The Thrilling Reversal of Christmas

In 1983, elite distance runners from around the world met in Australia to compete in a weeklong, 544-mile ultramarathon from Sydney to Melbourne. The racers were lean and mean professional athletes, decked from head to toe in the most expensive gear by Nike, Asics, & Puma; all except for Cliff Young, a 61-year-old shepherd in his overalls and work boots. He’d even removed his dentures for the race because he said, “they rattled.” When the gun sounded, the runners leapt from the line and quickly left Cliff far behind as he shuffled along. At the end of the first day, the pack was miles ahead when the runners stopped to get a few hours of sleep…

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