Catching up with Beer Mile World Record Holder & New Triathlete Corey Bellemore – Slowtwitch

IRONMAN 70.3 Chattanooga was the 5th stop on the Pro Series Tour. One name, Corey Bellemore, towards the top of the Age Group competition really caught our attention. Hey, isn’t that the Beer Mile World Record Holder guy? Is he a triathlete now? Is that the same person?

No, you did not make a mistake either if you saw Corey’s name in the results. The Windsor, Ontario native just completed his first triathlon. Corey is known for his beer mile prowess. He can drink 4 beers and run 4 laps of the track in 4 minutes 28 seconds. He has competed at the Canadian Olympic Trials and the Canadian National Championships on the track in the 1500m. He has represented Canada in international competition at the NACAC U23 World Championships in the 800m. He boasts 3:39 1500m and 3:57 mile personal bests. Now we can add the title of triathlete to that decorated resume.

Corey is friends with Canadian superstar Lionel Sanders. He joined Sanders in Kona for his final training block before the IRONMAN World Championships in 2018 and knew that he would eventually want to give triathlon a shot. He signed up for Chattanooga at the end of January and finished in 6th place overall in the age group race. We chatted with Bellemore about the beer mile, his training, the race, and so much more. Enjoy!
ST: Hey Corey – It’s great to have a chance to chat with you after 70.3 Chattanooga. You’re the Beer Mile World Record Holder and just turned in quite the performance over the weekend. Can you introduce yourself to our readers? When did you start running? Did you play any other sports as a kid? When did the beer mile come along?

CB: Thanks a lot David! Lots to work on for sure but a solid experience for my first triathlon. To the readers, my name is Corey Bellemore, I am 29 years old and have focused primarily on running since I joined my first track club in elementary school. My first love was actually basketball and I am still a big fan of the sport today (also, I was a lot shorter when I played travel)! I swam during the winter months in high school and have always used it as a method of cross training for athletics. The beer mile came about after my second year of university when our team decided to do one in the off season for fun. It wasn’t a thought to do another until they started hosting competitions around the world and I saw more news about the event. I thought maybe I could break the WR at the time (knowing I had a strong stomach, could chug well and run fairly well, too). So two years after the first one, one of my good friends Joe, and twin brother, Justin, convinced me to try one at a local track. I set the world record there and have been doing one (maybe two) a year ever since. It’s not something I train for (other than the running aspect) but is something I do.

ST: How would you describe a beer mile to our readers and what makes you so good at it?

CB: A crazy event that exists and incorporates things that should never be mixed together. You are running at a maximum effort, dealing with loads of carbonation, chugging while out of breath and trying to hold the 3lbs of beer down without puking. You start with 355ml of beer 9m back from the start line of a standard 400m track. You chug a beer within those 9m (called the chug-zone) and can’t leave until it’s finished. You run 391m until you get around to the chug zone again for your next beer. You repeat that 4 times. 4 beers, 4 laps total. The beers must be 355ml which can be out of a can or bottle as long as it’s 5% abv and not a cider or anything like that. It’s a very uncomfortable event that I want to get done as quickly as possible. Burping is important to get the carbonation that builds up out of your stomach. Would not recommend to anyone haha

ST: When did you start swimming/biking? Did you compete in either of those sports as a kid?

CB: I swam for 4 years in high school, during the winter months (November-March) and then occasionally mixed it in throughout university when I felt injuries come about or needed some time off my feet. In 2021 I lived with Lionel Sanders who is one of my good friends and someone I look up to. We were swimming 5 x a week at Aquabear swim club then and that was where I started to feel like a swimmer in the water again. Biking, I do occasionally but definitely need a lot more time on the bike.

ST: When did you sign up for Chattanooga? Have you always wanted to complete a triathlon? How long did you train for the race?

CB: I signed up for Chattanooga at the end of January. Doing a triathlon was something that got put into my head in 2018 when I went to Kona to train with Lionel for his final prep before world championships. That bug never really went away, plus whenever I spend time with Lionel it comes back more & more. My fiancee was a big reason I pulled the trigger this year to get my feet wet, see if I would enjoy it and see if it’s something I wanted to pursue further. I started getting back in the water in the fall (3-4 times a week). Started biking in February (3-4 hours a week) and have been running about 100k a week on average this year. A month ago I was in Boston at the Boston Marathon Weekend where I raced the professional road mile. It was a weird balance training for that and also trying to be fit enough to get through a half ironman.

ST: Can you talk through some of the workouts you did in your build up? How does triathlon training differ from run (+ beer mile) training?

CB: I fit in what I could fit in. I got some swimming, biking and running in within the months leading up. I was consistent in getting those disciplines in but knew for my first one I didn’t want to put too much pressure on it or get too specific in my approach. Running was my comfort spot so I spent most of my time keeping that system in good shape especially with the Boston road mile in April. I swam 3-4 times a week (anywhere from 2.5-3.5k a session). I biked weekly but not very long and not enough quality. I also did a lot of unconventional training. Ex. run to the pool (4/4.5mi) with my swim stuff at 3:15/km, swim hard for 45-hour and run home at 3:15/km (4/4.5mi). I work 3 jobs so fitting that into my schedule made it constantly busy; sections of everyday were important to fit something in. Triathlon training is consuming. After doing Chattanooga, I’ve learned a lot. I need a better schedule, I need to follow a specific plan and overall, more focus on bike training + fitness.

ST: Take us through your race – you debuted at the 70.3 distance with a 4:10:53 (26:52 swim/2:22:08 bike/1:16:07 run)! What did you learn? Any advice for someone thinking about lining up for their first triathlon?

CB: For your first triathlon, it’s all about the experience. Push hard but enjoy the process. Be smart about it but make sure your focus is on finishing it without any obstacles. I swam within myself in the water. Transitions were completely foreign to me so being prepared for those were key (I didn’t practice any but knew what I needed to do and what equipment was necessary to focus on during that aspect). My transitions need to be oiled and repeated much better though. The bike was a wake up call that I need to put more time into it so I can hammer harder and have better legs for the run. I did one bike at race distance (90km) and one bike over race distance (124km) in my build. With most of my other bikes being maybe half the distance of the race. That’s not enough. My legs (quads mostly and left hamstring a bit) were very cramped at the start of the run, I was a bit nervous. I ensured I backed off when I needed to and also ran within myself to be smart and finish without having to stop or walk. Nutrition wasn’t a massive issue for me. I have a strong stomach and rarely have GI issues; I fuelled most chances I got throughout the race.
ST: What was it like competing in a more than 4+ hour race versus ~4:00 mile? Was a half marathon at the end of a 70.3 your longest running race ever? I don’t think I’ve seen a running race result for you above 10k. What was it like to run off of the bike at a distance much longer than your usual one on a day that got into the mid-70s (23-24 celsius)?

CB: My longest real race before this was 10km. There is a lot to learn, work on and implement going forward. I love competing, challenging myself and trying new things. I can understand why this sport can be so addicting, there are so many puzzle pieces to it. Yes, the half marathon at the end of the 70.3 was my longest running race ever. It was a unique experience being locked into a race for approx. 4 hours. The weather was pretty warm this time of year as I haven’t been exposed to heat yet in Canada. I did my best to break it down discipline by discipline.

ST: Your 1:16 run split would have been 8th fastest in the men’s pro field. I can say that nobody ahead of that has 3:39/3:57 speed (or 4:28 beer mile ability). What kind of respect do you have for professional triathletes who can run that fast or even faster off of a ~2 hour bike split?

CB: Every athlete that completes a half ironman or full is an absolute workhorse.. I have a huge amount of respect for the sport and most definitely, all of the pros. Triathlon is a sport that never gets enough credit. You have to be completely dedicated to the craft. One discipline can’t suffer or it will expose weaknesses in other areas. Matt Hanson ran like an animal to win Chattanooga.

ST: Did you talk to anyone for advice before the race? Did you coach yourself?

CB: Before the race I wished Jackson (Laundry) a great race and he joked by telling me not to run a faster split than him haha. He’s been wildly consistent and I knew that would be a challenge regardless of my running background. Although I had some guidance and suggested training from people around me, I picked and chose what I did leading up to my first one. I wanted to do it out of curiosity and enjoyment. I wanted to be prepared but not treat it like it was the only thing that mattered. With that being said, now that I have a baseline, I know what needs work, I know that I need more structure and I know I need to follow a plan specific to my strengths and weaknesses. This is where the real fun begins.

ST: The 2024 Beer Mile World Classic is in your hometown in August – what’s the goal for that race? Will you keep swimming/biking as you prepare for it? Can you break the World Record again?

CB: The Beer Mile World Classic is in Windsor, Ontario on August 17th. Although I will absolutely gun for the world record, there will be no specific training for it other than ensuring I am fit, healthy and ready to rip on the day. I want to keep swimming, biking and running for the next little while.

ST: Will we see you back at a triathlon this year? Is the goal to get your pro license? Will we see more of you at IRONMAN events?

CB: I have to figure out that process. I am such a newbie that I don’t know much about that stuff. If a pro card can be attained I’d absolutely love to give another one another go with more preparation.

ST: Do you think you could take down Joe Skipper at a beer mile the day after an IRONMAN? (note: Joe is a UK pro who is known for putting on beer miles the day after he competes in an IRONMAN)

CB: I’d never bet against myself there, even if I could barely walk the day after.

ST: Who are your current sponsors? Are you looking for swim and bike sponsors?

CB: I would love to represent a swim and bike sponsor. I used a lot of hand-me-down equipment for this race. A local sponsor, Flow Bike Shop & Cafe and Meal Prep Company in my hometown supported me for Chattanooga. I am extremely grateful and fortunate for their support.

ST Recap: Well, there you go. From beer mile world record to top age group triathlon result in 3 months. We hope you learned a little something from this interview and if you’re a sponsor reading this consider reaching out to Corey! We’re excited to continue to watch his progress in the sport. If he was able to do this with just a few months of training, he can definitely move up a level in competition as a pro. There are so many good runners turned triathlete like Tamara Jewett, Grace Thek, Beth Potter, and Alex Yee. Maybe Corey will be next!

Photo Credit: @longrunlactic
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