Cliff Young Does the Impossible
Learn how a 60 Year Old Potato Farmer Ran 544 Miles!
In 1983, Cliff Young arrived at the inaugural Westfield Sidney to Melbourne Ultramarathon. Cliff was a 61 year old, Australian potato farmer with no experience in long distance running. He had not registered or completed a qualifying race. Dressed in jeans and rubber boots, he did not look like a serious competitor. You can only imagine the scene he must have created among the experienced runners. The race organizers did not want to allow him to race. This ultramarathon was 544 miles long and incredibly dangerous for a old, out of shape, beginner. However, the organizers allowed him to run after much persistence.
Cliff began the race slowly and to no one’s surprise, he quickly fell behind. Traditionally, the runners would run for 18 hours and then stop to sleep for 6 hours. They used this “rinse and repeat” method until the race was completed. Cliff chose not to stop, but to keep running. This reminded those watching the race of the classic fable, “The Tortoise and the Hare.” No one told Cliff the “right” way to run the race, or that it was impossible to go non-stop.
Cliff ran straight for 5 days, 15 hours, and 4 minutes, finishing first in the race by 10 hours. Not only did he finish first, but he beat the previous race record by 2 days.
He ran with a unique running style since coined, “The Young Shuffle.” This style has been adopted by many ultramarathoners due to its high efficiency.
This inspiration story challenges our thoughts about what we think is possible in our lives. Many of us are held back by what we BELIEVE is impossible.
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If you would like, your Physical Therapist can even teach you the “Young Shuffle.”