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NCB Exclusive: Interview With the King of Beer Miling, World Champion Corey Gallagher

Corey Gallagher is a world champion runner.  His specialty isn’t watched by the likes of thousands on the Diamond League circuit in the stadiums of Rome or Qatar.  Not yet, anyway.  It’s not an Olympic competition.  But it’s about guts.  And pushing through pain.  It requires discipline, attention to the details, and the ability to house a beer faster than a frat-boy at a tailgate.  That’s right.  Corey Gallagher is the Beer Mile World Champion.  You can see his latest, greatest exploits in the video below.

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No Coast Bias had a chance to catch up with the newly minted Beer Mile World champ and he was kind enough to answer a few questions about his training, his first ever attempt at beer-miling, and the controversy surrounding the current world record holder.

First off, thanks for taking the time to respond back to my questions.  I’m sure you’ve got a bunch of things going on after you guys pulled a Kardashian and broke the internet the other night, so I really appreciate it. 

Corey Gallagher, World Champion.  Has a nice ring to it, right?  How’s it feel having that title attached to your name?
Feels surreal, always wanted to be a world champion just didn’t think it would come via Beer mile.

What’s changed for you, personally, since you won the title?  Anything?  I would assume the selfies-with-strangers count has blown up recently?
Lots of selfies with people but I enjoy that stuff.  What changed most is that I have a bunch more Under Armour!  And that’s good because I love it.

I would assume that you have to be a pretty serious runner, in your own right, to be able to flat out haul like you do regardless of the drinking part of running a beer mile.  Have you always been a track or cross country guy?
Was never very good on the track, was more of a road guy and somewhat cross, really.  (I find doing circles very….boring)

What was your first beer mile like?  Was it something you were naturally good at?  I feel like beer miling would be something that takes a while to not be super difficult.
Haha.  It didn’t come natural at all!  My first Beer Mile I ran, like, 13 minutes and threw up all over myself.  It’s been almost 10 years since then and I’ve slowly worked out the kinks.

What does your training look like for an event like this?  What’s the running portion look like?  The drinking?  Do you get to sit down, practice chugging beer, and then tell people you’re “training?”  Because that’s an excuse I’m going to start trying with my wife.  Like, immediately.
In the summer I was building my base.  Hitting 90-100 miles a week.  Then, as the event got closer, I got injured so it was rest time.  I probably do one drinking workout a week, but mainly use water.  The only time I “train” my chugging is if I go out with the buddies.  Rather than sit down and have a beer and enjoy it…I chug it.

beers

Photo Courtesy of: mensjournal.com


Let’s talk a little bit about the actual Beer Mile World Championships.  What was that experience like for you?  I wasn’t able to watch it live, but when I watched the playback later it seemed like the event was totally surreal.
It was so much bigger then I ever imagined.  That venue was amazing and it doesn’t get any better than that.

What other Beer Miling events are there?  Do you have one that’s your favorite?
Well Flotrack Beer Mile has to be my favorite.  But, aside from the US, here in Manitoba (we) put on a pretty good event.  I would like to say (it’s) one of the best and most legit events there is, getting around 60 runners and 100 spectators.

Forget a shoe contract, please tell me you’ve been approached by beer companies for some kind of sponsorship deal?  Alright, a shoe deal would be pretty sweet, too.
I’m sad to say, not one beer company has come forth to talk to me.  But I did get hooked up by Under Armour.

I loved the one-glove look at the Beer Mile World Championships.  Shoot me straight: is that for grip, to keep your hand from getting torn up when you’re popping your beer, or just a dope style choice?  Quick follow-up: have you ever run a beer mile in Jorts?  I saw the guy doing that and I feel like there’s not enough Vaseline in the world to prevent that from chafing you to death.
Hahaha.  Well the glove was for grip.  I ripped open my hand a week before, practicing, and every now and then you get one stubborn cap that won’t come off.  I couldn’t take that chance.  And, jorts?  Oh, I’ve worn them for a beer mile before, but I for sure wasn’t running anything that fast at all.

I’ve gathered that there’s a bit of controversy surrounding the world record time for the beer mile.  Now I, for one, believe that counting a non-electronic, non-sanctioned time as the world record is archaic.  I’m with the guys who think that your 5:00.23 should be the new beer miling gold standard.  Any thoughts on that?
I think everyone knows my thoughts on this, hahaha.  If you watch James Neilson’s video: he does it alone with just his wife.  He chugs beer 2 in 3.9 seconds — and that’s physically impossible to do (try it, it can’t happen) — then beer 3 and 4 he crushes. (The Official) Rules state, no impeding the flow: i.e. crushing the can.

It was completely fascinating watching you compete against a guy like (Olympian) Nick Symmonds and crush him in the Beer Mile. What was that like?  He’s a pretty cool dude, and a good sport, but that must’ve been pretty fun, right?
He was, and is a pretty awesome dude, and much, much faster then me on the track.  But beer miling is just something totally different and how the body reacts. (But, yes, it still feels good.)

Photo Courtesy of: outsideonline.com

Corey Gallagher (Left) and Nick Symmonds (Right) Photo Courtesy of: outsideonline.com

I’ve tried drinking and running, although it was usually from the cops when I was in college, but it was pretty different from what you do.  Are you ever able to feel the effects of the alcohol start to kick in while running, or are you too zoned in to notice?  If so, has there ever been a race where the booze kicked in more than you thought?
I don’t notice it during the race.  Usually about 10-15 minutes after, it all starts to kick in.  I don’t notice it a whole lot.  Only time I’ve ever noticed the booze when running is when I was running the vodka 3k steeple chase…..7 shots and 7 laps.

(*Author’s note: I desperately want to hear more about this type of death-defying event.  I’ve seen all kinds of cringe-inducing wipeouts from fully sober steeplechasers and can only imagine the mayhem and utter pandemonium that would come from adding alcohol to an event with heavy hurdles and water jumps.)

You’re a Canadian and I’ve got to be honest with you: it seems like Canadians pretty much kick dominate at beer-miling.  Fellow Canadian, Jim Finlayson (Who placed third at this year’s BMWC) is a 42-year-old dude and he absolutely crushed it out there. Are Canadians inherently better at the beer mile?  I don’t want to start a border war, but I have to ask: are Canadians better drinkers than Americans period?  What’s your take?
I think we are better beer drinkers….It could be that there’s just less to do to pass the time, so we practice drinking a little more.

Where do you go from here?  Do you have more events planned, appearances, or are you going to be taking a little bit of time off to bask in the glory of your championship?
Little time off first.  Its’ been one heck of a long season, then gear up towards doing a few 10ks, a few other events — Beer Miles around here — then gear up towards next year’s worlds.

One final question: have you had to buy a beer since you won?  Because I feel like you should never have to purchase another drink in a bar again.  Ever.
I wish it worked like that.  I’m a thirsty man and it gets pricey.

Anything else you’d like to share with us, please feel free to do so now.  Again, thank you so much for your time.  And we’ll be combing the internet to see how you do in your pursuit of run-drinking glory.
Nothing other than (that) I had a stress fracture from the middle of September to middle of October (that) I had to take time off for.  It’s still not fully healed, but now I can afford to take the rest.  And I look forward to coming back next year, faster than ever.  Thanks for having me

FIN

(*Author’s note: you can follow Corey Gallagher and his boozing, running, and life exploits at @coreygallagher4 on Twitter.)

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. d

    December 11, 2014 at 10:11 am

    Amazing interview.

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