There's a new Beer Mile record, and the man who owns it is helping to bring his unique sport into new territories — sponsorships and all. Lewis Kent, a 22-year-old University of Western Ontario student, announced Wednesday that he signed a shoe and apparel deal with Brooks shortly after finishing his four-beer, four-lap triumph in only 4 minutes, 51 seconds.
"It's pretty surreal," Kent told ESPN. "I've always liked to run and drink beer, but I never thought I would be considered world class for doing both."
Minus the beers, Kent can run a mile in 4:15, which means it takes him 36 seconds to chug his bottles between laps. To put that in perspective, Olympic runner Nick Symmonds ran his in 5:19, so it's pretty clear why Kent was the first of his breed to get signed. Brooks won't go into the specifics of the two-year deal, but marketing manager Jenine Lafayette detailed it as "more than we would pay an amateur athlete and less than we would pay an Olympian."
Kent isn't getting anything near David Beckham's record $160 million sponsorship with Adidas, of course. But as the Michael Jordan of an obscure sport, he's more in line with competitive eaters Takeru Kobayashi and Joey Chestnut.
Now that Kent's first sponsorship is lined up, the doors may be open for more, including some lucrative beer sponsors. His drink of choice is the Toronto-based Amsterdam Beer, which retweeted the clip of Kent's run, and should probably send him a few cases for training. Until then, Brooks is running solo in the Beer Mile sponsorship game.
"Our brand zigs when others zag, and while our competitors might be all about the sweat and tears of the run," Lafayette said. "We're about the pursuit of happiness along the way."