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

The mythical tale of Cliff Younger is already identified to many runners. If you happen to aren’t acquainted with it, you’re in for an interesting learn.

An Not likely Competitor

Annually, Australia hosts 543.7-mile (875-kilometer) staying power racing from Sydney to Melbourne. It is thought of as some of the international’s maximum grueling ultra-marathons. The race takes 5 days to finish and is typically best tried via world-class athletes who educate specifically for the development. Those athletes are in most cases not up to 30 years outdated and sponsored via huge firms akin to Nike.

In 1983, a person named Cliff Younger confirmed up at first of this race. Cliff used to be 61 years outdated and wore overalls and paintings boots.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 was curious and puzzled Cliff. They informed him, “You’re loopy, there’s no means you’ll be able to end this race.” To which he responded, “Sure I will be able to. See, I grew up on a farm the place we couldn’t have enough money horses or tractors, and the entire time I used to be rising up, each time the storms would roll in, I’d have to move out and spherical up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. On occasion 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 be able to run this race.”

When the race began, the professionals briefly left Cliff at the back of. The crowds and tv target audience have been entertained as a result of Cliff didn’t even run correctly; he looked as if it would shuffle. Many even feared for the outdated farmer’s protection.

The Tortoise and the Hare

The entire 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 remainder 6 hours. The article is, Cliff Younger didn’t know that!

When the morning of the second one day got here, everybody used to be in for every other wonder. Now not best used to be Cliff nonetheless within the race, he had persevered jogging all evening.


In the end Cliff used to be requested about his techniques for the remainder of the race. To everybody’s disbelief, he claimed he would run immediately via to the end with out napping.

Cliff saved operating. Every evening he got here just a little nearer to the main pack. Through the overall evening, he had surpassed the entire younger, world-class athletes. He used to be the primary competitor to move the end line and he set a brand new direction file.

When Cliff used to be awarded the profitable prize of $10,000, he mentioned he didn’t know there used to be 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.

Endured Inspiration

Within the following 12 months, Cliff entered the similar race and took seventh position. Now not even a displaced hip right through the race stopped him.

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

As of late, the “Younger-shuffle” has been followed via ultra-marathon runners as it is thought of as extra energy-efficient. No less than 3 champions of the Sydney to Melbourne race have used the shuffle to win the race. Moreover, right through the Sydney to Melbourne race, trendy competition don’t sleep. Profitable the race calls for runners to move all evening in addition to all day, similar to Cliff Younger.

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