Following months of preparation, on Wednesday Katie Mackey competed in the first ever Beer Mile World Championships. She explains the lessons she learned from the bottom of her glass.

“It is the morning after the night before – a night where I competed in the inaugural Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships in Austin, Texas. So what are my thoughts? Well, the event more than matched my expectations.

“I thought the late venue switch to the Circuit of the Americas, which stages the annual US F1 Grand Prix, worked extremely well. The exchange zones were all clearly marked and competing under the shadow of the large grandstand enhanced the atmosphere.

“Unfortunately, from a personal perspective, I did not secure the win I was chasing. I was disappointed to finish seventh in 6:55 – even if it was more than a half-a-minute faster than my one and only previous beer mile experience.

“I was satisfied with my average 400m split of 74.5 seconds, which was my goal. My first two beer chugs of 14 and 21 seconds, respectively, were not bad, but my third and fourth beers cost me a combined total of 77 seconds. Such statistics make it obvious as to where I lost the time. My lack of beer chugging experience let me down. 

“Yet the real surprise for me was Chris [Kimbrough, former women's WR holder] finished only fourth in a race surprisingly won by Elizabeth Herndon, who slashed 11 seconds from the previous world record mark in 6:17 – a time I did not believe was possible. Elizabeth flew under the radar coming into the race, but it was pretty cool to have featured in a race in a world record time because that is a first for me.” 

Beer Mile Press ()

Warming up the night before

“If I ran the race again I would definitely think more carefully about my choice of beer. I opted by the Hops & Grain – a special one-time brew prepared specifically for the beer mile. I heard the beer had a lower carbonation and while I liked its taste, it might not have been the best chugging beer for me. Race day was the first time I had ever tasted the beer.

“I also had a choice of drinking out of a can or from a bottle. I opted for the can because that is what I prepared for and what I consumed from in my previous beer mile, but I wonder if the bottle would have allowed for greater liquid flow and saved me vital seconds.

“Another area I feel I could have improved upon was making better use of the 10m exchange zones. I noticed some competitors were walking down the zone while drinking whereas I was standing stationary, which added crucial metres to my run.” 



Flotrack's Beer Mile World Championships in 3 words? Foamy. Fun! Finished...phew! Had the pleasure of meeting some tough ladies, participating in my favorite race with a whole new twist- and witnessing a world record by winner Beth Herdon! 6:17 is insane! #beermile

A photo posted by Katie Mackey (@mackeykb) on



“Yet aside from my personal disappointment, I have absolutely no regrets competing in the race. It was a unique event bringing together athletes like myself from an elite background up against athletes like Chris Kimbrough – a local masters athlete from Austin. I don’t know if I’ll ever get to compete in a field quite like that again and it added a unique flavour to the event.

“The energy of the meet was really great and the media attention was overwhelming. The day before the event I was interviewed by ESPN. Meanwhile, CNN and Runner’s World interviewed me during my warm-up – the first time that has ever happened to me! 

“I really love running the mile and the curve ball of drinking beer thrown into the mix made it a unique event. Competing in Austin is not a decision that I regret for one minute. Flotrack did a great job organising the event.

“It was really fun. Would I come back and return next year? We’ll see. Each year is different for me, but if it works into my schedule, why not? Then I could put into practise what I learned this year.”


You can watch all the race videos here.


Header: Team USA middle distance runner Katie Mackey sprints down the straight away at the inaugural Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships in Austin (Josh Baker for Flocasts)

Flotrack Beer Mile World Championship Elite competitors (from left to right) Chris Kimbrough, Katie Mackey, Kirsty Jahn (Smith), Julianne Masciana, Andrea Fisher and Kristen Findlay pose for photos during media day at Hops & Grain Brewery in Austin (Josh Baker for Flocasts)