Andrea Fisher: Top seed in this year’s Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships

Andrea Fisher chugs a beer on her way to a second place finish at last year's Flotrack Beer Mile World Championship. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Andrea Fisher chugs a beer on her way to a second place finish at last year’s Flotrack Beer Mile World Championship. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Chug, run, repeat – four times.

That’s the idea behind the beer mile, and the sport’s best will convene in Austin on Dec. 1 for the 2015 Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships.

Among the competitors? Local triathlete and former University of Texas swimmer Andrea Fisher, the top-seeded athlete in the women’s elite field. She placed second at last year’s championships, held at Circuit of the Americas, with a time of 6:28 – the second fastest women’s beer mile in history and a master’s world record.

And step back, beer milers, because unlike last year, she’s actually training this time.

Fisher just returned from the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona, where she placed eighth in her age group. Now she’s focusing on running short distances and hitting the occasional happy hour to hone her beer drinking skills. She hopes to run a 5:20 pace on race day.

“It’s pretty funny and comical and flattering at the same time,” she says of her number-one seeding.

Chris Kimbrough, a top master’s runner (and mother of six), is also returning for the event, although she no longer lives in Austin.

“If Chris learns how to drink better, we’ve got a race,” Fisher says. “She’s got the leg speed and I’ve got the drinking.”

Competitors at the Beer Mile World Championship make four loops on a track, chugging a 12-ounce beer each time. Photo by Julia Robinson for Austin American-Statesman

Competitors at the Beer Mile World Championship make four loops on a track, chugging a 12-ounce beer each time. Photo by Julia Robinson for Austin American-Statesman

Long held unofficially, under cover of darkness at school tracks around the world, the sport went official last year, with professional meet standards, automatic timing, referees and a $2,500 cash prize for winners. More than 200 runners came from as far away as Sweden and Australia to compete, and a Canadian postal carrier sloshed away with the men’s elite trophy. (He clocked a finishing time of 5:00.23.)

Expect the same this year, when the race moves downtown, to the east parking lot of the Austin American-Statesman.

“It’s crazy,” says Mark Floreani, co-founder of FloSports, an Austin-based company that live streams running, softball, wrestling, gymnastics and other fitness events, and creates video programming and stages competitions. “There’s a lot more people doing it now and trying for the record.”

For the competition, runners must down a full 12-ounce can of 5 percent alcohol content beer. This year’s sponsor is Resignation Brewery, which will pour its KCCO line of beers. Excessive spillage means disqualification; so does vomiting.

Vomiting means automatic disqualification from the Beer Mile World Championships. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Vomiting means automatic disqualification from the Beer Mile World Championships. Photo by Chris LeBlanc

Elites can bring their own beer, and brand choice is critical because foaminess plays a key role. So does temperature. Too cold and it’s tough to chug, too warm and it gets frothy and unpleasant. Experienced beer milers will tell you that you don’t feel drunk until the running part’s over.

Divisions at the 2015 FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships include  open heats, a sub-elite heat where runners must submit their times and qualify to participate, a corporate relay, and elite heats for both men and women to crown the beer mile’s 2015 World Champions. Last year’s winner, Corey Gallager, along with U.S. Olympians and dedicated beer milers from around the world, are planning to compete.

Admission is free to the public. Expect a beer garden, food trucks and music.

Race registration is $35. To sign up, go here.


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