On Sept. 17, the world’s fastest ultrarunner, Aleksandr Sorokin of Lithuania, demolished his previous 24-hour world record from a year ago, running 319.61 kilometres at the IAU 24-hour European Championships in Verona, Italy. There is no doubt that Sorokin’s record will stand the test of time, but the 40-year-old ultrarunner says he’s not done yet with the 24-hour distance.
After breaking Yiannis Kouros’s long-standing 24-hr record of 303.506 km a year ago, with 309 km, Sorokin has once again redefined human performance, beating his old mark by more than 10 kilometres.
No runner has ever covered 200 miles (321.86 km) in 24 hours, but Sorokin has come the closest, with his most recent record of 319.61 km. “I have unfinished business with the 24-hour distance,” he says. “There’s much more to come.”
Ten kilometres is a significant improvement for Sorokin in a year, but he says he hasn’t changed much in his training. “Nothing has changed, but little by little, my body has become faster,” he says. “We’ve added a little more mileage this time around, too.”
Three to four weeks out from the European championships, Sorokin’s peak training weeks were between 360 and 380 kilometres (an average of 50-plus kilometres per day).
“My training for these ultra races is no secret,” Sorokin says. “My coach and supporters motivate me to achieve my goals and work hard.” Sorokin has a public Strava profile where he uploads all his training in the lead-up to each race.
In a 2021 interview with Sorokin, he spoke about how winning European championship gold for Lithuania was his ultimate goal when he began running in 2013. Sorokin holds seven world records on the track and road: 100,000m (track), 100 miles (road), 100 miles (track), six-hour run, 12-hour run (track), 12-hour run (road), 24-hour run (road).
The Lithuanian distance runner has no races planned for the immediate future but he is excited for what is yet to come. “I think running 200 miles in 24 hours is possible,” says Sorokin. “There are many factors that need to go your way—like good weather and a fast course.”
In January, Sorokin became the first runner to break the 11-hour barrier for 100 miles in 10 hours, 51 minutes and 39 seconds at the Spartanion Race race in Tel Aviv, Israel.