cliff young 61 year old farmer w

Cliff Young – 61-year-old Farmer Who Won the World’s Toughest Race

In 1983, a man named Cliff Young showed up at the start of this race. Cliff was 61 years old and wore overalls and work boots. To everyone’s shock, Cliff wasn’t a spectator. He picked up his race number and joined the other runners.

The press and other athletes became curious and questioned Cliff. They told him, “You’re crazy, there’s no way you can finish this race.” He replied, “Yes I can. See, I grew up on a farm where we couldn’t afford horses or tractors, and the whole time I was growing up, whenever the storms would roll in, I’d have to go out and round up the sheep. We had 2,000 sheep on 2,000 acres. Sometimes I would have to run those sheep for two or three days. It took a long time, but I’d always catch them. I believe I can run this race.”

This video tells the inspiring story of Cliff Young.

 Additional Resources:

  • Read Cliff’s entire story at
  • Here is a website with more information about Cliff and his amazing running skills.

Topics for Discussion:

  • What qualities did Cliff show in deciding to compete in the race and in winning it?
  • Has anyone ever surprised you by doing something you didn’t think they’d ever be able to do?

Take Action:

  • In 1997, at age 75, Cliff participated in a run in order to help homeless kids. Can you use your talents to help someone in your community?
  • Check out the Ehow website to learn how you can organize your own charity walk or run!

Teacher Features:

  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for elementary school students.
  • Here is a link to a Critical Reading Skills worksheet that you can use for middle school students.


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