On Saturday, I’ll be at the Beer Mile World Classic. This week I’ll introduce you to some of the elite competitors at the event. Today, meet Brian Anderson.
What are your beer mile qualifications?
I was 4th at Flotrack’s inaugural Beer Mile World Championships in December. Additionally, I have run a 5:05 beer mile.
What’s your proudest accomplishment to date?
Receiving the Elite 89 award at the 2014 Division III Cross Country National Championships. The Elite 89 award is presented to the student-athlete with the highest cumulative grade-point average participating at the finals site for each of the NCAA’s 89 National Championships. It was really just a culmination of all the work I had put in at University of St. Thomas (MN) both in running and in the classroom. I was a senior with 150 credits under my belt, and to be able to be running at the National meet with my teammates while maintainng a 4.0 GPA was pretty special for me. [Editor’s note: The beer mile – it’s also for really smart people!]
How have you been training for this upcoming race?
I spent April, May, and June just putting in miles and getting stronger. On top of my running, I was doing yoga 3-4 times a week to help with my core, flexibility, and just being able to control my breathing. During this time, I would practice my chugging after the run while I was doing strides a few times a week. In July, I started to hop into some road races and do more speed work. The past few weeks is when I have been hitting the track for more mile-specific work. My college assistant coach and fellow runner for Run n Fun (a popular running store in MN) has given me two track workouts per week to do the last 4 weeks, and it has really helped me out.
What is your race strategy?
My race strategy is to be aggressive. I don’t want to sit back and wait for things to happen – I want to make things happen. I know I can chug like a savage, so I just have to really use that to my advantage. Of the top 5 runners, I am the slowest in the mile without beer, so I can never get comfortable or settle in. I constantly need to be running with a sense of urgency.
Are you going to win?
Honestly, I am going to need some things to fall into place for me, but I haven’t been training to get 2nd or 3rd, so I do believe that I can win. I will need a near perfect day though.
What is your advice to others training for the beer mile?
It sounds pretty simple, but get in really great aerobic shape. You absolutely need to be able to control your breathing throughout the entire race, and the best way to do that is build up your aerobic capacity. If you look at a lot of the best beer milers in the world (like James Nielson, Corey Gallagher, and Josh Harris), they all have backgrounds in the half-marathon or full marathon.
In the last few years, the beer mile has risen from obscure sport to something that has been in the Wall Street Journal and on ESPN. What is your prediction for the future of the beer mile?
I think we are seeing the height of the international coverage right now. It’s just pretty difficult to put on big beer mile events, especially with funding and licensing constraints. However, I guess you just really never know. I know Flotrack’s event got a lot of attention, and they plan to host more beer miles moving forward, so anything is possible. It certainly helps having such a big time media outlet back the sport so heavily. I also have to commend Nick MacFalls, John Markell, and James Nielson. They have been doing an unbelievable job of promoting this event and making it a really fun thing. If it wasn’t for James’ controversial first ever sub 5, none of this attention would even be happening, so huge props to him.
What’s your go-to beer when you’re not drinking while running a mile?
I’m a big Corona guy. I love it.