This past weekend, at the IAU 24-Hour European Championships, Lithuania’s Aleksandr Sorokin broke his own world record, running 319.614 kilometers/198.599 miles. His average pace worked out at 7:15 per mile or 4:30 per kilometer for 24 straight hours. He went about 10 kilometers over his own previous best of 309.400 kilometers/192.252 miles from the 2021 UltraPark Weekend 24 Hour race in Poland on August 28 and 29, 2021.
We recently interviewed Sorokin, back in April 2022, when he broke the 100-kilometer world record in a time of 6:05:41. Then he told us about his background in sport — as a Lithuanian champion kayaker, before a shoulder injury ended his career at age 25, and he eventually found running later in life.
We caught up with him again this week in the aftermath of his latest record-breaking run. Read what he has to say about it here.
iRunFar: How are you? We last interviewed you after you broke the 100-kilometer world record back in April. How has your training been since that? I saw you raced 5,000 meters. How was that? Have you been doing more speedwork in the last block of training?
Aleksandr Sorokin: Before the 100k, I did more speedwork than before this race. But there weren’t many differences in the training plan, maybe just more mileage. Yes, I raced 5,000 meters, but it was like training and I didn’t prepare for it as a race.
iRunFar: How many kilometers per week were you getting in at the peak of this training block?
Sorokin: Three hundred to 370k per week.
iRunFar: With this race being the IAU 24-Hour European Championships, you were representing your country as well as yourself. Does that feel different or special compared to a normal race? Is there added pressure?
Sorokin: Yes, this race was the main race of the year, and for sure I felt more pressure. But this helps me to train better.
iRunFar: How did you feel going into the race?
Sorokin: Until 12 hours, everything was okay. But after that I really suffered, because my running tactics were bad; I began too fast. And the lap wasn’t perfect, there were many sharp turns, and a lot of people.
iRunFar: Did you have a particular goal?
Sorokin: My goal was to run about 200 miles.
iRunFar: How did the race go, in terms of your pacing strategy, and also nutrition strategy?
Sorokin: Like I wrote, my pacing tactics were bad, I began the run too fast. Nutrition tactics were like always: for the first few hours, I followed the plan of taking around 400 calories per hour and 500 milliliters of liquids per hour, taking sandwiches and isotonic drinks. After that, it was absolutely a mix of everything: isotonic drinks, cookies, chips, bananas, oranges, beer, and cola.
iRunFar: It seemed like the weather was a little challenging. How did you find the conditions?
Sorokin: We were lucky, the weather was mostly good. Just for the first few hours, it was cold and rainy, and at night it was a little too cold. But better a little cold than too hot.
iRunFar: The track seemed to be a little congested with a lot of runners. Was this a problem?
Sorokin: Yes, I think this was my main problem and cause of suffering.
iRunFar: You ran very well in the second half, even if you were suffering a lot for the second 12 hours. How is it that you manage to continue to hold a strong pace when feeling bad?
Sorokin: When I suffer, I think about my country, my friends who support me, and my wife. Other than that, it’s my choice. I know there will be pain, suffering. I just keep going.
iRunFar: Do you still hope to break the 200-mile mark in a 24-hour race sometime?
Sorokin: Yes, I’m absolutely sure. Two hundred miles is not a limit.
iRunFar: What do you think you will need to do differently to hit the 200-mile mark, either in the preparation or on race day?
iRunFar: What have you planned to do next?
Sorokin: For the rest of this year, no races. After that, I don’t have a plan yet.
iRunFar: Finally, you broke a world record, but it sounds like you had a difficult day. So, how do you feel now about it? Are you happy?
Sorokin: I did my plan about 90% to 95%, so I’m happy. First of all, it’s a very proud thing to [break the world record] at a big event, like the European championships, rather than somewhere small. And I’m very honored to represent my country. So, I can say, yes.
Call for Comments
- Were you following this race? What were your thoughts?
- For how long could you hold Sorokin’s 24-hour pace?!