Running, regurgitating and regret


Photo by Abby Miller

Junior Braden Hoosier-Hartman lies on the ground after he finishes his Milk Mile while freshman Eduardo Sanchez walks through the field after his race.

     On Saturday, Nov. 6, a small crowd gathers on the track at Riverside Junior High. It is race day, and as participants begin to arrive, they all bring one thing with them: a half-gallon of chocolate milk. Each runner checks in at the head table, and their jug is checked to ensure it meets the Milk Mile rules: either one or two percent chocolate milk, and no skim milk.

     “There’s nothing else to do but be excited,” senior Jake Schwanke said. “You can’t do anything else but be hyped because it’s the Milk Mile.”

     Organized by the Pineapple Run Club, a club consisting of runners from the Fishers area, the Milk Mile is an annual event that takes place in early November. According to junior Austin Wilson, this year was the fourth annual Milk Mile, and it was the largest Milk Mile that the Pineapple Run Club has ever hosted.

     “It’s never been this big. Last year we had 14 people, and that was more than we had ever had, and now we’ve doubled that this year,” Wilson said. “We want it to be an event that everyone looks forward to, but right now I think we made it a little too big.”

     The rules for the Milk Mile are that runners must drink at least a pint of chocolate milk before each lap, and they must finish their half gallon before the start of their fourth and final lap. For some, drinking the milk strategically is the way to go, but for others like Schwanke, it is all about finishing the race.

     “There is no plan but survival,” Schwanke said. “If you can finish the Milk Mile, you’ve won. That’s about it, there’s not much to it. Make it through it and live.”

     Even though the Milk Mile has only been around for four years, there has already been a need to adjust the rules. According to one of the original Milk Mile founders, FHS alum Bailey Wilson, skim milk provides an advantage.

     “The first year we really didn’t say anything, and then we saw that the guy that won by 40 seconds had skim milk,” Wilson said. “Two years later, so last year, the same thing happened where the winner won by about 40 seconds and was also drinking skim milk. So this year, we made it clear that it had to be chocolate milk.”

     Although the race is only a mile, most of the finishing times were not very fast. This is because many runners had to stop to chug milk or throw it back up in the grass, and, if they could, in a trash can.

     “[I feel] not good, guys. Don’t do this,” senior Alec Foster said. “Yes, I have [thrown up] a couple times. I think just two so far, but more to come.”

     However, it is not all about throwing up. Although the first person to throw up gets awarded a gallon of chocolate milk, there are also awards for the top three finishers and for those who run in costumes.

     “Last year, we just started doing this, we give an award to the best dressed,” Wilson said. “We also give an award to the first to throw up because everyone typically does and it’s just kind of funny to give the first person to throw up something special.”

     According to Bailey Wilson, the 2021 milk mile was a success. It was the fastest Milk Mile ever, with a winning time of 5:33, 42 seconds faster than the previous winning time.

     “It was awesome just to see how many more people were here,” Wilson said. “I thought it was awesome just to see how fast they ran and how this started as a thing for just the Fishers cross country team and now there was not a single cross country guy in the top three.”