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The Scarlet

The student newspaper of Clark University

The Scarlet

The student newspaper of Clark University

The Scarlet

The Milk Mile: Lactose and Loathing in Worcester, Massachusetts

Alex Katz
Participants running in “The Milk Mile.”

Warning: This article contains descriptions of nausea and sickness

I believe I was in the compound of Gary Gorky when I first heard of the impending disaster that would be the Milk Mile on a phone call from one of my associates, the elusive and mysterious man known only as the cowboy, the same gonzo goof that informed me of the infamous shoe convention! At the time, I was giving a tour of my Nicaraguan Art Collection, highly reserved for a select few, and was instantly grasped by this new running medium of milk miling truly as revolutionary as all the great Nicaraguan artists of yesterday.     

In Ancient Greece, the most athletic would compete for glory in the Olympic Games. In their day, the tools of choice were the throwing discus and the chariot. In our day, it is the milk. 


A horde of people marched across the asphalt hopefully for a political cause. Was this massive rally of what looked to be around one hundred people going to finally change America? Sadly, no. They were more excited by the thrill of seeing someone doing some un-Kantian upchucking. Of course, the thing about Immanuel Kant is that he held a lot of parties at his crib in Konigsberg. Those must have been hella boring given the lack of competitive dairy consumption. But here in Worcester, the spirit of Kantian philosophy was ignored. 

The horde of humans had previously sought to make camp at a far away land where only the most powerful warriors trained: the Dolan Field House. However, the great milk army was halted and denied entry for their unsavory views on how a mile should be run. 

Turned away from running their mile on campus, the milk pilgrims then embarked on a quest like something out of the goddamn Hobbit to find a new stadium. On their way out, I was able to get a hold of one of the competitors. He remarked, “The mile part I’m not so worried about; the milk, very much concerned about.” When we brought up the issue of experience with competitive dairy consumption, the pilgrim mentioned that he had “eaten tubs of ice cream in one sitting,” but had also said that he didn’t think it would be anything like the milk. 

I asked for this brave competitor’s name, explaining our own pseudonyms; he mentioned the same “Sam Stern.” Now, I’m pretty sure that our athlete provided us with a fake name. Looking it up, I found only one mention, which is of an amateur British chef who claimed to have been cooking since he was 14 years old. I was became deeply interested in this man’s pithiviers, and upon looking into his pithiviers I found a comte, potato, onion, and chorizo pithivier which is definitely the pithivierest pithivier of all time and a recipe that I will bookmark and then never make. 

With one athlete identified in Sam Stern (not the chef), I drifted from the lactose bourgeoisie and on toward the masses: truly a Jack Reed moment. One onlooker who refused to give his name was well-prepared for the event. He decided to bring his own sitting vessel, commonly known as a chair. “I came to watch my fellow undergraduates compete for pride,” said the mysterious Red Chair Man. “Pride?” another milk mile spectator said. “You think there’s a lot of pride in this?” Red Chair Man replied, “uhhh… glory and prestige.”Another milk mile hooligan said, “[there’s] nothing I love more than some milk.” Truly the quote of the century. By now, I had met 5 milk milers, all of whom were truly held in high regard by the hoi polloi of our university. 


The new site of the competition was not so much an arena, but a battlefield. A battlefield that reeked with a putrid odor that came from a nearby cesspit filled with dead fish and colored by a verdant hue that would drive even the strongest of constitution to do something as insane as running a mile after chugging a gallon of milk. 

Two participants drinking milk. (Alex Katz)

Was it all some sort of metaphor for how we were ignoring climate change and focusing on petty competitions, or was this an attempt at making a massive rancid chowder? The crowd was certainly excited for the event to begin as many had made their own handwritten signs to cheer on their favorite milk miler. I knew the milk mile would soon officially begin and had to get a picture of the champions that would embark on the great journey. The crowd seemed entranced by the spectacle, as though they were about to watch some Jules Verne protagonists get launched out of an oversized cannon. 

I was about to take my final photo when my phone suddenly died. Damn the Apple overlords and their weak battery life! I knew I should’ve listened to the Cowboy and gotten a Google phone. What was I supposed to do? After all, Gary Gorky without a photograph taking device is like Nate Silver without a bad election prediction. Fortunately, graphics for this article were provided to me by spectator Alex Katz. 

Speaking of photographers, my Trotskyist photographer Justin Lens had no way of knowing where the event had been moved and was possibly stuck in the wasteland known as the Dolan Field House. But being near electric-green Crystal Pond, how hard could we be to find? 


The five competitors presented their jugs of milk to the crowd, and held high their barf bags that had been acquired from a local Vietnamese restaurant. The choice of milk itself was a point of controversy. One competitor had gone with straight-up 2%, while another had gone for half-whole, half-2%. This difference was an important one.

In a flash, the competitors were off to run the lap. Instantly, everyone cheered as they closely watched the milk milers fly across the park. The first lap was certainly the easiest for our heroes: the milk-drinking had not yet started. The first lap was more of a warm up to get their stomach acids flowing and prepare their bodies for the milk. When the milk milers returned to the starting line, they swarmed to the milk like flies on a spilled container of ketchup somebody dropped on their way from the Bistro. 

The milkers of the mile started consuming their dreaded bottles of to-go lactose intolerance on to their next mile. And off they went again, with the first mile being the easiest, given that the milk had not made much progress in their digestive tracts. But the second lap would go down in infamy like it was Pearl Harbor. They drank more, and they ran more. This lap was similar to the previous one but was noticeably slower. A man behind me lit a cigarette probably thinking to himself, “what the hell are the Clarkies up to this time?” Little did he know how dirty the park would become. When the runners came back the milk drinking began for the third time, and all hell broke loose: the first person threw up. 


The first throwing up was a sign that the competition was in full swing, as now the milk milers had a choice to make: they could avoid getting sick, or they could win. They could win the prestige that the Red Chair Man described.

Participants in agony. (Alex Katz)

That first vomit occurred mid-chug, so it was certainly an unpleasant experience that would rank low in the throw-up tier list. At this point, I needed to know what these people were feeling this far into the race. I asked one of them for a comment on the matter. “Hold on a minute,” he replied, as he proceeded to throw up in his plastic bag. 

The scene was definitely getting to me at this point. It wasn’t the physical act that bothered me so much, but the smell that came afterwards. I will admit, all this milk talk really had me down for a strawberry milkshake, but after the horrendous and putrid smell that came from the milk fluid and stomach acid concoction that was the throw up, I was hell-bent on never consuming any more dairy products (something which I would ignore the next day given the massive amounts of cheese I eat.) 

A few of the competitors remarked how stupid the whole thing was. “Why would anyone watch this,” they said while walking (the milk had rendered them incapable of running) back to the finish line. Another competitor was heard to remark that they would “never do this again.” At this point, the method of throwing up was split. Many chose the bags, but others ditched them entirely and began to throw up wherever was convenient, much to the dismay of the Worcester residents trying to enjoy a simple day at the park. At this point the barfing became too frequent for the average milk mile viewer and so at this point many people began to depart.

A participant in defeat. (Alex Katz)


The winner of the milk mile was none other than the 2% milk kid. This certainly was a controversial decision to declare him the winner. After all, he was seemingly the only one who used the 2% milk. Everyone else had imbibed in humble whole milk. The winner also said that the best pizza restaurant was Worcester Pizza Factory, which certainly made me question his milk drinking methods given my loyalty to New Wine Pizza. 

The winner of the Milk Mile. (Alex Katz)

Of course, the winner had certainly suffered just as much as anyone else. The sprawling puddle of sick just behind the bench near the start / finish line was evidence enough. One competitor infamously threw up the biggest milk vomit shortly after the winner had been declared. The remnants of curdled milk in the giant yellowish tinted white pool drove audiences away faster than Got Sole purchase tickets to the next shoe convention. 

This massive puddle of throw up necessitated a clean-up session. At this point virtually everyone was gone, including the winner, who didn’t assist in the clean up and had possibly cheated with his non-whole milk. Our “Sam Stern” character also left, claiming he had to take an Uber to New York. The remaining competitors dutifully cleaned up using store-brand paper towels and a gallon of milk. The milk may not have been the best choice seeing as the cleanup involved pouring water over the throw up, which just mixed with the ash from all the cigarette butts on the asphalt, making the paper towels they used the biggest biohazard east of the Mississippi. The event closed with the most intelligent comment I heard all day: a local child went up to a competitor and said, “never do that again!”

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