Among the World’s Best in Beer


Michael Cunningham (Penn ’12) came 7 seconds within a world title last night.

What world title could I be talking about?

How about the World Beer Mile Championships?  Flotrack hosted what they called the “Flo Beer Mile World Championships” in Austin, Texas last night.  The event featured a number of different tiers of athletes, including professionals (Nick Symmonds), recent college graduates, Masters runners, corporate runners, and other regional record holders for this unique event.

The beer mile is defined as the following by the official beer mile website,

Drink a beer, run a quarter mile.
Drink a beer, run a quarter mile.
Drink a beer, run a quarter mile.
Drink a beer, run a quarter mile.

Four beers, one mile.”

Not everyone can handle a beer mile.  Just ask Lance Armstrong – he attempted to complete a beer mile earlier this month but dropped out after only one lap.

The world record in this event is 4:57.1 for the men and 6:17.76 for the women.

Going into the event, Flotrack had dubbed Cunningham, a middle distance Heps scorer and among the all-time top-10 at Penn in the 1,500m, as their sleeper pick of the men’s elite entries due to Cunningham running sub-4 in the road mile last year and previously running a 5:18 beer mile time back in June (with a reported final split of 54 seconds).

Early on in the race, Cunningham proved that he was a great choice for the sleeper pick.  He took the lead after the second chugging exchange at 400m (he started after the first chug in 8th place), and led the pack through the 800m (2:29) and 1200m splits.  But going into the final lap, he was passed by Canada’s Corey Gallagher as Gallagher had a faster beer chugging split than Cunningham (7.29 to 10.20 seconds).  Gallagher pulled away from Cunningham and won the world title in 5:00.23 (a new personal best).  Cunningham held on for second place in a new personal best of 5:07.95.  Cunningham admitted that it was difficult to chug down the beer as, what he shared with Flotrack in a post-race interview, “the body wants oxygen, not beer”.

Full Flo Beer Mile World Championships results can be found here, while a race video is also available.

photo from Flotrack’s twitter

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