At the IAU 24-hour European Championships, Lithuanian ultramarathon runner Aleksandr Sorokin broke his own world record by covering a distance of 319.614 kilometres in 24 hours. At the event in Verona, Italy, Sorokin averaged a pace of 4:30 minutes per km. He beat his own previous record, which he had achieved in August of last year at 303.506 kilometres.
Mr Sorokin covered just 10 fewer kilometres than it would have taken him to cover his country, Lithuania, from top to bottom.
Celebrating this moment the 40-year-old wrote in a post on Instagram, “I’m very tired, however I’m double excited. Very, very thankful for your support, I really felt it.”
Andrzej Piotrowski of Poland finished second (301.858 km) in the contest, which was held on September 17–18, while Marco Visiniti of Italy came in third (288.437 km).
Polish athlete Patrycja Bereznowska finished first among the women after running 256.250 kilometres, beating out Frenchwoman Stephanie Gicquele and fellow countrywoman Malgorzata Pazda-Pozorska.
Last year, by running 309.399 km in a single day, Mr Sorokin broke Yiannis Kouros’ “untouchable” 24-hour world record of 303.506 km.
Mr Sorokin, who turns 41 this month, has recently broken numerous ultrarunning records and, surprisingly, he only began running in 2013 in an effort to lose weight.
In an interview with The Independent, he said, “I began running to get in shape when I weighed 100 kg (220 lb.). At the time, I wasn’t playing any sports, just drinking and smoking a lot. Then I just began running. The thing about running is you can do more than you think you are capable of.”
Mr Sorokin described the feeling of those last painful miles of an ultramarathon as “radical acceptance.”
“There’s only one word to describe the last hours of a race: torture. Time feels like it goes slower. The laps feel like they get longer,” he said to The New York Times.