Lithuanian runner Aleksandr Sorokin is on top of the world. The ultrarunner is unstoppable, repeatedly demolishing records previously thought unbreakable. On Saturday he bested his previous 24-hour record from 2021, running 319.614 kilometres at the IAU 24-hour European championships, held in Verona, Italy. In 2021, Sorokin ran 309.4 kilometres in 24 hours, beating the legendary Yiannis Kouris‘ 1997 record of 303.3 km.
Sorokin averaged a 4:30/km pace over the 24-hour period, sharing on Instagram that he began with 3:55-3:58/km pace and managed to finish with a 5:05-5:10/km pace. Sorokin added: “I’m very tired, but double excited” before thanking his supporters.
Over the last seven years Sorokin has worked his way to the top of the international 24-hour game, with his fast-starting style and never-say-die attitude. In recent years his work has clearly started to pay off, with record after record being broken. In 2019, Sorokin had his breakout performance when he ran 278.972 km at Albi, France to take the world championship.
Sorokin, 41, didn’t start running until 2013, when he was 32. “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.” He knew he needed a lifestyle change. “Then I just began running,” he says. “The thing about running is you can do more than you think you are capable of,” Sorokin says. He is motivated by the unlimited challenges in the sport and inspired by the running community. “I hope that my journey has inspired others to chase their goals.”
Sorokin fuels with a mix of water, electrolyte drinks and Coke, and consumes about 400 calories per hour from a variety of gels, chips, cookies and candy.
“It’s a synergy between the physical and mental states of your body and your mind,” Sorokin said of his mind-boggling performances. He emphasizes the importance of both physical and mental preparation for ultradistance events, particularly through the mentally taxing night portion of longer races. Sorokin currently holds seven world records: the 6-hour record of 98.5 km, 100K (6 hours, five minutes), 100 miles (10 hours, 51 minutes), 12 hours (177.4 km) and 24 hours.
The world will be watching to see what this remarkable athlete can achieve as he continues his ultrarunning career.
You can see the full results from the IAU 24-hour European championships here.