Any time a runner gets a PR (personal record) or better yet, breaks a world record, it doesn’t matter if it’s by one minute, one second, or just a fraction of a second.
Of course, while bigger jumps in time are often more gratifying, as long as you’re getting faster or taking down existing records, any new record is valid and worthy of celebration.
Those dialed into the ultramarathon scene might be aware that ultrarunner Aleksandr Sorokin broke his own 100 km world record this past Sunday, May 14, 2023, in his hometown of Vilnius, Lithuania.
While Sorokin only bested the 100 km world record (his own record) by six seconds—arguably a small margin for the distance—he’s already so fast for ultramarathon distances that even just a one-second improvement would have been remarkable.
What’s even more impressive is that Lithuanian ultra-running champion Aleksandr Sorokin is 41 years old.
While this certainly isn’t old by any means, it’s a bit past the prime of most distance runners and indicative of Sorokin’s smart training and incredible fitness.
He ran the 100km race (62.14 miles) in six hours, five minutes, and 35 seconds (6:05:35), which works out to an average of 3:39 per kilometer or about 5:53 per mile.
The ultramarathon course involved running laps of roughly a one-mile loop in the capital city of Lithuania on the roads. Sorokin blazed through over 61 laps over the course of his world record-breaking performance.
The course and event were specifically designed and built around Sorokin to break the 100 km world record, and he was paced by some of the fastest ultra runners in the world.
The 100 km event was called the World’s Fastest Run and was sponsored by Nord Security.
In order to be a world-record-eligible event, the race was certified by World Athletics and approved by the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) and the Athletics Federation of Lithuania.
Sorokin took to his Instagram account after the race and wrote, “The track was great, great support, some heat and stomach issues didn’t let to fly faster. Thank you all competitors, partners, family members, friends, thank you for support.”
To train for his 100 km world record attempt, Sorokin ran peak mileage weeks that exceeded 360 kilometers (hitting an average of over 50 km per day of training).
Clearly, his hard work and time paid off.
Sorokin isn’t new to ultramarathon world records.
In fact, Sorokin currently holds five world records simultaneously, making him the only runner in the world to have as many world record race times at once.
His new 100 km world record is actually on the shorter end of his range.
Sorokin’s current world records also include the 100-mile world record (10:51:39 set in Israel in 2022) and the longest distances for six hours (98,496 km set in the U.K. in 2022), 12 hours (177,410 km set in Israel in 2022), and 24 hours (319,614 km set in Italy in 2022).
As can be seen, 2022 was an incredible year for Aleksandr Sorokin, and with his new 100 km and world record in the first half of 2023, he looks to be on a roll for another great year of running.
Sorokin says he now is setting his sights on becoming the first ultrarunner to run at least 200 miles (321.86 km) in 24 hours.
While this may sound impossible to those of us who are mere mortals (recreational or age-groupers), Sorokin’s goal, though lofty, is certainly not within striking distance for this ultrarunning champion.
In 2022, Sorokin covered 319.61 kilometers (198.6 miles) in a 24-hour ultra race.
This leaves an improvement of just 1.4 miles to reach his goal.
If Sorokin’s latest record is evidence of continued improvement at endurance races, we have full confidence that he will be smashing the 200-mile distance in one of his next attempts in a 24-hour ultramarathon.
You can follow Aleksandr Sorokin in his quest to break more ultramarathon records on his Instagram account here.