Remarks to Yiannis Kouros upon his breaking the world record for 24 hours1

You have made our track, our race, historical and immortal. For that I am extremely proud of you. You are not only a Greek. You have become a universal figure.

Previously people thought the four-minute mile was impossible. Then they saw it was quite possible. Now you have proved that long-distance running is also something that a human being can easily do. There are many who will follow you, but you have become the forerunner, the harbinger of a new world. You have brought here on earth a new world, and so many runners will follow you. I am extremely, extremely proud of you….

This is just the beginning. You will do on earth many miracles — miracle after miracle. Now people are not admiring ultramarathons. They care only for short distance — a mile or even up to a marathon. But because of the glory you have brought into the world for ultramarathons, you will see that the whole world will appreciate and admire ultramarathons the way they appreciate marathons. They will think of ultramarathoning and long-distance running and your name together. Whenever they say "ultramarathon," they will say "Yiannis" at the same time. You are the supreme hero of ultramarathoning.


  1. PRT 8. 1984, Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, New York