Looking for local races to participate in during the winter break but tired of the same old 5k road races and the thought of training for anything longer sounds exhausting? I’ve got just the thing. It involves eggnog.
The Egg Nog Mile first took off in 2011, but it only involved eight people. Running teammates as well as friends Harrison Harmon, Tristan Laughlin, and Michael Frazier came up with the idea for the Egg Nog Mile while on a long run in November 2011. The idea mostly centered around seeing if they could run a mile as fast as they could around a track while chugging glasses of eggnog. They’ve been running ever since.
MOSHERY had a chance to sit down with some of the guys involved in the creation of the Egg Nog Mile, Harrison Harmon, brothers Michael and David Frazier, and Cedric Gibbs. We talked about the race’s origins, how the race grew from eight people to 80 people, getting AE Dairy to donate all their eggnog, the slightly goofy nature of the race, and where they hope to take it in the future.
For more information and to sign up for the race, you can visit www.theeggnogmile.com. Don’t forget to check out this year’s preview video, as well as the 9 minute documentary about the history of the Egg Nog Mile.
M: First introduce yourselves, and also name your favorite holiday drink. This is a trick question.
David Frazier: My name is David Frazier and my favorite holiday drink is obviously egg nog.
Michael Frazier: My name is Michael Frazier and um, egg nog is definitely my favorite holiday drink.
Cedric Gibbs: My name is Cedric Gibbs, and AE Dairy brand egg nog is my favorite holiday drink.
Harrison Harmon: My name is Harrison Harmon and egg nog is my favorite holiday drink.
M: I knew it. I had a feeling. This started in 2011, right? I gotta know what the conversation was that led to the first Egg Nog Mile.
Harrison: Michael Frazier, Tristain Laughlin, and myself were out on a run on Thanksgiving, I think it was our Thanksgiving Day run, which is why it was such a small group. Just the whole run, we started joking about what if we ate some pulled pork sliders and tried to run a mile. Because we know some folks who host a chocolate milk mile and we kind of wanted to one up that with some Kansas City spirit. And then we just kind of got into the holiday festivities of it and switched to eggnog.
Michael: I think there was another running related thing at like Chipotle, a Chipotle run we found out about around that time. One of our friends, their high school does that where they run to Chipotle and eat a burritto and then run to the next Chipotle and eat a burritto. So I guess that’s what stemmed from doing something food related…or drink related, I guess. But that was a long time ago.
M: So what was that first race like? How many people were there and how did it turn out?
Harrison: Well, there were eight of us, plus one photographer. And one spectator who came to watch people throw up.
Michael: Actually, Kennedy and Sophie were there.
Harrison: Oh, they were?
Harrison: So we had three spectators.
Michael: Yeah, I forgot about that.
Harrison: I forgot about that too.
David: We had one host too.
Harrison: Yeah, we also had a host.
David: Jeff Bacus as a host.
Michael: We had a camera on a tripod and we hit the record button and let it go for like 30 minutes. That 30 minutes had the race, people jerking the camera around to show us running, drinking eggnog. And after that, Jeff Bacus interviewed all of us after the race. It was kind of like a fun thing.
Cedric: Definitely a small affair. Everybody was top 10 that year.
David: Oh, I cheated though.
Harrison: Yeah, you were pouring out your egg nog on the side.
Michael: This is half of us. Then we had Justin and Cole.
Michael: Tristan did not run. He made up the event, but he didn’t show up the first year.
Harrison: Who were the other two?
Cedric, Michael, David: Trey.
Cedric: Because it was Trey’s dad helping with everything.
Michael: And then Levi Day.
Harrison, David, Cedric: Ohhhhhh.
M: And you guys all supplied your own egg nog? How much?
Harrison: The first year I think we just drank 6 ounces before every lap. Because I think one person forgot their egg nog and we were all friends and we wanted them all to race so we all drank six ounces.
M: How does the race work? You drink a glass in between each lap?
Michael: You start off drinking, run a lap, drink, run a lap, drink, for a mile.
M: I’m assuming there’s a lot of puking.
Harrison: Not as much as you would think. One of the only people whose thrown up every time is lactose intolerant. He also won the race two times.
Michael: So he has to throw it up. We found that out last year, that he was lactose intolerant. We have no excuse. But I stopped doing it.
Harrison: It was quite the plot twist.
Michael: David’s thrown up.
David: Ah, yeah. I’ve thrown up. I mean, it’s either you throw up and you feel good after the race, or you don’t and you feel absolutely terrible the whole day. You kind of have to if you want to feel good.
Michael: There’s been people that have thrown up. It’s not guaranteed, though.
Harrison: Part of the reason that one spectator showed up at the first one was to watch people throw up and I don’t think anyone did the first year.
Michael: We had Will stage puking for the camera.
M: So that first one there was only those eight people. How many were there the next year?
Michael: I think we probably doubled it.
Cedric: Easily doubled.
M: Word of mouth?
Michael: We had a Facebook page the first year, but it was a private event so we only invited people from our high school. And then the next year, we started inviting more people. Cole invited Sam Guinn, who uh, I don’t know how —
Harrison: He runs on the Kansas side. And they went to training camp together in Colorado. Brocaw Blazers. Cole’s kind of brought the Kansas side over, a lot of the Brocaw Blazers.
Michael: And then so, the second year, Cole invited Sam and Sam brought some people. It doubled, at least.
Cedric: It was like 25 or so. It was more than double, but not quite triple.
Michael: I wish we had results, but we didn’t start keeping those until a couple of years ago.
Cedric: It started to intermix too. It wasn’t like all the runner guys. There were some regular students too showing up and wanting to do it.
Michael: Yeah, there were at least 25 people. Including spectators, not just all runners.
David: We have parents going and watching as well. And they kind of helped out with the clean up and the set up.
M: And then from there, how did you grow? I was watching the 9 minute documentary you made, and was it last year there was like 80 people?
M: How did it get to there? That’s a pretty big deal for this one mile race that sounds kind of crazy, honestly.
Harrison: Well, we had some KC Running Company folks show up. Basically, one of the people who runs for KC Running Company was an assistant coach when Michael and I were at Truman, and she knows plenty of people from running around town at races. So she brought more people, and everybody else was talking and they brought more people. UCM started this rivalry with UMKC, so a lot of the UMKC team showed up to challenge us and spreading it away from just the Truman High School and Brocaw Blazers that we were before.
Michael: Everyone just started inviting their friends. 2014 was the first year that I didn’t know everyone there. Random people showing up and I had no idea who they were.
Cedric: It definitely helps having Caleb Hoover, how fast the guy is and how good he is at running definitely gets it out there. People are interested to come see him run.
M: Okay, who is that?
Harrison: Two time champion, three time champion?
Michael: Of State?
Cedric: No, no. Of the Egg Nog Mile.
Harrison: He broke five the first year.
David: He went to Northern Arizona, he’s like —
Michael: D1 All-American. He’s like a pro now.
Harrison: He ran sub 14 minutes in the 5K. Did he have a break down in the steeple or was he really close?
Michael: No, he ran. He ran like 8:30. He’s All-American on the track and cross country. He’s from Southern Missouri and small class State champion in high school. Cole knows him somehow. He invited him back in 2013, and he’s come every year since then. He won 2014 and 2015. Set our meet record. Broke five.
Cedric: With egg nog, which is pretty impressive.
Harrison: Without, that’s like a 4:30.
M: Is he going to be here this year?
Michael: Unfortunately not. We talked to him at D1 Nationals and he said, because he’s a pro now, he’s going to be in Nevada or something.
Harrison: So first place is wide open.
M: Who are all the players behind the operation? What do you all do? You all run in it, but you also organize it. How do you split up the jobs?
Harrison: Michael Frazier does all of our media at this point. He’s kind of taken that role from the start. His dad is big in photography, so his dad’s got all the media from the get-go. And Michael’s studying media production. He’s been a tremendous help in getting our hype videos together. All the smack-talking videos. Stirring up the pot before the race.
Michael: Yeah, I’ve just been making videos for it ever since it started.
Harrison: In years previous, myself, and we’d had kind of all talked about it, would set a date together and that would be the extent of the planning. Last year was the first year we pursued sponsorships. I pursued a few, didn’t get much return. This year, having just started work I was just a little overwhelmed and made a big old google doc online and everybody just signed up for spots. Kenyon Briggs pursued all our sponsorships. Jack and Justin made the website. Jack did most of it because Justin was so busy. Jack really brought the website to life. And Cole’s been the hype guy. Not necessarily planning, but sharing that information with folks.
Michael: We started making a preview video, just to show who we think is going to win the race just to have fun. It started off with Cedric and Cole talking in front of the camera and then it progressed the next year. We did more things, we went to the track and had shots of them talking in different places on the track, b roll from previous years. Year after that, we started incorporating David and Jack in this full segment that we do.
Cedric: Kind of like a Sports Center-esque thing we do. A 60 minutes thing. An interview on why we were moving locations.
Michael: It’s a goofy thing, but I mean I think they’re fun to watch, but Jack would interview Harrison as a 60 minutes thing. Jack and David would toss it to that segment. This year, everyone did the same thing, but Kenyon’s now in the video with Cedric and Cole talking about the competitors.
M: Did you guys ever imagine after that first race with just eight people there you would still be doing it five years later and people would be interested in participating?
Cedric: The way it took off is really cool. It started out as a way to have fun, just a group of friends going out there and racing each other. Just took off from there.
Harrison: I think we were always a little bit hopeful it would grow. It’s such a goofy race. Everyone’s goofy, but especially runners. So in the back of our minds, we all kind of wanted more people to come out and suffer with us. See if we could beat the guys who always beat us, but while drinking eggnog.
Michael: I think throughout the years, it’s not about the race itself but all the stuff leading into it.
Cedric: People would post their own videos. A couple of our buddies would post videos of themselves chugging eggnog as fast as they could, calling out a couple of people.
Michael: And then those people would call them out.
Cedric: Just to help the culture of the race grow.
Michael: People are also taking it way more seriously than it should be, I guess. But that’s the great thing about it, I think. With the videos and the trash talking on the Facebook page, leading up to the races is a pretty big thing.
M: I guess it gets super competitive.
Harrison: Oh yeah.
David: We have a first lap winner, so who ever wins the first lap gets a medal. And then we have the overall winner. Whoever wins the mile gets a prize too. Some people are always trying to go after that first lap.
Michael: They go out really hard. It’s awesome to see just how fast everyone goes out on the first lap. And then see them dramatically slow down as the race goes on.
Cedric: Everybody likes to talk a big game, but once you get into it, you realize it’s a whole different beast.
Harrison: Egg nog is pretty thick when you’re on your third lap.
David: Especially when you’re breathing hard.
M: Any anecdotes from previous races you would like to share?
Michael: What about that one year it was freezing rain?
Harrison: Was that two years ago?
Michael: Third year.
Cedric: Probably the worst one I’ve ever had, and it doesn’t help when you’re brother is yelling at you the whole time to not suck.
Harrison: Yeah, it was cloudy. Pretty blistery wind.
Michael: Freezing rain, and the roads were starting to get —
Harrison: Really bad, yeah.
Michael: So we didn’t think anyone was going to come.
Harrison: We’ve always gone out and run before [the race] because we don’t want to run after. We were out running with Caleb Hoover, and just about all of us, Michael Frazier, Caleb and I all almost took a spill at least twice on that run, especially towards the end. We got [to the tracks] and everyone was slipping and falling down the steps and we were like “this is going to be a mess.” But everyone stuck around for the race. As soon as it was over, I think we had first and third place just jet out of there before we could give awards.
Michael: The second year, it snowed before that. The day before, but it was really nice that day.
Harrison: It was sunny, so it was sunny enough to melt the snow.
Michael: So we had gone there three or four hours before the race started because the track was covered in snow and ice.
David: We had to break apart the ice. Probably wasn’t a good thing.
Cedric: Probably wasn’t great for the track, but it was needed.
Michael: Yeah, so we ended up shoveling lanes one and two.
Harrison: And we shoveled a path for everyone to cut in on the first turn.
Michael: That took awhile. But like I said, it was nice that day so it all melted once it was all off the track.
Harrison: I think the first guy off the line, at least the last four or five years, has been last place. Like, the same guy always takes off, and then always runs about a ten minute mile.
Michael: Yeah, it’s brutal.
Harrison: I don’t know how he puts down the first cup real fast.
David: Been there every year, right?
Harrison: He didn’t go the first year, but all the other years. His sister’s first women’s champion.
Michael: So up until last year, we combined the girls and guys races because we only ever had three girls competing until last year. Last year we decided to split the races when there was five or six, so we had doubled the numbers. I think this year, we’re going to split it up again.
M: How many people do you have for this year? Is there a place to sign up at?
Harrison: This year, because of Jack’s website, we have a registration link on there. Anybody who’s racing should be registered online. But we still have the generic Facebook page.
Cedric: At least 50 people, and you never know, there will be random people showing up as well.
Michael: Like, we had people drive hours, like from the St. Louis area to run. Also from Kansas. Some people who drive a couple of hours just to race. Which is pretty cool. Like I said, we don’t know who they are.
Cedric: It’s hard to get a number set in stone. We expect it to be just as big as last year, if not bigger.
Michael: We had 35 guys run last year, roughly. And five girls, so 40 people total.
Cedric: Quite a bit of people watching.
Michael: Same amount watching, if not more. I think this year, we’ll have the same or more.
Harrison: I think it’ll be bigger. Because UMKC girls are supposed to be running. It’s one of those, they say they’re coming, but you never know. We might break field of 10 for women.
Michael: With our AE Dairy sponsor, they’re providing enough eggnog for 64 people, so I think that will help bring in more people, since they know it’ll be free. Or they don’t have to buy their own eggnog. I think that will bring in more competitors. I’m going to check the google doc to see how many people.
Harrison: Paypal is linked to my account and I haven’t gotten a single payment.
David: We’re asking for donations this year.
Harrison: Because…we have permission to use this track, but we don’t know necessarily if we can charge a fee. So we’re asking for donations. In the past we’ve done it and got like, $6.25? And five dollars were from champion Caleb Hoover.
Michael: Like, with the donations we want to pay for the stuff that we need for it, like cups and prizes, but then use the rest of the money to donate to the school athletic department that lets us use their track. So Belton [High School] this year.
Harrison: Make it worth their while.
Michael: I don’t know how much it’ll be, but…
Harrison: It’ll be something.
*brief pause so Michael can look up the numbers on the google doc*
Michael: Right now, there’s like 13 people signed up.
Harrison: I still need to sign up on there.
Harrison: I was just thinking about that on my run this morning.
Michael: Cole posted in the [Facebook] group to reiterate people signing up, but people don’t have to. It’s just so we can get a number.
M: You guys mentioned sponsors this year. How were you able to get those?
Harrison: Last year, I pursued them. I made an Egg Nog Mile gmail account. Eggnog mile world championships at gmail dot com. WC at gmail dot com. This year, I put Kenyon in charge of that and he, I don’t know how many companies he contacted, but he ended up getting Quick Trip, who is donating a 25 dollar gift certificate. Which we’ll give to our men’s champion. And AE Dairy is giving us 64 quarts of eggnog, which I assume is just one big box. We kind of pursed sponsorships a little bit late, and we also don’t have insurance, which kind of cuts us out from just about everybody. We’re not eligible to apply for Cliff Bar or any of those companies without that insurance.
Michael: It’s like ridiculous, how much money that is.
Harrison: It’s half a million dollars to apply for the Clif Bar one. If I had half a million dollars, I wouldn’t have to ask for your money.
Michael: AE Dairy, that was a big one.
Cedric: They’re providing us not only the eggnog, but also giving us signs. Not quite sure what those are.
Michael: Signs to put around the track. I’ll look up the email, but the email they sent Kenyon back was pretty funny. They were like…what’d they say?
Cedric: They said they wouldn’t want us to use eggnog that wasn’t uh high in quality. They’re going to provide for us, which is awesome. It’s nice to have a universal liquid there.
Harrison: Yeah, we’ve had some gray areas with flavored eggnog. Plain old jane disqualifies you. Hoover’s always drank flavored.
Cedric: Really? I didn’t know that.
Harrison: I think that’s the reason it’s never been a rule.
*Michael searches his phone for information relevant to this conversation*
Michael: I can’t find it…oh, I found it. It said, “in speaking to the donation committee about your event, we realized we simply could not let you host your Egg Nog Mile with inferior eggnog. That would be wrong and a disservice to eggnog lovers everywhere. That being said, we would like to donate four cases of eggnog to your run. There are 16 quarts in each case, so you’ll have 64 quarts of our eggnog for your participants. Can you give me the dates of your race? We’ll need to arrange a delivery to our Kansas City office, you’ll pick up your donation from there. As for advertisements, we do have signs to put around the track, we can send those to our Kansas City office as well along with your eggnog. We would need those back though. We would love some photos and a mention in any press you get, of course.”
M: Oh, I guess press would be me.
All: Oh, yeah!
Cedric: Yeah, thank you AE Dairy!
Michael: Thank you, AE Dairy, we love you. And Quick trip is best gas station.
M: Alright, beyond this year, where do you see the race going, and where do you want it to go?
Harrison: I see us continuing to grow, but grow much slower over the future. I think all of our intentions are for it to grow, as our media gets better, as our spokesperson Kenyon gets better at speaking and bragging about us, I think it’s definitely going to get better. But we’re at kind of a crossroads here where we have to start getting more in depth involvement as far as planning, it can’t just be a Facebook page anymore. That’s going to be the difficult part about growing. Love to see more big names there like Caleb Hoover. Or folks bigger than that, I know Matt Tegenkamp lives out here in this area, former Olympian, let’s see what you’ve got.
Cedric: Securing a track would be first and foremost. That would be huge, if we could get a home.
M: Have you guys been moving tracks every year?
Michael: It started off at Truman [High School] at first, for four years.
Cedric: They remodeled their stadium and decided to kick all the outside forces off the track.
Michael: Then we moved to Bridger, which is like a public track. Since this event is getting bigger, we don’t know, it’s like a gray area. We don’t know if we’re allowed to use the track with that many people and eggnog.
Harrison: It’s tough to bring in sponsorships one, when you don’t have the insurance, and two, you don’t have the venue booked. Like, “yeah, we’re just meeting at this track and running!” “Do you have permission to be here?” “Well, we’re running.” It’s a lot tougher to bring along people and talk folks into coming out with us. So getting that venue locked in, and getting a school board, track program that’s onboard with us, using their facilities is probably the next big step.
Michael: The Independence school district has a form you have to fill out to use their facilities.
Cedric: And you have to pay.
Michael: Which is, using the track isn’t that bad. It’s like 250 bucks for two hours. Which isn’t terrible. I mean, if we did that, we’d have to start charging a fee. Like, five bucks per person. But what gets you on that is the insurance. I don’t know what that entails. We have to figure that out, probably after this event.
Cedric: Ideally, I think we just want to be able to give back to the school a little bit, that’d be nice. No matter what school it is, it would be awesome to support some programs.
Michael: Just having more people there. It would be cool to get a shoutout from Flotrack. That would be cool to have them promote our event as well.
Harrison: We could get Sam to do photography.
Cedric: That would be nice.
Harrison: He has a big following. One of the guys we all ran with in college is an MLB photographer now. And he’s knows a lot of people. He lives in the area still, so. He might be good for our future. I think he would do it for free.
Michael: I think so.
M: People can still sign up, right?
Michael: Yeah, they can sign up all the way up until the night before.
Harrison: Or they can just show up.
All: Yeah, definitely just show up.
M: Other than that, is there anything else you guys want to add?
Cedric: Come on out, it’s a good time. It may not sound very fun, but I can say for the past five years we’ve been doing it, it’s a great chance to meet some new people, hang out with some old friends, and just get into the spirit of the holidays.
M: And you don’t have to be an experienced runner to do it, right?
All: Nope, not at all.
Cedric: Anybody can come out there and do it.
M: And you don’t even have to like eggnog.
Harrison: We have plenty of people that don’t. Or people who liked eggnog before.
Michael: One of our teammates, she’s driving from St. Louis to run the race, she doesn’t like eggnog.
Cedric: Which is ridiculous. Or amazing, I don’t know.
Michael: You don’t even have to race, as well.
M: It’s at Belton High School?
Harrison: Women’s race will be at 9 a.m. and we’ll do rolling schedule after that.
Cedric: It should be pretty relaxed.
Michael: December 18th.
M: Is it weather permitting?
Harrison: It’s show up and race. If it’s icy, bring your spikes.
Cedric: It’s going to be cold, right
Michael: It’s going to be pretty cold. I’m afraid because I checked a couple of days ago, it said it was supposed to snow. But it changed.
Cedric: And we’ve proven in the past we’re more than ready to get that snow off the track.
Harrison: Probably shouldn’t this year.
Cedric: We’ll figure out something.
Harrison: Get some hair dryers out there.
Michael: I think the coldest days for the next nine days is supposed to be Sunday, with a low of 8 and a high of 18.
Harrison: Eggnog slushies.
Cedric: Once that gun goes off, you don’t know how cold it is. All you can think about is eggnog.
Michael: Definitely encourage dressing warm. For people training, or college training, we always run like 8 miles before it so we don’t mess up people’s college training.
Harrison: Are we still going to do that since it’s on a Sunday?
Michael: I think so.
M: One last question, is there an age limit?
Harrison: Oh, heck no.
Michael: Definitely not.
Cedric: We’ve had, those KC runners were in their 30s or 40s.
M: I was thinking more like —
M: Kids, yeah.
Harrison: Oh, that would be even cooler.
Cedric: That would be awesome, if we could get some kids out there.
David: Should they drink a quart of eggnog, though?
Harrison: We can cross that bridge when we get there.
Cedric: Maybe a kid’s division somewhere in the works.
David: Maybe two laps.
Cedric: Have some kids experience running a little bit, even if it’s in this goofy style. It’d be cool.
Harrison: At some point, we’ll have to deal with some showing up.
Cedric: Egg Nog Mile is family friendly.
Harrison: We’re having a non-dairy table this year, too. They’re not eligible for the prizes, though. There are some folks who have reached out to use their lactose intolerance as an excuse to not run, so we’ve undercut that excuse. We’re having like an almond milk table.
Michael: Yeah, so Kenyon can do it now. Just putting that out there.
Cedric: The more the merrier.
The Egg Nog Mile is from 9-11 a.m. at Belton High School Sunday, December 18. To make a donation, visit www.theeggnogmile.com or there will be donation buckets at the race.
Katey Stoetzel is a writer and film and television critic. She maintains Mad Max: Fury Road is the best movie of the past decade, and definitely deserved Best Picture at the Oscars. Follow her on Twitter, where her Twitter bio says she live tweets her progress of “The X-Files,” but that hasn’t actually happened in a really long time. Follow her anyway. It’ll be a laugh, probably.