Here is some news from the department of Superhuman Achievement.
There’s been an interesting development in connection with Across the Years, the race I love so much and help to present at the end of every year. We learned that we will be honored by the participation of Greek ultrarunner Yiannis Kouros (who presently lives in Australia), inarguably the greatest ultrarunner who has ever lived, one of those miraculous people whose successes are so outstanding that they may never be matched.
It’s difficult to explain to non-runners the magnitude of this man’s running accomplishments. He owns every world record from 50K up to 1000 miles, some of them by margins so vast it seems doubtful that anyone will ever approach them. His web site says he presently holds 134 world records. He wins every race he enters, always by phenomenal amounts, and has done so since the first time he ever ran an ultra.
Whenever he enters a race, the other runners accept that Yiannis will be the winner, and feel honored just to be in the same race with the man.
At age 49 Kouros is still extremely active as a runner, although he also does other things. In late November he broke his own six-day record at a race in Australia, beating the runners who was in second place by 132 miles. Think about that one for a while!! Imagine being a world class competitor at super-long distances and running your heart out for six continuous days to keep ahead of the other world class competitors who are hot on your heels — but being beaten by a margin of 132 miles. On a standard 400-meter track, where this race was held, that means the second guy was lapped 531 times by Kouros.
These days most of the records that Kouros sets out to conquer are his own, many set when he was much younger. Kouros wants to come to our race to round out his big most recent world record setting year by breaking the record for 300 miles (about 2.5 days), and then just cruise. Given that last year’s winner John Geesler has set his own goal of 350 miles for the race, Yiannis will have someone to push him from behind for a change.
Yiannis is now married, has a couple of children, has a degree in history, has been an ardent poet since childhood, is a composer and singer with a couple of albums out (I believe Greek popular music), has written a couple of books, paints, travels, lectures on physical fitness, has made some movies, and rarely sleeps more than three hours a day.
To describe him as the Michael Jordan or the Babe Ruth of ultrarunning would be to greatly undervalue his accomplishments. He’s way better than that. Meeting and running in the same race with him will be more like meeting a Beatle. There has never been a runner like him, and may never be again. And he’s coming to run in our race.
We’ll have a webcam going during the race. We’ve already tried and tested it. The race goes from 9:00am December 29, 2005 to 9:00am January 1, 2006. Come join us virtually!