Alcohol at aid stations

If you look at the nutritional label on a can of light beer and compare it to a sports drink you will nearly always find that the only difference is the alcohol content.


There are a few races around where alcohol is served at aid stations: the Marathon du Medoc positively encourages it of course whilst the 100km Passatore race in Italy gives you wine at the end as well as serving it in paper tetrapaks on the course: the only problem is that it’s crap wine.


American races tend to be a bit more puritanical although in the nineteenth century this was not the case. The prize however must go to Ada Anderson. An Englishwoman, she toured the US in 1878 and 1879 performing such exhibitions as walking 2,700 quarter miles in 2,700 quarter hours.


Fascinated by her performance one New York paper decided to monitor her diet, this is what it reported:


12:07 a.m.              Leg of lobster and port wine
12:21 a.m.              More lobster and port wine
12:52 a.m.              Port wine
01:00 a.m.              Port wine
01:51 a.m.              Cup of tea
02:11 a.m.              Port wine
02:35 a.m.              Beef tea and port wine
03:01 a.m.              Ate peanuts on track
03:07 a.m.              Port wine
03:34 a.m.              Six oysters eaten while walking
03:38 a.m.              Port wine
03:51 a.m.              Beef tea and port wine
04:22 a.m.              Glass of champagne and piece of candied fruit
04:37 a.m.              Piece of pineapple
04:51 a.m.              Sipped champagne
05:08 a.m.              Cup of tea and four oysters
05:22 a.m.              Cold lobster
05:46 a.m.              Ate lobster while walking
06:08 a.m.              Glass of champagne, four oysters
06:22 a.m.              Sip of champagne and two oysters
06:51 a.m.              Piece of leg of lobster and port wine
07:08 a.m.              Cup of tea
07:46 a.m.              Ate nuts while walking
08:08 a.m.              Port wine
08:22 a.m.              Port wine
08:51 a.m.              Four oysters and port wine
09:09 a.m.              Beef tea and bread
09:21 a.m.              Port wine
09:38 a.m.              Quinine and tea
10:08 a.m.              Port wine
10:38 a.m.              Chop onion roll
10:51 a.m.              Port wine
11:08 a.m.              Port wine
11:29 a.m.              Four oysters and port wine
12:08 p.m.              Magnesia
12:21 p.m.              Port wine
12:38 p.m.              Port wine and bread
12:51 p.m.              Port wine and pineapple
01:21 p.m.              Beef tea and bread
01:39 p.m.              Port wine
01:51 p.m.              Port wine
02:07 p.m.              Chop, potatoes and glass of lager
02:24 p.m.              Port wine
02:51 p.m.              Port wine and candied fruit
03:09 p.m.              Piece of pineapple
03:38 p.m.              Port wine
03:51 p.m.              Port wine
04:27 p.m.              Beef tea and bread
04:38 p.m.              Port wine and pineapple
04:51 p.m.              Tea and bread
05:08 p.m.              Chop, potatoes and tea
05:21 p.m.              Port wine
05:52 p.m.              Pineapple and port wine
06:08 p.m.              Port wine
06:21 p.m.              Port wine
06:51 p.m.              Pineapple and port wine
07:08 p.m.              Beef tea and bread
07:22 p.m.              Port wine
07:38 p.m.              Six oysters
07:51 p.m.              Port wine and pineapple


The paper fails to report Madame Anderson’s consumption for the rest of the day; although it’s unlikely the port bottle gathered much dust.


(This article originally appeared in Athletics Magazine).

Interestingly she does seem to have followed what is now accepted practice, frequent eating and drinking based on a clear timetable.


You have to wonder what she would make of today’s New York where her modern day counterparts seems surgically attached to bottles of mineral water!