FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships 2014

The Fastest Beer Miler You've Never Heard Of

The Fastest Beer Miler You've Never Heard Of

Dec 2, 2014 by Meg Bellino
The Fastest Beer Miler You've Never Heard Of

On April 28, 2014, James Nielsen posted a video of himself running 4:57 for the beer mile, a new world record for the underground running phenomenon. To the one million plus people who have viewed the record on YouTube, Nielsen became a super human. The previous record had stood for seven years, and Nielsen smashed it by 12 seconds. However, skilled beer milers around the world wondered about the authenticity of the record, especially Canadian Corey Gallagher.

“If he was everything he said he was, he’d be here,” said Gallagher, one day before the Flo Beer Mile World Championships. “Why do you train a full year, just to go out with your wife to a track and be like ‘Oh I ran this! Now I’m done."

Gallagher resides in Winnipeg, Manitoba and began running in second grade. At age 27, he has established himself as one of the premier runners in Manitoba. He refers to himself as “the biggest fish in the little pond” in Canada, but on the starting line tomorrow, Gallagher will be the most prepared competitor in the stacked beer mile field that includes eight of the top 10 all-time marks.

Gallagher ran his first beer mile at the age of 18 (legal in Canada) in 12:58. He was defeated by women’s beer mile competitor Kirsty Smith, a defeat he calls embarrassing. “She beat me in the drinking, not the running,” Gallagher said. “That was the worst part!”

Did he ever imagine that he would rise up in the beer mile ranks to break fellow Canadian Jim Finlayson’s former world record of 5:09? Not until recently.

“I was going for the Manitoba record and I finally broke it, 6:15 or something,” Gallagher said. “Everyone was like ‘Oh my gosh. You’re so fast. This is insane." At the time (2007), Finlayson had just run 5:09, a time Gallagher thought was “physically impossible.”

Determined to get over the sick feeling that comes with the beer mile, Gallagher made adjustments in his training and techniques to conquer the beer mile, clocking his #2 all-time world mark of 5:01 in 2014. He works as a mail carrier and has a second job at a running store. He attributes most of his training to the 6-8 miles of walking he does while delivering mail, and running to-and-from work at the running store.

Is Gallagher a household name in the running world like Olympian and fellow beer mile competitor Nick Symmonds? Not yet. But is he the most prepared beer mile athlete? “I would say without a doubt yes,” he said.

“When I’m out there delivering mail, I have nothing but four hours of walking to think. And I don’t use headsets. All I do is think of little things that I can do.”

Drink four beers and run four laps - what is there to think about? Plenty, according to Gallagher.

Most beer milers prefer using cans, but Gallagher will be sticking with his preferred bottles. “A lot of these guys are really frickon fast. But they can’t chug,” Gallagher said. “I am a chugger. I can’t run that fast, so I have to capitalize on the drinking.”

According to Gallagher, a bottle is faster to consume, as long as you can take it in one gulp. If not, you risk the beverage turning to foam. Can-consumption is easier, as you can take breaks between sips.

Another major factor for Gallagher’s prep heading into Austin, was his choice of brew. He’ll be using Budweiser Platinum, a beer that contains six percent alcohol by volume. With most competitors sticking close to the five percent minimum, Gallagher isn’t worried about the alcohol contents.

“Less carbonation,” he said with a smile. “I’ve done lots of research into this. I have too much free time. Let’s just say that!”

With a world championship on the line, Gallagher’s strategy is simple. “Drink fast and get out there,” he said. “That’s all I can do!”