It seemed that nothing was impossible for Lithuanian ultramarathoner and world record holder Aleksandr Sorokin. However, in his recent attempt to break his 24-hour world record in his hometown of Vilnius, Lithuania on Sept. 16 and 17, his courageous effort fell short as he withdrew from the race after 12 hours of running.
Sorokin, who had set the previous 24-hour world record of 319.6 km (198 miles), aimed to cover an astounding 322 km (200 miles) in 24 hours, hoping to become the first man to reach the 200-mile mark in that time span. To achieve this feat, he needed to maintain a pace of 4 minutes and 28 seconds per kilometre without stopping. After eight hours, he found himself 25 minutes ahead of the record, but as he reached the middle of the night, he halted his record attempt.
Sorokin humbly shared his experience on social media, expressing his disappointment at not achieving his goal: “I tried to run 24 hours, but did not finish. My body wouldn’t allow me to keep running. I am sorry everyone.”
He ended up completing 165.21 km in 12 hours, 12 minutes, and 7 seconds, with an average pace of 4 minutes and 26 seconds per kilometre.
In a 2022 interview with the New York Times, Sorokin described the final hours of the 24-hour race as pure torture, where time seems to slow down, and each lap feels longer than the last.
Despite falling short of his goal on this occasion, Sorokin remains a legendary figure in the world of ultramarathon running. He still holds the world record for the greatest distance run in 24 hours, having achieved a remarkable 319.614 km during the 2022 IAU 24-Hour European Championships. He also currently holds world records/bests for 100K, 100 miles, six hours and 12 hours.