Well if it’s about the Encinitas Beer Mile, it is. As hundreds of thousands – ok, maybe tens of 20’s – get ready for the 2008 event, the question in everyone’s mind is, “what happened last year?” Those who were there know darn well what happened but, now that we’re only days away from the final and, perhaps, biggest event of the 2008 season, what did actually happened that cold December night last year?

    Before getting to ’07, let’s go back to ’06 when the Encinitas Beer Mile came of age. No longer a local, grass roots production, the event grew from 16-idiots in ‘04 to 30-numbsculls in ’05, to an astounding 42-morons that year. Among the new comers was an international superstar from the running and reality television world named Josh Cox. Local running talent included Brian Culley and Dave Kloz but the neighborhood locals like Roch Frey, Doug Miller, and Pete Ligotti weren’t about to lie down to this invasion of neighborhood interlopers. In what turned out to be a Battle Royale, Cox proved his mettle, not just on two legs but from a can. That boy can run but, boy oh boy, can that boy drink beer and run.

    ’07 wouldn’t double in participants but by holding steady at 41-imbecils it was clear that the 50-participant barrier was in danger of being topped for ’08. Would there be wave starts? Would there be an expanded Consume Zone? Would there be chip timing? All anyone knew was that this title was now eclipsing every other great title in sport. There’s rumor that Lance Armstrong, Kelly Slater, Jimmy Johnson, Annika Sorenstam, Michael Phelps, and Tiger Woods are considering adding this event to their respective schedules because, let’s face it, if you haven’t won the Encinitas Beer Mile, what have you really won? Another measly Masters in Augusta? Another Tour de France? Another Olympic gold medal? Another Pipeline Masters? Please. Those are but stepping stones to ultimate achievement on a simple dirt oval in Encinitas, California, USA.

    As the event begins to compile its own rich history, consider the legends who have stamped their names on sport’s greatest achievement:

    2004: Heather Fuhr* (7:43) & Mike Drury (7:30)
    2005: Heather Fuhr* (7:23) & Dave Kloz (6:46)
    2006: Katja Schumacher (7:01) & Josh Cox (5:54)
    2007???
    *In ’04 Heather was drinking Mike’s Hard Lemonade and in ’05 she put down three Coronas per the adjusted women’s rules that year. In both ’06 and ’07, 4-beers proved too much for fleet of feet but full of foam Fuhr and, in both years, 4-regulation beers proved too much to avoid a penalty lap.

    The athletes who would finish behind these world beaters could take solace in the knowledge that they had competed honorably and accomplished the primary task of any Beer Miler – to finish both brew and distance with nary a drop spilled. The register of names who have come close (1st and 2nd losers) to immortality makes you realize just how difficult it is to reach the top of this event…on the women’s side anyway):
    Lori Bowden – 2nd ‘04*
    Paula Newby-Fraser – 3rd ’04*, 4th ’05*, 3rd, ‘06
    Terry Martin – 3rd ‘05*
    Sian Welch – 2nd ‘05*
    Laura Sand – 2nd ‘06
    Roch Frey – 4th ’05, 3rd, ‘06
    Doug Miller – 3rd ’05
    Pete Ligotti – 3rd ’04, 2nd ‘05
    Paul Huddle – 2nd ’04

    *Denotes 3-beer limit for women for the first two years of the event.

    What about times? Most who have tied on a pair of running shoes or had to “take a lap” in grade school P.E. can relate to the time it takes to cover 1-mile on your own two feet. Most of these beyond the age of 21 can also imagine what it might be like to cover this distance while consuming 48-ounces of beer – real beer, that is, none of that light stuff. Now that you’ve done the math and determined what your armchair time might be for this physiologically incompatible combination of activities, consider the top ten times over the first 3-years:

    Encinitas Beer Mile Best Times – 2004-2006 (400-meter dirt oval)
    *Denotes unofficial time due to 3-beer total or illegal beer consumed…or both
    **Denotes Event Record

    Men
    1 – Josh Cox – ’06 (Coors Original) – 5:54**
    2 – Dave Kloz – ’06 (Miller Highlife) – 6:24
    3 – Roch Frey – ’06 (MGD) – 6:36
    4 – Dave Kloz – ’05 (Guinness) – 6:46
    5 – Pete Ligotti – ’05 (Coors Original) – 6:49
    6 – Jason Lewis – ’06 (Budweiser Select) – 6:50
    7 – Anders Aannestad ’06 (Coors Light) – 6:55
    8 – Doug Miller – ’05 (MGD) – 6:56
    9 – Roch Frey - ’05 (MGD) – 7:00
    10 – Mike Drury - 7:02

    Women
    1 – Katja Schumacher – ’06 (Miller High Life) – 7:01**
    2 – Heather Fuhr – ’05 (Corona) – 7:23*
    3 - Sian Welch – ’05 (Pabst Blue Ribbon) – 7:38*
    4 – Heather Fuhr – ’04 (Mikes Hard Lemonade) – 7:43*
    5 – Lori Bowden – ‘-04 (Red Hook ESB) – 7:47*
    6 – Terry Martin-Duvel – ‘05 (Coors Original) – 7:59*
    7 – Paula Newby-Fraser – ’05 (Corona) – 9:15*
    8 – Linda Vigil – ’05 (Coors Original) 9:30*
    9 – Laura Sand – ’06 (Heineken) – 9:41
    10 – Paula Newby-Fraser – ’04* (Corona) & ’06 (MGD) – 9:42

    It’s important to note that the women didn’t start consuming 4-beers ‘til ’06 when they demanded their equality and, therefore, the right to have that 4th beer. As luck would have it, Katja Schumacher showed up and proved that they were up to the task.

    When the San Diego Union Tribune covered the event in ’06, the cat was out of the bag and mainstream popularity would force the event to move its date and location underground – only to be revealed on race day…whenever that would be.