Last Saturday, I quite spontaneously participated in the Bierathlon. It’s the annual “we’re actually not that serious”-event of the triathlon club FreeRadicals, of which I’m not a member, but I know a few people who are. So when Fiola asked me if I wanted to race with a friend of her, I just had to have a look at what it might be like and I was in.
That friend of her is a multiple Ironman finisher, so the qualifications (if I were to doubt them) were certainly there. We signed up for the “little” competition, the “Cüplilauf” (a “cüpli” is a glass of champagne), where you have to run two laps (2.7 km total) and drink one bottle of champagne during the race. Drinking is allowed only in a designated area and there is a complex set of rules for the event to spice things up a little. Cüplilauf was open for all-female or mixed teams.
Most people come in various costumes; Fiola for example was part of the “Irish Rovers”, doing their part to help the struggling Irish economy:
Because of the short notice (and that’s a very good excuse), we didn’t dress up as anything. We took that whole thing serious and were in it to win it. No prisoners taken! Our strategy was to run a lap, drink a bit, run a lap, drink the rest and finish. (Or that’s the way it turned out, we didn’t discuss the strategy much.)
During the first lap, we had to hold back because we had no idea where exactly to run, so we had to stay in second place until it was clear how to finish the lap. We drank some and left soon for the second lap, in around second or third place. We managed another fastest lap, but while finishing off the bottle, an all-female team passed us and took the win. I have no clue how they drank this fast!
Anyway, here we are coming in second:
Notice how also this “race” had to be recorded on the Garmin. I tried to hide it under the shirt, but the picture gives it away…
The Cüplilauf was a mere warm-up for the real deal, the Bierathlon with 128 teams participating (there were less than 30 in the Cüplilauf). Bierathlon is running five laps and drinking three litres of beer overall, carrying the full and empty bottles around at all times. Not that easy! Here’s a picture from the start:
See the Simpsons on the far left?
The orange guy with the sunglasses did this year (among more) Le Grand Raid, the Mountainman and Ironman Switzerland; he’s been several times to the IMWC in Hawaii, and he’s just one of a few highly decorated athletes competing in that beer event. In case the pictures give you a different impression.
The guys with the rubber doll wore a Borat swim suit last year…
Again, the range of strategies was impressive. Some teams seemed to have their beers empty after no time, just running past the drinking station on their last few laps.
No, the guys with the white overalls aren’t wearing anything else (except shoes).
The winning team finished in 30:40 min:sec, which is about how long it would have taken me to drink five bottles of beer. Naturally, everybody was already “in tune” after the race, and the beer consumption continued: the full crates of the no shows had to be emptied, and there was always the kiosk to help out with hot spiced wine.
Later that day I went to the restaurant where the FreeRadicals held their Xmas party, for the award ceremony. I mean, that’s my first podium we’re talking about here! The prize was – another bottle of champagne.
The Irish Rovers were also successful, finishing as the top mixed team.
I heard good things about the rest of the evening.
I didn’t stay super long, I was kind of tired, and the next day I wanted to race Silvesterlauf and improve my PB there. No excuses for not wearing a costume next year!