Hansen Has A New World Lead for the Beer Mile!


Australians are known for their love of beer and sport but one may ask how is drinking and running a healthy mix and how on earth can you incorporate beer into a competition? James Hansen from Tasmania recently broke the Beer Mile world record in a slick time of 4:56.25. James also known as “Jimbo” is also one of Australia’s best 1500m runners and completely reversed the generic theory that drinking and competing is a merciless combination.
Hansen caught up with The Leader of the Track running blogger Nick Walker for an interview about how he broke the previous world record of 4:57.7 held by James Nielsen from Novato, California and has proven that sport and running can mix if you know how to drink in moderation, stick to the one drink and still run fast all just short of 5 minutes.

How long have you been doing beer miles?

I first started doing the Beermile at the annual Easter running camp when I was 18 (legal age in Australia). The camp was used to celebrate and reflect the end of track season. We used to participate in many drinking and running challenges one of these being the Beermile. At the time my training partner Josh Harris was the world record holder and the sport was just starting to gain some popularity.

What’s your fastest no beer sculling flat mile?

The fastest flat mile I have run is 4:02. My fastest metric mile (1500), which is what we run here in Australia, is 3.41.85.

Did you do anything specific to train for this beer mile?

I had just finished the domestic track season after competing in the Australian championships for the 1500m on Sunday before so I was in fairly good running shape. However, on the drinking side there is a fine line between keeping at race weight and drinking lots of beers so in order to overcome this barrier I continually did coke zero skulls throughout the season in order to ensure I wasn’t never to far away from my full sculling potential. I still feel I have al lot of work to do but myself and my training partners from Tasmania have been experimenting with sculling techniques and hopefully that should speed my beer total time up by around 10 seconds.

What was your beer of choice for your world record breaking mile and why?

I used Coopers 62, this is because the official beer mile rules state that beer volume should be no less then 355ml and at least 5% alcohol by volume. Coopers 62, exactly meets this criteria making it the perfect drink for the Beermile. I feel more comfortable drinking out of bottles and also thought that it would reduce some of the scrutiny behind whether the world record was official. However, from some of the comments I can see that it has just added to it.

Viewers have said you you threw your third beer on the ground too early and didn’t fully finish it. What’s your reaction to those criticisms?

After watching the video myself I understand where the critics are coming from. There was a little bit of foam left over in the third beer. When you are sculling at that speed you are using your instincts to tell you when you’ve finished the beer, once the liquid has stopped coming down your throat that’s when you throw the beer. I guarantee there was no liquid left over and it was an official performance. However I do think there needs to be a way to validate a performance as the sport grows. I think for the future of the sport there will have to be a system in place where the bottles are verified by tipping all the left over beer into a measuring cup. There would have to be a designated amount and if there were anymore then that amount the performance would be deemed unofficial. In 2013 I ran the unofficial beer mile world record of 4.54.3, but I spilt too much whilst I was sculling one of my drinks and I didn’t want to claim the world record until I knew it was legitimate. I feel confident and happy about the legitimacy of the world record on Thursday, which makes it very easy for me to not be concerned with some of the negative feedback. This is a photo of beer three and i’ll let you guys decide whether you think it’s legitimate or not.

Walk me through the mile: Highs and lows? Did you ever doubt during it that you wouldn’t break the record? What were your thoughts during the last lap?

After just finishing the domestic track season competing in the national 1500m final. I knew that I was in the running form that would allow me to break the world record. The questions with a Beermile are always how your stomach will respond to taking in 1.4 liters and running 1609 meters. It’s really pushing the limits of you’re body in two different ways and quite often the outcome ends up in the participant spewing resulting in them having to do a penalty lap, which means game over i’ve had this happen to myself and actually hold the penalty lap world record at 7.04. The Race started out really well one of the major things you have to focus on is feeling very relaxed during the running as you have to be able to hold your breath for around 10-13 seconds at each beer transition to ensure that you get all of the liquid down in one breath. I had too deal with some slight stomach cramps during lap 3 however the adrenaline of knowing that I was on track to break the world record got me over the line for the last beer and helped me record a 59.7 second last lap, which is the pace required to run a 4 minute mile on its own without consuming 4 beers. I’ve also been speaking with former world record holder James Nielsen over the last couple days and we would like to announce that there will be a beer mile world classic on the 22nd of August in San Francisco. It will be a country vs country competition where the past four world record holders have confirmed that they will be participating. Josh Harris and myself will be co-captains of the Australia team and are looking forward to bringing the first title to Australia. I think that it’s possible that I can run sub 4.50 in San Francisco and looking forward to the opportunity to compete against the worlds best. Entries are opening next week and we are looking forward to having heaps of people participating and coming to watch.

Congrats Hansen, Best of Luck at World Champs. 

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