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Beer & Running: The 2014 Beer Mile World Championships

Nick Symmonds offers some beer mile tips before the Dec. 3 FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships

World-class middle-distance runner Nick Symmonds offers his insights and tips to the first beer mile world championships on Dec. 3. Photo: John Jefferson
World-class middle-distance runner Nick Symmonds offers his insights and tips to the first beer mile world championships on Dec. 3. Photo: John Jefferson

The inaugural Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships will be held on Dec. 3 in Austin, Texas.

Long before Canadian James Nielsen broke the 5-minute barrier and set a new world record last April, the beer mile had already foamed over its previous cult-like interest among hardcore runners. Previously a gratuitously silly and ridiculously fun event staged by running clubs and college cross-country teams, the beer mile has gone viral as fleet-footed beer guzzlers post their efforts on social media outlets in the past couple of years. Nielsen’s 4:57.1 solo effort on a track in Novato, Calif., was the tipping point that sent #beermile trending around the world with more than 1.3 million views on YouTube (as of Nov. 25).

Beer miles are contested among small groups all over the world and the results are tracked on the Beer Mile website. This past summer, the crew at FloTrack got the idea to put together a world championship beer mile. The inaugural FloTrack Beer Mile World Championship will be held at Yellow Jacket Stadium in Austin, Texas, at about 7 p.m. on Dec. 3.

“I’ve been training my butt off, both in the pub and on the track,” says Symmonds, who owns a 3:56.72 mile PR and the 5:19.0 U.S. record in the beer mile.

RELATED: James Nielsen—Beer Mile Legend

Along with Nielsen, who won two NCAA Division III titles in the 5,000-meter run while in college, and Symmonds, other top beer-milers expected to participate include Canadian Corey Gallagher (5:01.5), Australian Jack Colreavy (5:17.0) and Sweden’s Markus Liwing (5:24.3). Among the women are beer-mile world record-holder Chris Kimbrough (6:28.60) and Brooks pro Katie Mackey, a former University of Washington runner with a 4:27.78 PR in the “dry” mile.

“The athletes at the starting line on will be the best ever assembled for a Beer Mile, and I’m confident both world records will be broken,” says Mark Floreani, co-founder of FloTrack.

RELATED: How to Run a Beer Mile

Here are Symmonds’ tips for running a good beer mile:

1. Get Fit — “You need to be a good runner, but not a great runner,” says Symmonds, a five-time U.S. champion and 2013 world championships silver medalist in the 800-meter run. “But you have to be a great drinker.” Symmonds was injured for part of the 2014 season, but ran 1:51 for 800 meters in October.

2. Choose a Good Beer — “It needs to be at least 5 percent alcohol according to the rules, but there are both very heavy and very light beers in that category. You need one you can drink very fast,” says Symmonds, who says he doesn’t have a favorite beer-mile beer.

3. Train For It — “What slows everyone down is the carbonation. I try to get my beer settled and down to room temperature so I can get it down quickly,” says Symmonds, who has been practicing his beer-and-running routine on a treadmill and aiming to average between 8 and 10 seconds per beer.

VIDEO: Watch James Nielsen Break The Beer Mile World Record