UPDATE: On Wednesday morning, Flocasts announced that the Beer Mile World Championships will be held at the Circuit of the Americas. The previous venue was Yellow Jacket Stadium.
There are beer runs to the corner store and there are pub crawls hitting the best bars in town. There's also the Beer Mile, an elite sport that's in a class (or is it glass?) of its own.
On Wednesday, December 3, Austin will host the first ever Beer Mile World Championships, an event that combines pure athleticism with beer-drinking prowess. World-class athletes will race to see who can run a mile the fastest, while downing a 12-ounce beer before each lap. This hops-heavy sport dates back to the 1980s and has attracted the likes of marathon addicts, Olympic athletes and even Lance Armstrong (who failed to complete the race).
Hosted by Austin-based sports media company Flocasts, the event is also sponsored by one of Austin's favorite craft breweries. East Austin's Hops & Grain has even created a special beer specifically designed for chugging and running.
Hops & Grain's blonde ale has a crisp, hoppy flavor and low carbonation to prevent excessive burping. The Kolsch-style brew, at 5.1% ABV, is "as good as it's gonna get for a Beer Mile beer," says brewery founder Josh Hare. Three other Hops & Grain beers will be available for contestants to choose from during the race. (All beers must be at least 5% ABV according to official rules.)
Some of the world's best runners, including Austinite Chris Kimbrough, will compete in the inaugural championships. Last month, the 45-year-old mother of six made a splash when she broke the Beer Mile women's record on her first attempt. She beat the record, which had remained untouched for 17 years, by 14 seconds.
During the women's elite race on Wednesday, the record holder hopes to beat Olympic athletes, as well as her own record time of 6:28. "If I actually won it, I think it would be big for Austin," Kimbrough said in a video interview.
For some of this week's competitors, the Beer Mile means rigorous training and serious research. Hardcore Beer Mile enthusiast James Nielsen studied the esophagus and optimal chugging temperatures before he broke the men's record and five-minute barrier earlier this year. Other noteworthy contestants include Olympic track athlete Nick Symmonds, prolific marathoner Corey Gallagher and professional runner Katie Mackey.
The Beer Mile World Championships will be held on Wednesday, December 3 at Circuit of the Americas. The event will include men's and women's elite categories, as well as an open heat for locals with a runner's heart and drinker's gut. You can attend the event for free or watch a live broadcast beginning at 6 pm.