Nick Symmonds

Perhaps in an effort to break up the monotony, running events in recent years have tried out interesting wrinkles: The Color Run sprays you with paint, Tough Mudder tests your resilience.

The Beer Mile? It tests your ability to drink beer quickly, while also running quickly. Early on, it seemed like a novelty. But it quickly turned into a legitimate event.

Lance Armstrong tried the Beer Mile -- and gave up after one lap. Meanwhile, a 44-year-old mother of six set the world record in the event last year. Olympians such as American star Nick Symmonds have tried their hand at the race, and the world record continued to drop, trading hands several times as top athletes competed and succeeded.

On Saturday, the Beer Mile world championship will take place on Treasure Island, outside of San Francisco. The event is considered the greatest Beer Mile race ever run, bringing in several of the event's biggest stars, including three former world record-holders on the men's side.

And get this: The event will be broadcast on ESPN.

At major Beer Mile races, winners earn cash prizes in varying amounts -- the winner of a race in Austin, Texas, last December won $2,500, and a similar prize is expected if anyone sets a record on Saturday.

Patrick Butler, a former college cross country runner who operates, is among the people who think Saturday's race could be the tipping point for a sport that is ready for national popularity.

"Eventually, when people start to grasp it, overcoming the stigma of binge drinking won't be difficult," Butler told ESPN. "There's no reason to think it couldn't end up on ESPN every year."

More: The Untold History Of The Beer Mile