When it comes to running and world championship events, people all know about Usain Bolt, the incredible 100 meter runner and multiple Olympic Gold Medal winner. Even millions of non-runners know his name.
People also know the world records for things like the 5K, 10K, and the marathon – even some non-runners. But, when you get into the ultra distances, that becomes more like “inside baseball”, unfortunately, and not as many people know about those records.
But, this is definitely one world record you should know about! Not only did Aleksandr Sorokin break a world record yesterday but he broke his own world record that stood for just one year. Before that? The previous world record stood for 24 years. Sorokin broke the existing world record in just one year.
Aleksandr Sorokin – New Ultra Running Champion – Again
His Previous World Records
Alexsandr Sorokin is from Lithuania (as someone who is part Lithuanian, that is great news for me!) and a 40 year old runner. He already set two world records in running last year, the fastest 100 miles and the most miles run in 12 hours before going on to set the new record for 24 hours.
He had set both of those other records at a single event, running the 100 miles in 11 hours, 14 minutes, and 56 seconds. With 45 minutes and 4 seconds left, he kept on going to secure the 12 hour record with 105.825 miles in that time. Curious what that breaks down to per mile? 6 minutes and 48 seconds per mile, average, for 12 hours!
Chasing the 24 Hour World Record
The previous 24 hour world record has been in place for 24 years, set by Greek ultra running legend, Yiannis Kouros. That record was 188.52 miles in 24 hours. That was until Sorokin broke it last year, going 192.5 miles in 24 hours, a pace of 7 minutes and 29 seconds per hour.
This year, Aleksandr went for it again, this time in Verona, Italy. Sorokin set a brand new world record in the 24 hour running event by running 198.599 miles in 24 hours. That is a pace of 7 minutes and 15 seconds per mile, average, for 24 hours!!!
What It Takes to Run for 24 Hours
As someone who has attempted a 24 hour run, I can tell you that there are plenty of things that can go wrong. You have to consider weather, precipitation, clouds, etc but also body things like the digestion system and how it handles itself throughout an entire day. During one 24 hour event, the humidity started wreaking havoc on my guys around mile 60 and eventually caused me to drop.
You also have things like your feet and muscles and a final barrier in the way is the human mind. It is difficult to not think in terms of distance (so, the faster you run, the sooner you finish) but to think in terms of time. Trust me, there are a lot of highs and lows over a period of 24 hours, especially as you get physically tired and want to sleep!
Aleksandr Sorokin actually just started running about 9 years ago, which makes this even more impressive. I mean, think about the mental stamina and drive, not to mention the endurance of muscle and body, to run 24 hours at an average pace of 7:15 per mile. Plus, he started the race off by running the first 26.2 miles (marathon distance) in just 2 hours and 50 minutes! That is something a small overall percentage of marathoners can do in a single race – and Aleksandr kept going at an incredible pace for another 21 hours and 10 minutes!
If you had not heard of this incredible world record that had insane endurance and speed, I would not blame you. Unfortunately, it barely got much news coverage, nothing like if Usain Bolt won a world championship. It is unfortunate that such incredible endurance achievements do not get as much notice but hopefully you now know about the name Aleksandr Sorokin and the amazing achievements he has made.
I am training for an upcoming half marathon so had some miles today at around his race pace for this event. I cannot even imagine holding it for another 193 miles! I cannot imagine running 193 miles non-stop! I cannot speak for him, but I am sure it is playing around in his mind to break the 200 mile barrier next year – which would be again, an unimaginable show of endurance and speed.