Austin Hosts First Beer Mile World Championships

Elite runners go shoulder-to-shoulder with amateurs Wednesday

Dec 3, 2014
Outside Magazine
beer mile Nick Symmonds Corey Gallagher Austin FloTrack

Corey Gallagher and Nick Symmonds face off at Austin brewery Hops & Grain in advance of the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships    Photo Courtesy of: Josh Baker for Flocasts

The Circuit of the Americas motor racing venue near Austin, Texas, will host today’s inaugural Beer Mile World Championships, a competition where entrants must run four laps around a track and down four 12-ounce beers.

The event, which kicks off at 5:35 CT, will be broadcast live on and will include star beer milers Corey Gallagher, a 27-year old mailman from Winnipeg whose personal best in the event stands at 5:01, and Chris Kimbrough, a 45-year-old mother of six, who set the women’s world record last month by running 6:28. 

Although James “The Beast” Nielson will not be in attendance to better his 4:57 beer mile world record, the men’s elite field will include Gallagher and pro runners like Nick Symmonds, who placed 5th in the 800 meter final at the 2012 Olympic Games, and Scott MacPherson, a 2:18 marathoner, and self-proclaimed star drinker.

“In college I used to chug all the time. And I was really good at it, like really, really good at it,” MacPherson told the New York Times.

Earlier today, Outside learned that today’s event is going to take place on a makeshift track, where four laps were measured out with a measuring wheel. The course will include shorter turns and longer straightaways than a standard 400-meter track. The change was apparently a last-minute decision by the race organizers, and will make the event more spectator-friendly.

“It’s going to be a little strange for us,” Jim Finlayson, a 5:09 beer miler from Canada, told Outside, “but it’s also going to be pretty cool.”

Finlayson arrived expecting to race in spikes, but the venue change necessitated a quick trip to a local running store to pick up some racing flats.

Tully Hannan, an upperclassman at Bates College in Maine, joined Finlayson for the impromptu shoe-shopping trip. He insisted that despite the $2,500 purse for the first-placed finisher (with a $2,500 bonus for a new world record), the Beer Mile World Championships is just about having a good time.

“We’re just out here supporting each other,” Hannan said. “I’ve made a lot of friends already.”

For more on the inaugural Beer Mile World Championships, read our feature about the heroes of the event

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