-- To most people going for a “beer run” means popping down to the market for a six pack. But for competitors in tonight’s first ever Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships, it means chugging a beer between all-out sprints.
A beer mile race works like this: Competitors line up on a track. Before they start running they knock back a 12 ounce bottle or can of brew. They take another drink at the start of each quarter mile lap for a total of four beers. Anyone who loses their lunch before the end of the race is rewarded with an additional penalty lap.
Tonight’s World Championships in Austin, Texas, is the first time beer racers will compete a bonafide race setting, complete with automatic timing, professional track meet rules, and race officials, according to Runner’s World Magazine.
And lest you think the beer mile is a sport full of Homer Simpsons, world record holder James Nielsen completed a chug and run mile in a smoking fast 4:57.1 minutes. Chris Kimbrough – a 45-year-old mom of six -- smashed the women’s world beer mile record by over 13 seconds last month when she guzzled and ran her way through the distance in just under six minutes and 30 seconds.
The men’s field tonight includes Scott McPherson, who was a top 20 finisher at this year’s Boston Marathon. McPherson said beer mileing is the perfect way to combine his love of running with his love of drinking.
“We take racing and training so seriously, it’s a nice way to kick back and have fun,” he said.
McPherson, who says he is usually more of a bourbon fan, trained hard for tonight’s event. He ran interval workouts on the track stopping every 200 to 800 meters to suck down a beer.
But McPherson said he never threw up during a workout. He feels confident he can avoid the vomit penalty lap tonight.
“I have a good gullet and I think that will help me out,” he said.
Sans beer, McPherson has run a mile in 4:05. But he said anything under 5:15 tonight will make him happy.
“I could set the record or I can run a six-minute mile – it’s anyone’s guess,” he said. “Either way I’ll have a blast.”