How a 61-Year-Old Farmer Won the World's Toughest Ultra-Marathon

Between 1983 and 1991, Australia held an annual ultra-marathon of 544 miles (875 km). World's most elite racers ran from Sydney to Melbourne in 5 days - these athletes trained specially for this event, which was considered one of the world's most grueling races.

One day, a 61-year-old Australian potato farmer named Cliff Young entered the race ...

In 1983, a man named Cliff Young showed up at the start of this race. Cliff was 61 years old and wore overalls and work boots. To everyone's shock, Cliff wasn't a spectator. He picked up his race number and joined the other runners.

The press and other athletes became curious and questioned Cliff. They told him, "You're crazy, there's no way you can finish this race." To which he replied, "Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn't afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I'd have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I'd always catch them. I believe I can run this race." [...]

All of the professional athletes knew that it took about 5 days to finish the race. In order to compete, one had to run about 18 hours a day and sleep the remaining 6 hours. The thing is, Cliff Young didn't know that!

When the morning of the second day came, everyone was in for another surprise. Not only was Cliff still in the race, he had continued jogging all night.

Eventually Cliff was asked about his tactics for the rest of the race. To everyone's disbelief, he claimed he would run straight through to the finish without sleeping.

Cliff Young won the race, and became a legend: Link - Thanks Ali!

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I like the fact that he didn't really train for the marathon. He just did what he did every day of his life.
Exercise for the sake of exercise never really made sense to me.
I prefer to get my exercise by doing my work. I'm in better shape than some of my friends who "Go to the GYM" a couple of times a week. And the only exercise I get is by doing my daily routine of working around the house and such. Lift 50 lbs of grass seed or bird food or concrete bags a couple of times a day and you'd be amazed at the shape you'll get in. Or use a push mower instead of a self propelled mower. Things like that.
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I've always liked this story and others where one competitor changes a sport forever. Like going over the high jump backwards.
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So interesting that his not being aware of the supposed limitations (sleep) helped make his win possible. Our beliefs determine so much of what we're capable of, it seems.
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