[UPDATED December 3 @ 8:00 AM]
Late yesterday Flotrack announced the inaugural beer mile is moving to the Circuit of the Americas track, away from the original location in east Austin. We’ll provide more details as they become available.
No changes have been made to the schedule. The first Open heat goes off at 5:35 PM, followed by the Kill Cliff 4x400m industry/Austin tech relay at 6:40 PM. The women’s elite race will begin at 7:25 PM followed by the men’s elite race at 7:45 PM.
Flotrack is offering a prize purse of $2500 for the overall winners and a $2500 bonus if the men’s or women’s unofficial world record is broken. The men’s mile record is 4:57.0 while the women’s record stands at 6:28.55.
Don’t know how many world championships of anything—if any–have ever been held here in the ATX, but somehow it seems especially fitting that the very first Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships are going to be staged right here on Wednesday night. Beer milers from all over North America are headed to Austin where they will compete at Yellow Jacket Stadium (3100 Hargrave Street), beginning at 5:30 pm.
Admission is free and there will be four separate beer miles: an Open race, followed by a corporate relay mile and then separate races for the top men and women beer milers in the land. If you can’t get out there, Flotrack will stream it live on its website.
The rules are pretty simple: Each runner must run four laps and drink four beers 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 pretty serious business thought as there’s 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 4:57 by James Nielsen of San Francisco and 6:28.55 by our own Chris Kimbrough. Nielsen hasn’t confirmed whether he’s running, but Kimbrough sure is.
Confirmed men’s entrants include Corey Gallagher of Manitoba (5:01.57), Jim Finlayson of Vancouver, BC (5:09), Nick Symmonds of Eugene (5:19) and occasional Austinite Scott MacPherson who hasn’t recorded an official beer mile yet, but has the speed and beer drinking ability to be a major factor. Symmonds is the wild card. He is—by far—the fastest miler (4:00.21) in the field. He has made two US Olymnpic teams in the 800 meters (PR of 1:42.95) and won the silver medal in the 800 at the ’13 World Champs in Moscow.
But drinking a beer after every lap has a way of leveling the playing field. Still, Symmonds and MacPherson are the class of the field, based on their track background. ScottyMac is certainly the local favorite in the men’s race and has been posting videos of the beer mile training he’s been doing in Missouri.
Kimbrough has also been training for the World Champs since she posted her 6:28 on her first beer mile about a month ago on the same day she had already done a long run. The 45-year-old mother of six from the Shady Hollow neighborhood in southwest Austin is one of the top runners in town–and a good (and fast) beer drinker too.
She’ll face at least seven other women, including the former world record holder Seanna Robinson of Ontario who ran 6:42 when she set the world record and Kirsty Smith, a former Villanova runner, who is now a triathlete. Smith, who is from Vancouver, has run a 6:43 beer mile.
But the key runner in the women’s field is Katie Mackey of Fort Collins, Colorado. Mackey has a high-end background as a cross-country and track All American at the University of Washington who has a mile best (without beer) of 4:36. She’s only run one beer mile and that was a 7:36, but she can be reasonably expected to run much faster on Wednesday night.
“When I saw the video of Chris running 6:28,” said Mackey, “I was just in awe that somebody can run a beer mile that fast. Plus, it’s so awesome that she’s a masters runner and a mother, I’m really looking forward to meeting her and running against her.”
The stadium opens at 5 p.m. Be there. And if you drink more than a couple of beers (there will be plenty available for spectators), bring a designated driver.