The 10 Most Ridiculously Impressive Ultra-Marathoners of All Time

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No. 6 – Cliff Young

Years Active: 1983 – 2000

Longest Recorded Run: 544 miles

Crazy because… he won an Ultramarathon at age 61.

There is often talk of youth accomplishing feats that many people can only dream of their whole life, especially in China. This is the opposite story. Cliff Young, in overalls and work boots, ran the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon for the first time in 1983. Young grew up on a vast 2,000 kilometer farm where he often had to herd the sheep in himself, sometimes claiming that it took him two or three days of running. So when the spectators of the big race asked him if he really thought he could finish, he didn’t feel he needed much of an explanation. The forerunners left him way behind at the gun, but Young carved away at their initial lead every day by NOT SLEEPING. After five days of machine like running–which spectators likened more to shuffling– he beat the pack by almost a full day. He didn’t know there was a prize for the race and gave his entire windfall to other runners. The shuffle of the beloved man was adopted by many as the style of least resistance, and Cliff Young’s legend lives on to inspire anyone with a heart, a will, and a sense of wonder.

  • Adam

    Dean Karnazes says he fell asleep. Blacking out is probably a better explanation … Either way, super impressive!

  • nene

    Yea I don’t like the fact he left his sobriety at the door. hopefully he puts that same strength and willingness into getting it back

  • Laurent

    Can’t believe you only cited males, definitely Ann Trason, Eleanor Adams and possibly a few other females should be on the list IMHO.

    • MtnGrl

      My thoughts exactly!

  • epocian

    Get your facts right – Zatopek won the 5k/10k and marathon in Helsinki. Ted didn’t set a world record 100 miles , he set an American record finishing 3rd behind UK’s John Tarrant and SA’s Dave Box

    • HoosierRunner

      THANK YOU!

  • Brandon

    Marshall Ulrich?

  • Jose Maria Ponce M

    this is so wrong…..the best of all time is Kilian Jornet, and he is not even in this top 10…not cool

  • guest

    you are ranking Dean higher than Kouros ? That is so so wrong ! and what about female ultra runners ? Ann Trason for e.g. ?

  • Lee

    this list is so poorly done and so sexist that I don’t think I’ll follow this site. I’ve run 100 milers, not tons, but I have, I know lots of the history. I’m signed up for 2014 grand slam. I know where of I speak (well, write I suppose).

  • Ben

    Yeah, so, I know other people mentioned her already, but come on, 14 Western States wins in a row. How do you leave that out? Every list is gonna have some snubs, but that is ridiculous.

  • Mark Esteban

    As good as Ted Corbitt was you will find he didn’t win the triple at the 1952 Helsinki Olympics…Emil Zatopek did….

  • Daniel Johnston

    Reading Eat and Run I got the impression Jurek himself thought Kouros was better…

  • Xristoforos

    Unfortunately North American Media has not pushed Kouros enough, or he is not very marketable himself I guess (considering he comes from a small Greek village and with an 80s look). Definitely number ONE ultra-marathoner of all times, still holds all records for distances of 100 miles to 1000 miles. Jurek and Karnazes are built by modern day media which unfortunately blinds us at times.