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This page last updated: Saturday 20 March 2010

Australian Ultra Runners Association || CoolRunning

Kouros Sets World 24 Hour Record

Greek-born Australian Yiannis Kouros has produced what is probably the most phenomenal endurance feat in modern times by obliterating his own world track 24-hour record Oct. 4-5 in Adelaide. The race started and ended at 8 a.m. local time.

Kouros ran the equivalent of seven successive marathons in a single day, covering 303.5 kilometres or 188 miles, 103 yards. The exact distance, which may change by a few metres/yards, has not yet been reported by The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, which organized the race.

The 41-year-old runner was frustrated in several earlier this year in his decade-long desire of breaking the 300km barrier -- first by heavy rains, and then by injury. In his successful attempt, he was totally focused. In his own words, he said he would never be as fit again and if he never ran another 24 hour race, this would be his ultimate effort.

Kouros cruised through the early laps, reaching 100 kilometres in 7:15. In recent years he has opted for a more even-paced approach, but not on this day. He reached 150km (93 miles) in 11:05:02, a new Australian record, and 100 miles in 11:57:59. This put him 13 minutes ahead of his previous world record schedule.

He had covered 161.346/100.25 miles by the time he reached 12 hours, running a totally-inspired race, looking strong and pushing his limits. He reached 200km (124.25 miles) in 15:10:27, a new absolute world best. He was beginning to feel the pain and as the race went on he forced an increasingly unwilling body to submit to his indomitable will. In fact, he was running faster than any human ever done at that point in a 24-hour race.

Covering each lap in about two minutes, and urged on by his handling crew and Sri Chinmoy organizers, Kouros drove himself relentlessly. By 17 hours into the race he had covered 138 miles/222.4km, a distance that most ultrarunners would be delighted to settle for in an entire 24-hour race.

But even the remarkable Kouros has his limits. Twenty hours into the race he began to find them. He had a "bad patch," his laps slowed slightly, he stopped talking as he focused his will on maintaining his momentum.

Meanwhile, his crew continued their race-long refuelling, placing small pieces of food in his mouth as he passed each lap. Then, slowly, as dawn broke and the warmth of day seeped over the track, the great ultrarunner revived..

He began shouting to his crew as he circled the track, seeking more "fuel" to drive his flagging body over the final crucial hours. He needed to cover 18km/11.1 miles in the last two hours to reach the goal that had eluded him for so many years, the target on which he had set his mind and from which he would not be denied.

When he finished, he declared emphatically, "I will run no more 24 hour races. This record will stand for centuries." He complimented the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, saying he was determined to set his greatest 24 hour mark in one of their races because they are always so well organized and supportive.

Kouros could be right about his record lasting for centuries. His new world record is 17 miles/27.3km greater than the next best 24- hour distance on records, a dominance unmatched in athletics and probably in all of sport.

Yiannis Kouros: his race and his splits

01 hours: 14 km - 35 laps
02 hours: 28 km - 70 laps
Marathon: 2:59:59
03 hours: 42.2 km - 106 laps
50 Km: 3:24:15
04 hours: 56 km - 140 laps
05 hours: 70 km - 175 laps
50 Miles: 5:47:52
06 hours: 83.5 km - 208 laps
07 hours: 96.8 km - 242 laps
100 Km: 7:15:00
(Australian national record)
08 hours: 110.4 km - 276 laps
09 hours: 123.2 km - 308 laps
10 hours: 136.1 km - 340 laps
11 hours: 149 km - 373 laps
150 Km: 11:05:02
(Australian national record)
100 Miles: 11:57:59
(Australian national record)
12 hours: 161.8 km - 404 laps
13 hours: 173.8 km - 434 laps
14 hours: 185.8 km - 464 laps
15 hours: 198 km - 495 laps
200 Km: 15:10:27
(world record)
16 hours: 209.9 km - 524 laps
17 hours: 221.8 km - 554 laps
18 hours: 233.4 km - 583 laps
150 Miles: 18:44:45
19 hours: 244.4 km - 610 laps
250 Km: 19:28:35
20 hours: 256 km - 640 laps
21 hours: 267.8 km - 669 laps
22 hours: 279.2 km - 698 laps
23 hours: 291.4 km - 728 laps
300 Km: 23:43:38
24 hours: 303.506 Km
(world record)