The Legend of Cliff Younger: The 61 Yr Outdated Farmer Who Gained the International’s Hardest Race

The mythical tale of Cliff Younger is already recognized to many runners. In the event you aren’t acquainted with it, you’re in for an enchanting learn.

An Not going Competitor

Yearly, Australia hosts 543.7-mile (875-kilometer) staying power racing from Sydney to Melbourne. It is regarded as a few of the global’s maximum grueling ultra-marathons. The race takes 5 days to finish and is in most cases most effective tried by way of world-class athletes who educate specifically for the development. Those athletes are normally lower than 30 years previous and sponsored by way of massive corporations equivalent to Nike.

In 1983, a person named Cliff Younger confirmed up initially of this race. Cliff was once 61 years previous and wore overalls and paintings boots. To everybody’s surprise, Cliff wasn’t a spectator. He picked up his race quantity and joined the opposite runners.

The clicking and different athletes become curious and wondered Cliff. They instructed him, “You’re loopy, there’s no method you’ll end this race.” To which he responded, “Sure I will. See, I grew up on a farm the place we couldn’t come up with the money for horses or tractors, and the entire time I used to be rising up, on every occasion the storms would roll in, I’d have to head out and spherical up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Once in a while I must run the ones sheep for 2 or 3 days. It took a very long time, however I’d at all times catch them. I imagine I will run this race.”

When the race began, the professionals temporarily left Cliff in the back of. The crowds and tv target market had been entertained as a result of Cliff didn’t even run correctly; he perceived to shuffle. Many even feared for the previous farmer’s protection.

The Tortoise and the Hare

All the skilled athletes knew that it took about 5 days to complete the race. As a way to compete, one needed to run about 18 hours an afternoon and sleep the rest 6 hours. The article is, Cliff Younger didn’t know that!

When the morning of the second one day got here, everybody was once in for any other marvel. Now not most effective was once Cliff nonetheless within the race, he had persisted jogging all evening.


Sooner or later Cliff was once requested about his ways for the remainder of the race. To everybody’s disbelief, he claimed he would run immediately thru to the end with out sound asleep.

Cliff saved operating. Each and every evening he got here just a little nearer to the main pack. Via the overall evening, he had surpassed the entire younger, world-class athletes. He was once the primary competitor to move the end line and he set a brand new path document.

When Cliff was once awarded the profitable prize of $10,000, he stated he didn’t know there was once a prize and insisted that he didn’t input for the cash. He ended up giving all of his winnings to a number of different runners, an act that endeared him to all of Australia.

Persevered Inspiration

Within the following yr, Cliff entered the similar race and took seventh position. Now not even a displaced hip throughout the race stopped him.

Cliff got here to prominence once more in 1997, elderly 76, when he tried to lift cash for homeless youngsters by way of operating round Australia’s border. He finished 6,520 kilometers of the 16,000-kilometer run earlier than he needed to pull out as a result of his most effective staff member become sick. Cliff Younger gave up the ghost in 2003 at age 81.

These days, the “Younger-shuffle” has been followed by way of ultra-marathon runners as it is regarded as extra energy-efficient. No less than 3 champions of the Sydney to Melbourne race have used the shuffle to win the race. Moreover, throughout the Sydney to Melbourne race, trendy competition don’t sleep. Successful the race calls for runners to head all evening in addition to all day, identical to Cliff Younger.

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