We don’t get many world championships around here, but the ATX has at least one it can be proud of: The Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships. For the second year, Austin will be the site, tomorrow night (Tuesday, December 1st). The best beer milers from all over North America will compete for serious prize money and world honors. The Beer Mile Worlds are on tap to begin at approximately 8:30 p.m.
Admission is free and open to the public and all races will be held in the parking lot of the Austin American Statesman on South Congress, just on the south side of the Congress Avenue Bridge. There will be eight separate beer miles: three preliminary heats (first one begins at 6:10), followed by a Relay World Championship at 7:25 and a couple of other prelims. (The early heats are open to anyone, but are sold out.)
The main events are the women’s World Championship (8:30) and then the men’s World’s Champ at 8:55. If you can’t get out to the Statesman parking lot, Flotrack will stream it live on its website with all the pomp and circumstance of a true World Championship.
Last year’s inaugural Worlds were held at the COTA track and it was a first-class event with incredible racing in front of huge, enthusiastic crowds. Expect more of the same tomorrow night.
The rules are pretty simple: Each runner must run four laps and drink four beers (cans or bottles) in the transition zone (10 meters before the start/finish line) on each lap. The mile begins with the drinking of the first beer in the last meter before the transition zone.
Each beer must be at least 12 ounces (minimum of five percent alcohol) and the beer cans can’t be tampered with in any way such as shotgunning. If any of the runners can’t hold their beer down and vomit before the mile is done, they have to run a penalty lap at the end of their race.
This is pretty serious business as there is substantial prize money involved ($2500 for the win with $5000 in bonuses for breaking the existing world worlds). Those records as they stand right now are 4:54.38 by Corey Gallagher of Manitoba who won last year’s Championship and 6:17.8 by Beth Herndon who also won last year.
Confirmed men’s entrants include World Champ and world-record holder Corey Gallagher, Lewis Kent who is ranked second all time, Jim Finlayson of Vancouver, BC (5:09) as well as Phil Parrot-Migas (5:07) and Michael Cunningham (5:18).
Herndon, the defending women’s champion, isn’t listed among the women’s entrants, but the number two and three women—Andrea Fisher and Chris Kimbrough– are returning and should have substantial local support.
Fisher was second to Herndon last year and her time of 6:28.2 is still the second fastest women’s beer mile ever recorded. Fish—the director of aquatics at the Town Lake YMCA—is a professional triathlete who is familiar to most Austin runners and triathletes. The 43-year-old mom of two girls proved last year she could guzzle beer with the best in the world. And since then, she has been training specifically for tomorrow night.
So has Chris Kimbrough who held the beer mile world record of 6:28 until Herndon beat it. Kimbrough, the 46-year-old mother of six, had long been one of the top runners in Austin (and a pretty good beer drinker) until her move this past summer to the beer drinking capital of Portland. That’s not why she and her family moved there (her husband Doug took a new job), but Kimbrough has been in town for a few days, getting ready for the Beer Mile and is currently ranked number three in the world.
She and Fisher will face Kristy Jahn (6:48), Elizabeth Lasester (7:07) and Liana Girard (7:23), plus two other local women: Juliane Masciana (6:48) and world-class steepler Mary Goldkamp.
Racing gets underway at 6:10. Be there. It shouldn’t be too cold or wet. No ticket is needed. There will be plenty of food and beer available for purchase. And if you drink more than a couple of beers, bring a designated driver.