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Fun Running: The 1st Sub-5 Minute Beer Mile

For most of us, running four fast laps around a track is quite an accomplishment. For James Nielsen, his goal was a little more complicated. On April 27th, the Novato California native became the first person to break 5 minutes in the beer mile.

What exactly is a beer mile? Prior to each lap of the track, participants must drink the entire contents of a 12 ounce can of beer. In short- four laps, four beers. The clock runs the entire time the participant drinks and runs. The beer must be at least 5.0% alcohol. And perhaps the toughest rule- the beer must be kept down. No vomiting allowed.

Nielsen’s quest was both one of passion and science. He sought out answers to questions such as ideal beer temperature and carbonation. His attention to details seemed to make a difference. His time of 4:57.1 shattered the previous beer mile record of 5:02.5.

As for the women’s beer mile record, it was set in 1997 by Seanna Robinson of Ontario in a time of 6:42. Elizabeth Herndon on State College, PA attempted the world record in 2012 but came up short at 6:48. Who will be the next woman to take on the beer mile?

Watch Nielson’s mile and his explanation of the detail that went into it below.

Have you ever run a beer mile? Would you ever attempt one? Let us know by tweeting @womensrunning.