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Beer Mile World Record Progression

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Beer Mile World Record Progression

Beer mile records have fallen repetitively over the past few years as the sport has emerged into the mainstream from its underground, sub-culture past. In 2014, the 5-minute barrier was broken for the first time. Now, there are 11 men who have run sub-5 and the world record stands at 4:33, set in October 2017.

It has now been nearly 2 years since Corey Bellemore lowered the world record to 4:33. Will we see this mark taken down in 2019? Read on to learn the history behind the beer mile world record progression, along with videos and fun facts along the way.

Jump to the beer mile world record progression table

2005 - 2012: Jim Finlayson — the OG

Jim Finlayson, a.k.a Gastic Ghost, has been on top of the beer mile world since before you were born. His results on date back to 2005, but he was certainly crushing beer miles years before that. 

Finlayson (Canada) was an accomplished D1 runner while attending the University of Michigan and has continued to compete at a high-level since. He is a two-time Canadian marathon champion, and in 2018 he set the 45-49 age group Canadian marathon record with a time of 2:25:31 at the Goodlife Fitness Victoria Marathon. 

Jim has been one of the most consistent beer milers of all time, running just as fast (and faster) in his 40s as he did in his 20s. In 2005, he ran a 5:13 beer mile. In 2007, he lowered that to 5:09. Over the next decade he continued to run in the 5:0Xs countless times, achieving a personal best 5:01 in 2015. 

And not only is Jim a running and beer mile beast, he also holds the beer 2 mile world record with a time of 11:39.

Jim Finlayson beer mile

2012: Josh Harris sets record down under

Josh Harris, a marathon specialist who represented Australia at the 2017 World Marathon Championships in London, has been frequently atop the leaderboard for nearly a decade. In 2012, he got oh-so-close to being the first sub-5 beer miler when he ran 5:02.5 to claim the world record. He ran multiple subsequent beer miles just above 5 minutes, but wouldn't break the 5-minute barrier until 2015. 

Josh Harris Beer Mile World Record

2014: The first sub-5 beer mile by James Nielsen

In 2014, the beer mile had its first major mainstream exposure when the video of the first sub-5 beer mile went viral. American James "The Beast" Nielsen's 4:57 beer mile was similar to Roger Bannister's sub-4 mile; It broke through a mythical barrier what was previously perceived to be the human limit for running and chugging. Though Nielsen never topped the leaderboard at any beer mile world championship event, his sub-5 beer mile inspired the next wave of beer milers.

James Nielsen First Sub-5 Beer Mile

2015: The Australians take the world record back

Thanks to James Nielsen's viral exposure to the beer mile, we saw a wave of people give the beer mile a go in 2015 to see if they could join the sub-5 ranks. In early 2015, it was none other than Josh Harris and a fellow Aussie taking the world record back to Australia.

First, professional 1500m runner James Hansen ran a 4:56.25 to shave a second off the record. A couple of months later, Josh Harris lowered it to 4:56.2 to re-claim the world record (Harris has gone on to run 4:51 since then). However, Harris held the world record for only a few hours as Canadian Lewis Kent threw down a 4:55 beer mile on the same day in a different time zone.

2015: Lewis Kent dominates 2015 and brings the beer mile to the mainstream

On the same day as Australian Josh Harris's 4:56 beer mile run (Aug. 8, 2015), Canadian Lewis Kent ran 4:55 to claim the world record. A couple of months later in October, fellow Canadian Corey Gallagher ran 4:54 to edge past Kent's 4:55. That record was short lived, however, with Kent taking the record back in November with a 4:51. Kent went on to break his own world record again in December with a 4:47 mark. He won both the Beer Mile World Classic and the Flotrack Beer Mile World Championships in 2015.  

Lewis "Hollywood" Kent was the first beer miler to break into the mainstream, appearing on The Ellen DeGeneres show. He recently announced a new beer mile book that details his rise to beer mile stardom, including multiple beer mile world titles, beer mile world records, and appearances on ESPN, BuzzfeedEllen, and dozens of other major outlets.

Lewis Kent Beer Mile World Record

2016 - Present: Corey Bellemore breaks through barriers many thought impossible

Canadian Corey Bellemore is the current beer mile world record holder with a time of 4:33. He has held his position atop the leaderboard since the summer of 2016 when he became the first person to break the 4:40 barrier. 

In July of 2016, Corey shattered Lewis Kent's world record when he ran a 4:39 beer mile time trial in Canada. Just 3 days later, Corey lowered his time to 4:34 in London, taking the crown at the Beer Mile World Classic. In October 2017, Corey ran a 4:33 beer mile at Kezar Stadium in San Francisco, California during halftime of a professional soccer match between the San Francisco Deltas and Jacksonville Armada.

He has won multiple beer mile world titles and runs professionally for Adidas (he has run a 3:57 mile sans beer). At the 2018 Beer Mile World Classic, he ran a 4:24 beer mile but was disqualified for having slightly too much foam left. Will he become the first person ever to officially break the 4:30 barrier at this year's beer mile world championship?

Corey Bellemore Beer Mile World Record Holder

2019: Will we see a new beer mile world record in 2019?

Tune into the Beer Mile World Classic championship race on August 3, 2019 to find out. The best beer milers around the world will all be in Berlin to compete for the world title and world record. You won't want to miss it. 

See our beer mile world championship race preview here

Get more info about the beer mile world championship here

Beer Mile World Record Progression

View bios of the top beer milers: Meet the beer mile beasts

Date  Time Name Country Footage
28-Oct 2017 4:33.60  Corey Bellemore Canada Link
31-Jul 2016 4:34.35 Corey Bellemore Canada Link
28-Jul 2016 4:39.56 Corey Bellemore Canada Link
17-Jul 2016 4:47.72 Brandon Shirck USA Link
01-Dec 2015 4:47.17* Lewis Kent Canada Link
17-Nov 2015 4:51.90 Lewis Kent Canada Link
10-Oct 2015 4:54.38 Corey Gallagher Canada
08-Aug 2015 4:55.78 Lewis Kent  Canada Link
08-Aug 2015 4:56.20 Josh Harris Australia Link
02-Apr 2015 4:56.25** James Hansen Australia Link
27-May 2014 4:57 James Nielsen USA Link
21-Apr 2012 5:02.50 Josh Harris Australia Link
18-Dec 2007 5:09 Jim Finlayson Canada
20-Dec 2005 5:13 Jim Finlayson Canada

 *Unofficial world record because it was run on the roads, not on a certified, standard track

**Considered unofficial by some because of insufficient video evidence

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