How We Win The Race

The Slow Loping Pace Of An Australian Potato Farmer

by Niall Doherty Updated: August 27, 2018

There was once a 61-year-old Australian potato farmer named Cliff Young.

But this Cliff Young fella wasn’t just any old ordinary Australian potato farmer.

You see, Cliff Young liked to run.

He ran with a strange shuffle technique and he wasn’t very fast – which was understandable, given that he was 61 years of age – but he liked to run anyway.

In fact, he liked to run so much, that he decided to go ahead and sign up for the Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon.

Now, an ultramarathon is no joke.

To put it into context, I ran a regular 26-mile marathon fifteen years ago, back when I was a fresh-faced 21 year old, and along the way I literally felt like I was going to DIE.

I kinda looked like this.

And that was only 26 miles.

The Sydney to Melbourne Ultramarathon, the one 61-year-old potato farmer Cliff Young signed up for, is 544 miles.

Five Hundred and Forty Four MILES!!!

That’s 875 kilometres, the equivalent of 21 regular marathons back-to-back!

Or certain death for my 21-year-old self.

But that’s what Cliff Young, the 61-year-old potato farmer, signed up for.

And when he showed up at the start line for that race, he was laughed at by everyone.

There he was, probably twice the age of any other competitor, sporting his regular farmer outfit of overalls and gumboots.

And everyone laughed at the man.


But they weren’t laughing for long.

Because not only did Cliff finish the race… he finished it in 5 days, 15 hours and 4 minutes, which was 2 FULL DAYS faster than any previous run between Sydney and Melbourne, and TEN HOURS faster than anyone else in the race.

Yes, Cliff actually went and won the feckin thing.

By a massive margin.

I mean, talk about an underdog story. I’m amazed someone hasn’t made a big cheesy Hollywood movie about this yet.

Closest thing.

But what I like most about the Cliff Young story is that it’s classic tortoise vs. hare. And with that in mind, here are a few words from his Wikipedia page:

He ran at a slow loping pace and trailed the leaders for most of the first day, but by running while the others slept, he took the lead the first night and maintained it for the remainder of the race.

Whenever I feel like I’m falling behind with work stuff, or whenever other people seem to be much further ahead with their online businesses, I find it helpful to remember Cliff the potato farmer.

His story reminds me that it’s not one big push that will get me where I want to go. Instead it’s a “slow loping pace,” practiced consistently, day after day, week after week, making steady progress while others “sleep.”

That’s how we get ahead.

That’s how we win the race.

Not any one big push. But steady, consistent effort.

In the comments below…

Tell me what one small thing you can start doing consistently, every day, to get you where you want to go.

(And make sure it’s a small thing, nothing too big or intimidating, because it’s hard to keep that up.)


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