You’ve Heard of Running for Beer. But What About Running as Beer?
New Zealand ultrarunner Glenn Sutton finished the Dunedin Marathon on September 11 in a huge beer can costume that he crafted himself.
You might find this hard to believe, but only one of the 165 runners that completed the Dunedin Marathon in Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand on September 11 was wearing a human-sized beer can costume.
Glenn Sutton, a 48-year-old ultra runner from Dunedin, and local brewery Emerson’s, the marathon’s sponsor, came up with the idea before the COVID-19 pandemic canceled the 2020 edition of the marathon.
“I thought it would be something quirky to do. I hadn’t seen it done before,” Sutton told Runner’s World. “I’ve seen cans where people’s arms and heads poke out, but not a full-size can.”
After two long years of waiting, the Dunedin Marathon was finally scheduled for fall 2022, so Sutton got to work. A joiner by trade, he put his ornate woodworking skills into constructing a beer can costume that would cover his entire body from his head to just above his feet. His friend Bruce Adams made the signage that covered the wooden frame, which depicted Emerson’s Super Quench, a low-carb Pacific pilsner that launched earlier this year.
While in the can, Sutton couldn’t use his arms much and could only manage a shuffle rather than a full stride. It was hot, “like running in a glass house,” Sutton said. He could only see through a plastic cut-out at eye level, which blurred his already obstructed vision.
On race day, Adams ran about five meters ahead of him to make sure Sutton was on the right path. Sutton, who’s run ultra races like the days-long Badwater 135 before, wasn’t worried about taking his time to finish the race. He typically runs under three hours for marathons, but knew this particular attempt would take longer—especially if there were setbacks along the way.
Unfortunately, a major setback did occur. With 5K left, an unexpected gust caused Sutton to clip his foot on the inside of the can. He tried to catch himself, but fell on the footpath.
At that point, he was “like a turtle on its back,” rolling around while locked into harnesses around his shoulders and waist. Though the can took some damage, Sutton survived the fall unscathed. He unstrapped, got out, re-strapped in, and trudged forward for the final three miles.
As he neared the end, Sutton heard his name over the loudspeakers. A crowd clapped him through the finish line, which he crossed in a time of 6:12:37.
“It was quite cool,” said Sutton. “It drew a bit of attention, and that’s what it was all about.”
Sutton’s next challenge? Big Dog’s Backyard Ultra Satellite Team Championships, where he has to run a 4.167-mile loop at the top of the hour, every hour, for as long as possible. Nations choose their 15 best ultra runners to compete against the rest of the world, and the team that logs the most yards wins. If Sutton outlasts his 14 New Zealand teammates, he individually qualifies for the Backyard Ultra world championships in October 2023.
“I enjoy challenging myself to go these distances,” said Sutton. “I don’t mind grinding it out—and I want a bit of pain.”
posted Sunday September 18th
by Runner’s World