Legendary and inspiring.
This was Cliff Young, a 61-year-old Australian farmer.
Back in 1983, Cliff showed up at the start of a race in Sydney; but this was no ordinary race…
It was a 543.7 mile run from Sydney to Melbourne!
Taking his age into account and that he wore overalls and work boots, the other competitors naturally thought Cliff was a spectator. That was until he picked up his race number and joined the other runners.
The press and other athletes were understandably concerned. They told him “You’re crazy, there’s no way you can finish this race.” To which he replied, “Yes I can. You see, I grew up on a farm where we couldn’t afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I’d always catch them. I believe I can run this race.”
The race started, and the professionals who were all under 30 years of age quickly left the 61-year-old man behind. Cliff kept the press and crowd entertained because he didn’t even run properly; he shuffled and many feared for his safety.
All the professional athletes knew that it took around 5 days to finish the race. To compete, one had to run about 18 hours a day and sleep the remaining 6 hours. The thing is, Cliff Young didn’t know that!
When the morning of the second day came, everyone was in for another surprise. Not only was Cliff still in the race but he’d been jogging (shuffled) all night.
Eventually Cliff was asked about his tactics for the rest of the race. To everyone’s disbelief, he said he’d run through to the finish without sleeping.
Cliff kept running. Each night he came a little closer to the leading pack. By the final night, he’d passed all the young world-class athletes and he was the first competitor to cross the finish line and set a new course record!
When Cliff was awarded the winning prize of $10,000, he said he didn’t know there was a prize and insisted that he hadn’t entered the race for the money. To prove his point, he gave all his winnings to several other runners, an act that endeared him to all of Australia.
In the following year, Cliff entered the same race and came home in 7th place. Not even a displaced hip during the race stopped him.
Cliff Young passed away in 2003 at the age of 81.
Today, the “Young-shuffle” has been adopted by ultra-marathon runners because it’s considered more energy-efficient. At least three champions of the Sydney to Melbourne race have used the shuffle to win the race and most of the competitors don’t sleep; just like Cliff.
A remarkable story don’t you think.
And just like the professional athletes, I regularly come across people who could be doing things differently and better with their IT.
So when you use your computer, do you get a sense that you’ve picked up certain habits, a way of doing things that aren’t necessarily the best way?
Get the feeling that there could be an alternative and more effective way?
If you do, get in touch to see how we can help you.