When Michael Patschak learned of the 2015 Burrito
Mile just three weeks ago, he developed a sort of personal burrito mile boot camp in hopes that he could
scramble his way to a decent performance given the short notice. The training regimen he implemented
consisted of one speed burrito each night, a track workout every other night, and other middle distance
training techniques he remembered using in high school and college to get in racing shape. The product of
Walkersville High School, now 24 years of age and working a full time job, even refrigerated his burritos
prior to consumption, a savvy veteran training technique that he developed based on his experience from
previous burrito mile events in which the burritos were not exactly hot off the grill.
The training regimen worked. Patschak shocked himself by downing the full size Chipotle burrito in 1:10 and
clocking a 5:12 mile for the victory with a new meet record time of 6:22. Nothing in his training regimen –
neither the 400m repeats nor the mile tempo workouts - indicated that he was in shape for a performance of
Said Patschak, "I was trying to do 400m repeats at race pace and couldn't go below 1:25 so I had low
expectations. My two friends helped a lot in my opinion. Stephen Keith paced me lap 4. He ran at Lehigh so I
was super hyped to be running next to him."
As for the method of practicing his speed eating with refrigerated burritos, he said that paid off too.
"I think more people threw up this year than any year. They were hard to eat, but I knew to chew more and
drink more water."
Clearly this was not his first rodeo and it is safe to
say the Michael Patschak is the most enthusiastic Burritolympic athlete in the sport's ten year history. He
participated in 2008, 2009, and every year between 2011 and 2015, securing victories in four of the last five
years. During some of those years, he traveled to Bethesda from Robert Morris University in Pittsburgh just
to put his talent to the test at the world's longest running and most populer Burrito Mile event (yes, there
have been others outside of Maryland).
Winning the burrito mile in the female division was Erin Biesecker in 11:10. The winners of the 4x8urrito
were Ben Resnick, Connor Jobes, Michael Spak and Nathan Nadal with a time of 27:40. Winning best costume was
Jacob Hyman who was dressed as "Where's Waldo." Best relay team costumes went to the contingent from Bethesda
Chevy Chase High School who wore coordinated tutus.
Ten Years of Burrito Mile
Depending on how you want to count it up, the 2015 Burrito Mile can be considered the 10th annual Burrito
Mile event in Maryland. Mocorunning is proud to boast that the event originated on Mocorunning.com when a
site user (and Montgomery County 400m champion) Brian Sickles was the first to publish the idea in writing in
a public forum in 2006. How to go about it was
not very clear, but the idea had traction. I was a college student myself at the time, and decided to endorse
the event in a very simplistic format. The decision was made to eat two burritos at a Chipotle restaurant in
Rockville (just one burrito for girls) and then drive over to the track at Wootton High School and race a
mile. About 20 boys (not all of whom finished the race) and four girls (all of whom finished) competed in the
first Burrito Mile in March 2006.
Visionary Julien Stern, shown in the photo here, rejected the
original decision to eat burritos prior to racing. He elected to eat his burritos WHILE racing. It set the
precedent for Burrito Mile reform.
The event felt like a big enough success that a repeat event was warranted with a few tweaks to the rules.
Following the conclusion of the 2006 outdoor track season, I helped to organize the first 4x8urrito relay
race which was a BYOB event. For the first time, the burrito was consumed on the track which was included in
the overall timing of the race. Using a 4x800m relay format (with eating taking place prior to each leg),
boys were required to eat a single burrito while girls could split their burritos in half. The introduction
of a team relay element naturally led to the incorporation of costumes/uniforms.
As news of the event spread, demand for more burrito events increased. I never wanted to be an organizer of
events, and fortunately Rafi Moersen, a student at Walter Johnson High School at the time, took over
organization of the event with gusto. Moersen made a proposition to the Walter Johnson High School
administration to host the event as part of the school's effort to raise funds for Pennies for Patients, an
annual student fundraising competition which raises funds for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The high
school was understandably reluctant to be involved, and while the 2007 event took place at WJHS, it was not
officially endorsed by the school. By providing burritos and t-shirts on-site for the first time, over $1,700
was raised by Moersen and his co-organizers that year. The money was donated to the Pennies for Patients
In 2008, the Walter Johnson High School student government supported the burrito mile, raising over $3000 for
Pennies for Patients in just a few hours. From 2008 to 2014, the WJ student government carried on the
tradition of the event, always with a member of the track team leading the charge to ensure the event was
executed properly. In 2015, the student government no longer backed the event, but WJHS track athletes and
recent alumni again stepped up to make sure that the 10th consecutive burrito mile event took place.
Fans of the burrito mile everywhere salute the students past and present from Walter Johnson High School who
have made the burrito mile happen for all these years.
From the beginning, Milesplit.com, the national running
coverage website, was on board with the Burrito Mile. The editor of the Maryland Milesplit website at the
time, Ben Thomas was in attendance and assisted with timing the very first burrito mile in 2006. The editor
of the Virginia Milesplit website at the time, Brandon Miles, was quick to endorse the event and help spread
the word to the state of Virginia.
When the founder of Milesplit, Jason Byrne, learned of the burrito mile events, he actually whipped up a
blog-style website and bought the domain "burritomile.com." Burritomile.com standardized the official rules
for Burrito Mile events and made an attempt at recording world records for a variety of burritolympic events.
That website and all of its content was lost during a Milesplit server transition. When it comes to the
Burrito Mile, timing and record-keeping has never been a top priority anyways.
During the time when burritomile.com was online, there were efforts to try to spread the event beyond
Maryland. I can't know the extent to which it has spread. A Google search will show that the event has
certainly spread outside of Maryland, usually to colleges and high schools, often with variations in the
rules and minimal effort devoted to accurate timing. There have been burrito miles at UMBC and Virginia Tech.
Andy Carr, a 1981 graduate of Northwood High School and coach at Milton High School near Atlanta, Georgia,
was among the first to pick up on the Burrito Mile and helped introduce the event to the Atlanta area. At
least two other high schools in Georgia have hosted burrito mile events.
It's not possible to know if the burrito mile world records reside in Maryland, and even the best
performances in Maryland are hard to track with the inattention given to timing, but here is what Mocorunning
believes are the best performances recorded at Burrito Mile events in Maryland:
Burrito Mile: Andrew Palmer – 6:15.7 (2008) | Veronica Salcido – 8:22 (2007)
2-Burrito Mile: Cedric Dana – 10:03 (2007) | Monica Delizo – 24:16 (2007)
4x8urrito (All-Male) - Cedric Dana, Burke Oleszewski, Alex Booth, and David Delaplaine – 16:12.7 (2007)
4x8urrito (All-Female) - Ava Farrell, Alison Thomas, Leila Shehata, and Grace Reingruber – 21:00 (2012)
4x8urrito (Solo) – Greg Wagner – 51:12 (2010)
Notable Burrito Mile Milestones:
3/5/2006 - Chris Moen ran a 4:31.7 mile after eating two burritos to win the first Burrito Mile. Eating was
not included in the timing and there was a break between eating and running. Under the same conditions, Cara
Harrison was the first female burrito mile champion with a time of 5:46.9 after consuming one burrito.
6/4/2006 - A team of Ben Fowler, David Simms, Peter Novack and Andrew Jesien clocked a time of 21:46 in the
4x8urrito. The first all-female team champions clocked a time of 26:22, but in those formative years of the
event, girls only ate half of a burrito.
2/24/2007 - In 2007, there was no
question that the eating should be included in the timing of the burrito mile, but there was still some
debate as to whether contestants should eat one or two burritos. Cedric Dana set the standard for the 2-
burrito mile, finishing the two burritos and a mile in 10:03, a record which still stands to this day. Monica
Delizo completed the same task in 24:16. The burrito mile was contested for the first time using the official
rules that have been in place ever since. The first mens world record burrito mile was set at 7:31.1 by
Andrew Palmer and the first womens world record was set at 9:46.0 by Brielle Dana.
3/29/2007 - Christian Scholz, a high school runner from Alpharetta, Georgia staked claim to the mens world
record, completing the event in 6:58.
6/4/2007 - After laying claim to the 2-burrito mile world record a few months earlier, Cedric Dana brought
the world record back to Maryland in the single burrito mile with a time of 6:37.5. Veronica Salcido lowered
the womens world record to 8:22.0. A team of Cedric Dana, Burke Oleszewski, Alex Booth, and David Delaplaine
shaved over four minutes off the 4x8urrito world record with a time of 16:12.7. At this point, Cedric Dana
had the world records in the burrito mile, the 2-burrito mile, and the 4x8urrito.
10/31/2007 - Seven students contested a burrito mile on the campus of Virginia Tech on Halloween, marking the
first time the event was organized and executed in a university setting. Eric Webb won the event in 7:41.
2/23/2008 - Cedric Dana and Veronica Salcido repeated as Bethesda burrito mile champions. Neither was able to
set a personal best.
2/29/2008 - One week after the
large fundraiser Burrito Mile in 2008, a small group of high school runners converged specifically to make an
attempt on the burrito mile world record. The attempt was successful as Andrew Palmer, then a high school
student at Whitman High School, set the world record with a time of 6:15.7, a world best mark that still
stands to this day.
4/17/2008 - Alpharetta, Georgia struck back. Jamie Chandler of Milton High School lowered the womens world
record by over a minute. 7:21 was lower than the original mens world record set one year prior. To this day
Chandler is believed to be the reigning world record holder.
2/21/2009 - Team Chickentop shaved over 3 minutes off of the previous world record of 33:25 in the all-female
4x8urrito relay with a new time of 29:22. The team consisted of Tiffany Lin, Camille Bouvet, Jennifer
Spencer, and Jenna Willett. Andrew Palmer missed the 2-burrito mile world record by 1 second with a time of
10:04. After eating two burritos in 5:25, he ran a 4:39 mile.
2/27/2010 – Greg Wagner attempted the 4x8urrito relay all by himself, a task which only Andrew Palmer had
attempted previously. Wagner bested Palmer's solo effort of 59:34 with a new record time of 51:12.
2/26/2011 – Michael Patschak won his first burrito mile in 6:41. Patschak went on to win the 2-burrito mile
in 2012 and then win back-to-back Bethesda burrito miles in 2014 and 2015.
2/18/2012 – Four ladies from B-CC high school, Ava
Farrell, Alison Thomas, Leila Shehata, and Grace Reingruber obliterated the world record for the all-female
4x8urrito relay with a time of 21:00. That is an average of 5:15 per girl.
7/18/2015 – The Walter Johnson High School student government cut ties with the burrito mile, but WJ student
athletes and alumni kept the event going in the first ever summer burrito mile. The summer turnout was
improved from previous years. Michael Patschak won the event in 6:22, a "meet record" for the burrito mile in
its fundraiser format in Bethesda. Only Andrew Palmer's world record attempt in 2008 was faster (6:15.7) and
Palmer had the advantage of customizing his burrito as opposed to the pre-made burritos provided at the
annual Bethesda events.