FloTrack Beer Mile World Championships 2014

Gallagher, Herndon Earn First World Beer Mile Titles

Gallagher, Herndon Earn First World Beer Mile Titles

Dec 3, 2014 by Taylor Dutch
Gallagher, Herndon Earn First World Beer Mile Titles

Under the lights of Circuit of the Americas, history was made as the first ever Beer Mile World Championships brought together runners from around the world to crown the first official world champion in the event. Both Corey Gallagher and Elizabeth Herndon each took home beer mile titles and earned $2,500 and $5,000 checks, respectively, for their victories on the formula one race track Wednesday night in Austin.

The men’s race came down to a furious kick as Canadian beer mile phenom Corey Gallagher came within three seconds of breaking the world record set by James Nielson. His winning time was 5:00.23, but Michael Cunningham made it a tight race by taking the lead after three beers. Drinking Budweiser Platinum, Gallagher caught up to Cunningham by the bell lap and made a hard surge for a 1:01.53 final lap with five seconds spent chugging. Although his final lap was the fastest, Gallagher’s time was just three seconds off of James Nielson’s 4:57 world record, but it was a personal best for the mailman by one second.

“I’d like to say this is the world record! James Nielson is a cheat and a fake! If he was legit, he’d be here and he isn’t! This should be the world record!” said Gallagher after his win.

Cunningham, a Brewster, NY native, also had an incredible runner-up showing with a finishing time of 5:07.95, a personal best by 11 seconds for the grad student. After taking the lead after beer No. 2, Cunningham blazed through his second lap in 1:08, chugged for 10 seconds, ran his third lap in 1:10, chugged for a blazing four seconds and closed for the final lap in 1:07. He was followed close behind by third-place finisher and former world record-holder Jim Finlayson, who smashed the master’s world record with a time of 5:21.44. Finlayson’s former world record of 5:09 was run in 2007. After battling Multiple Sclerosis for the past 10 years, Finlayson was just informed in October that there are no signs of the disease in his body. He also just finished second in his age group at the Canadian Cross Country Championships on Nov. 29 to complete an incredibly tough double in a few days time.

“I was really really happy with that, it’s been a long time since I’ve done one, you know, I didn’t know what to expect coming in, it’s been awhile since I’ve done one so it was good to get out there,“ said Finlayson.

Olympian and world silver medalist Nick Symmonds was 22 seconds away from running his personal best after finishing in a final time of 5:41.71 for seventh-place overall.

In the women’s race, Elizabeth Herndon had a stellar performance to shatter the women’s world record by 11 seconds with a time of 6:17.76. The professor from Fort Wayne, IN, went back and forth with Andrea Fisher for the lead spot throughout the race, but pulled away during lap three. Herndon closed in 21 seconds for the final beer and a 1:11 last lap to take the women’s title by 11 seconds over Fisher and break the tape for the first ever women’s beer mile world championship.

“This was actually a lot less painful than other beer miles I’ve done in the past [laughs],“ said Herndon after her win, which was 31 seconds faster than her personal best.

Fisher’s runner-up performance was the first completed beer mile for the triathlete. Her time of 6:28 tied the previous women’s world record set by Chris Kimbrough weeks earlier. The 42-year-old, who was also a 18-time All American for the University of Texas, also broke the women’s masters record in the event.

“Former swimmers can drink and I don’t know, I seem to be able to run too, so maybe I have some expectations for next year, we’ll see!” said Fisher.

Kara Dewalt crossed the line close behind Fisher for a third-place finish in a time of 6:35.70, which was nearly a full minute faster than her previous personal best. The steeplechaser who lives in Oakland, Calif. had only completed one beer mile prior to racing in the championships, and plans to tackle more in the future.

“It was so much fun and such a great atmosphere you couldn’t help but just come out and give it your all,” said Dewalt.

Former world record-holder Chris Kimbrough completed the race in 6:37 for fourth-place, just a few seconds slower than her personal best and record-breaking run of 6:28 that was watched around the world. Kimbrough switched off with Herndon and Fisher for the lead, but was unable to keep it while struggling through the beer chugging portion of the race.

U.S. bronze medalist Katie Mackey crossed the line in 6:55 for seventh-place overall and a huge improvement from her unofficial personal best of 7:30.

Click here for full results from both the men’s and women’s race.