14 Jan Beer Mile World Championship: A Timeline
After the 2012 Olympics, vocal American Olympian Nick Symmonds spoke out in the press, on social media and through other channels about making a fun attempt on the beer mile world record. Many of us only knew of the event as a late-night, party-induced spirit of idiocy among track teammates and running geeks. Most of us didn’t realize that it was discussed anywhere outside of our own locker rooms. Personally, I only knew it as an often talked about, rarely conducted event within “the Bare Ass Relays” following our annual 4-hour bus trip home from the Utica Boilermaker 15k Championship in July.
Symmonds’ attempt came up a bit short of the record, but for most, it was the first time we’d ever seen video evidence of the event at all, let alone video evidence of an Olympian running it.
In April 2014, a man going by the name of James “The Beast” Neilsen made a solo attempt on the world record in Marin County, CA. He emptied 4 cans of Budweiser and became the first man to ever break 5:00 for the Beer Mile. His attempt was captured on video by his wife and certified by beermile.com.
In a matter of weeks, the video Neilsen posted on YouTube had gone viral, at least among the track-geek crowd, to the tune of 1.3M views.
In June 2014, Flotrack, the passionate, geeky and often times only outlet for video track coverage in America announced that it would host the first-ever Beer Mile World Championship in Austin, TX, later in the year.
Between June and December 3, when the event was contested:
- Nielsen’s track club attempted to organize a similar event in California with little success.
- Flotrack’s announcement was picked up by the mainstream print media including the NY Times, Wall St. Journal, Washington Post, Runners World and coverage of the event permeated the track sites online.
- Smack-talk and challenges to Nielsen’s record legitimacy began springing up.
- Nielsen chose not to compete against the field in the Flotrack event for largely unreported reasons.
- The venue for the Flotrack event was changed at the last minute after it was reported neighbors of the track lodged complaints about possible noise and community disruption.
- Dec. 3rd, the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championship was run at the Circuit of the Americas Formula One racetrack outside of Austin, TX with several hundred fans in attendance. Both the women’s and masters men’s world records were broken and the men’s elite world record was given a good scare.
- With the exception of the major big city marathons, the event was covered as widely as any track & field event in America in 2014.