Amazing People

In Which I Talk About A Couple Of People You Might Not Of Heard Of But Will Probably Tell People About

My marathon running training is going quite well, and to plan at the moment too. (Which is new!) I’ve done a couple of 5 mile runs home, which is roughly 2 miles of uphillness, followed by a nice stretch of 2 miles down hill, then a mile of steady uphillness to finish.

The first 2 miles has a couple of proper hills in which are good training (I keep hearing) but the best part is obviously the downhills. I when I get to this part I feel like holding my hands up in the air and going WHHHHHEEEEEEEEEE all the way down, but as it takes about 15-20 minutes I’m not sure that I could WHHHHHHEEEEEEEE for that long.

The first time I ran the 5 miler I did it in 55:45 and the second time I did it in 54:00. I’m running the same route home tonight, but it’s due to get up to 26 degrees (78F) and have forgotten my water bottle, so might cut it short to 3.5 miles then run to work in the morning to get the miles in.

My training plan for Monday is a steady 7.5 miles and have worked out a route along the Leeds-Liverpool canal to run where it’ll be flat all the way. Not going for hills because that runs about distance, not time, but Monday supposed to be even hotter than today so will have to get up early to go run. Feel free to join in!

Anyway, back to the title of the blog and to your lesson for today. That’s right, it’s not just entertainment here, it’s education too! (Edu-tainment!)

Madonna Buder

Have you heard of her? If so, you can go play outside for a bit while I talk to the class.

Madonna Buder is an athlete. A triathlete, even. Actually, she’s an Ironman triathlete athlete. She didn’t start training until she was 48 years old and since then has completed 45 seperate Ironman events, and over 300 triathlons.

Impressive already, but it gets better:

She’s the oldest person to complete an Ironman event (The event was Ironman Canada) and she finished inΒ 16:32:00.

She was 82 years old.

Those aren’t the best things about Madonna Buder though. The 2nd best thing about her is that they have to keep creating a new age bracket for her as she keeps entering the Ironman events.

The best thing about Buder, however, is this:

She’s been, since the age of 23, a Nun. (Nicknamed, obviously, ‘The Iron Nun.’)


Madonna Buder ‘The Iron Nun’

Cliff Young

In Australia, they used to have an Ultra Marathon which goes between Sydney and Melbourne. It was 544miles (875k) and was said to be one of the toughest in the world. Before the race was officially run for the first time, the fastest anyone had run between the two places was around 7 days.

Ultra Marathoners and elite runners, 20-30 years old, turned up and the day of the race, as did Cliff Young.

Cliff Young

Cliff Young

Cliff was a farmer. A 61 year old farmer. With arthritis in most of his leg joints. A 61 year old farmer who turned up to race the 544miles in boots and overalls instead of running shoes and shorts.

Obviously, the reporters descended on Cliff and asked him what the hell he was thinking. He told them that he lived on a farm and had 2’000 animals, sometimes he’d have to run after these animals for a couple of days, sometimes three days, before getting them all herded together, so the way he saw it it was only a few more days of doing the same.

The gun went off, the pack went off, and Cliff did a sort of shuffle-walk-stumble run thing. He was left well behind by everyone else.

After 17 hours of running, the Elites and Ultras bedded down for the night, the plan from the get-go being that you ran as far and as hard as you could for 17 hours, slept for 7, then repeated til the end.

When they woke up in the morning to start again, they were told that Cliff Young, in his boots and overalls, was a dozen or so miles in the lead.

He hadn’t slept, and hadn’t stopped.

Turns out that when Cliff said he chased sheep for 2-3 days, he meant continually, never stopping, never sleeping. For three days at a time.

He wasn’t caught for the rest of the race, finishing in a time of 5 days, 15 hours and 4 minutes, a full 10 hours in front of the closest Elite and close to two days ahead of the record for the fastest run between Sydney and Melbourne.

They presented him with a check for $10’000 for winning the race, and he was shocked because he didn’t know there was any prize money. He felt bad about keeping it saying ‘Everyone else worked just as hard as me’ and so divided the money equally between all the runners.

At age 63 he ran 150 miles within 24 hours.

At 76 year-old he attempted to run AROUND THE EDGE OF AUSTRALIA but had to stop after 3’800 miles (6250k) as his only crew member (who was driving the route) passed out from illness. (That’s about the distance from one side of America to the other, and then halfway back again.)

At 79, he became the oldest man to finish a six-day Ultramarathon, and it was while he was dying of cancer.

Cliff died in 2003, at the age of 81. He never kept any of his prize money, and gave it all to charities or friends.


On A Lighter Note

Sometimes you only hear of someone dying when the radio plays a few of their songs that you haven’t heard for a while. Yesterday, they played ‘Right Here Waiting’ by Richard Marx in the morning. ‘Haven’t heard one of his songs in a while!’ I thought.

In the afternoon, they played ANOTHER of his songs. I got on to Twitter and looked to see if he had an account.

Richard Marx: Alive!

Richard Marx: Alive!


51 thoughts on “Amazing People

  1. Pingback: “The Iron Nun” and a little humor | Seriously Outnumbered

  2. Another great write up! You are a natural with your words, obviously!
    A friend of mine had JUST told me about Cliff a few days ago and here I read about him again. Truly an amazing story. I am going to share this post on Facebook and tag my friend so she can read about the Iron Nun. I plan to do more research on her as well.


  3. Wow, love this story. Cliff was amazing and so inspirational. thank you for posting

  4. Reblogged this on Bull Run Foot Clinic Blog and commented:
    Interesting post from Run, Hemingway, Run! Inspirational folks who are die-hard runners.

  5. Great post, truly inspirational people, kinda makes me feel silly for complaining when I go out running in the heat!

  6. Fantastic post!!! Love it. I will be sharing those people’s stories with friends and family asap. Amazing people.
    Thank you for reading and liking my post about running. (Which I can’t …or won’t…do.) I’m inspired by those who can, and will πŸ™‚

  7. As an Australia who runs, I’m kind of upset with myself that I’d never heard of Cliff Young until today. What a legend – I will be telling all my clients and friends about this guy!

  8. You weren’t kidding when you said we’d want to talk about these people after learning about them. Seriously some truly inspirational stuff!

  9. I had the privilege of meeting Sister Madonna (the Iron Nun) last year when I raced Ironman Canada and again this year as she worked in the medical tent for Ironman Coeur d’Alene. She is an incredible woman and inspiring athlete. She told me that they keep opening age brackets for her for Ironman. (She is racing Challenge Penticton in August) I told her I can only “hope” to be racing IM’s when I am 82.
    I have never heard of Cliff Young. What a man!! Great story!
    Thanks for sharing.

  10. Thanks for the story of Cliff Young. I thought about him on my long lonely run on Sunday – thanks for the inspiration.

  11. What a great blog. The story on ol’ Cliffy bought a wee tear to my eye. What an incredible man!!! Australia is HUGE and real HOT!! Legend!!!! I am pleased to hear Richard Marx is alive and kicking too. I shall sleep better tonight πŸ™‚

  12. Lmao, I actually saw Richard Marx in concert in the late 80s. My sister had a huge crush and I brought her for her birthday. We made her wear a drool bib with her name on it (not kidding)

  13. I’ve heard of Cliff Young but not the Iron Nun. I knew nuns were tough but that’s beyond amazing.

  14. Great story about Cliff Young. I need a little inspiration these days. That and your progress really help. Thanks!

  15. I love these stories. Thanks for sharing them. They motivate me to get my lazy(less) self back into competitive mode. I am sure I saw Sister Buder pass me during the run leg of a past triathlon. πŸ™‚

  16. Thanks for the inspiration, I have heard of Cliff before but not the Nun…they are awesome!

  17. Being an Aussie, I remember Cliffy Young very well. I was only young when he ran his ultras, but I remember them like it was yesterday. He was a great ambassador for our country and for running, and will live on in the hearts of the Australian people for many years to come.

    • Was he on the news a lot over there then? Onlt heard of him by chance, when I was having a look at races!

      • Yes he was (and still is) a national icon and was followed by news reporters. In fact the country didn’t know what ultra marathons were until Cliffy blew them all away with his amazing character and determination.

  18. What a great post! I loved reading about these amazing people. How inspiring! It’s so easy to think we’re to old to do extraordinary things. Wow! Thank goodness Richard Marx is ok, too!

  19. Marc,
    First off, don’t forget salt tabs! (Or Succeed caps…my favorites). I’ve a feeling that “your” 78 degrees is like my 106. You have humidity, I have, umm, dry heat πŸ™‚
    I have watched Madonna in action. She is truly an inspiration.
    Although I have rambled and brushed elbow with the ultra running community, I’d not heard of Cliffy. I am SO sorry I never got to watch the legend. I will have to get the book if it is available in the U.S.
    It sounds like you have your training plan well in hand and your goal in sight. Stay hungry! Not literally…..

    • I’ll be stocking up on some for tomorrows 7.5 miles! We don;t really get much sun over here so it’s rare to run on a sunny day, loads end up dehydrated or ill.
      I think they’re making a film about Cliff!

  20. I really enjoyed this post. Thank you for sharing about such amazing people!

  21. Really enjoyed this post, thanks so much for writing this! πŸ™‚ So incredibly inspired by that story of Cliff Young, and you were right I did want to talk about him (and Richard Marx, actually) I had to stop my husband and read him this post. Well done! πŸ˜‰

  22. I have heard of the running nun and think I’ve seen her finish quite a few Kona Ironmans (Ironmen???). She is so cool. Too funny about reaching Richard Marx!

  23. Wow! What fantastic people, so motivational!

  24. The long WEEEEEEE will come. Just like everything, it takes persistence and practice. I BELIEVE IN YOU! =]
    Seriously though, these are some fantastic people who we can all learn a little something from.

  25. Thanks for this! Those people are amazing!

  26. Love your blog and enjoyed hearing about maddona and cliff. I started running at 45 1/2 and it makes me feel like I haven’t left it too late after all!

  27. Very very glad to hear your training is coming along as it should! Yay! You are in for a great race!

  28. Ha, wheeeee, that’s funny but I know the feeling well. Thanks for the story about Cliffy. I had not seen that one. My family of non-runners enjoyed that one too.

  29. Ha, Wheeeee, that’s funny, but I know the feeling. Had not heard of Cliffy. My family enjoyed the story too.

  30. Thank you for this post! It’s wonderful to hear inspirational stories like these-and to laugh at the Richard Marx tweets! Good to hear that your training is going well. Keep up the good work.

  31. Maybe I have a heat stroke from my run this morning (already HOT!) but this post made me more than a bit weepy. Especially the way you wrote about Cliff Young – what an amazing man he was! Good luck with the run in the sun – try to get some water if you can to run with. Maybe with an electrolyte tablet thrown in.

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