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81-year-old grandmother conquers Beer Mile

Elvira Montes, 81, was the oldest finisher at the second annual FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships. (Photo courtesy of Caleb Kerr)
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At no point during last Tuesday’s second annual FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships did 81-year-old Elvira Montes feel buzzed. Not even close. It would take much more than four 12-ounce bottles of KCCO Gold Lager for Montes to even realize she was consuming alcohol.

This is after all a grandmother of three who prefers to drink Scotch, specifically Chivas Regal — in social settings three times a week — over beer. So yeah, it’s fair to say Montes can handle her alcohol — even when it’s coupled with running a mile.

“It was just like drinking water,” Montes said with a laugh Thursday afternoon in an interview with The Washington Post. “It tasted great.”

If you can drink beer and run fast, maybe you could land a Brooks shoe deal

She chugged four bottles of beer and ran four laps in downtown Austin in 20 minutes 24.62 seconds to become the oldest finisher at this year’s event. She also beat her 47-year-old daughter, Renee Reynolds of Austin, who finished in 21:15.67.

“I really don’t drink beer,” Montes said. “But if there’s nothing else to drink, I will drink the beer.”

When Montes first heard about the event last year, she doubted she could drink four bottles of beer and run a mile. Her goal was simply to finish — and she did in 20:44.96, just a fraction of a second slower than Reynolds.

This year, Montes was the winner in the family. And she’s also pretty good at trash talking.

“I never expected that, but she’s a slow drinker I guess,” Montes said of her daughter while laughing. “And you know, … she loved the beer.”

Born and raised in El Paso, Tex., Montes started running nearly two decades ago. She said she runs three miles a day and can finish a mile (sans beer) in around 13 minutes. Montes ran 46:20 at the Boston Athletic Association 5K in April to win her age group.

In Tuesday’s race, Montes felt strong in the beginning but said it started getting difficult by the last lap. Even a few days later, Montes sounded disappointed not by her run, but by her drinking speed.

“I wanted to drink faster,” she said. “So for next year… I’m going to try and practice drinking faster.”

Montes plans on doing that by hosting her own beer track workout — a beer mile time trial of sorts. She wants to finish next year’s race in less than 20 minutes.

When it was brought up that there other mile challenges, like the Burrito Mile, Montes said she would sign up, before asking, “What kind of burritos do they use?”

But for now, it’s back to Scotch. After the race, Montes and Reynolds went to a nearby Hooters restaurant and ordered – you guessed it – Scotch. But the party didn’t end there. They followed it up with a trip to Reynolds’s home in Austin to continue the celebration with family and friends.

And seriously, how does Montes have such high tolerance to alcohol?

“I don’t know,” she said. “I guess it’s just in my blood. We’re all athletes and we really enjoy drinking. Everybody asks me, ‘How can you run and drink?’ Well, it takes a lot of exercise to do that.”