Available in DVD
Greek with English subtitles
Ultra runners cover incredible distances, many times running for several days at a time. No one has done it better for the last 20 years than Yiannis Kouros. Finally his story is told through his own narration in this film documentary. Kouros has set 152 world records while competing in races such as Athens to Sparta, Sydney to Melbourne, 1,000 miles races, and 6 day events.He descibes his training as well as his routine during the races, including sleeping only 10 minutes during a 48 hour race, only if needed. When he becomes exhausted, he draws inspiration from music, and thinking of other heroic runners such as Phidippidis. As he points out, ultra running is a struggle against both nature and human endurance which takes on an almost metaphysical character.
Archival footage from ultra events are blended with Kouros speaking about his life experiences gained through running. This first person account is broken into sections ranging in time from two minutes to eleven minutes. Here are the section headings as they appear in this film: Ultra running, Childhood, Spartathlon: In the footsteps of Phidippidis, Inspiration, Immigrant in Australia, Family, Sidney-Melbourne, In Pursuit of the Record, Fear, Defeat, Death, and Olympics. The following quotes are taken directly from the subtitles, with Kouros providing the speaking.
"The verb ‘endure’ is not a physical verb, it's a spiritual one. Endure means to withstand…you must be patient and then do solid training. Without patience, you will never conquer endurance."
"I practice a couple of hours morning and evening with many breaks."
"I disagree with speed and quantities; I do quality training with rhythm depending on the race’s needs."
"We are racing against nature, clock, time, distance... your body cannot carry you…to run for 24 or 48 hours or 6 days. No one completes the race via his body but via his mind."
"I eat every 20 min. I drink every 15 min in cold, 10 min in normal and 7 min in heat wave. All this while moving."
"When I run the 24 hrs, I never sleep; I hardly sleep on the 48 hrs unless I have an incredible need to, I sleep for only 10 min on the second night. I’ll rest for 10 minutes... no longer... I cannot afford to lose more time."
"I change my T-shirt every half-hour whilst running, without a second’s delay. When I pause it is for the bare minimum time waste."
"I ask for music on two occasions: When tired and need inspiration or when high and wish to be higher."
"When you are at your lowest, exhausted, having nails missing, knees blown up and a sore back you try to inspire yourself and overcome these obstacles."
"The day after the race, you feel like death itself, you're in bed and they drag you about, massaging you. You drink and get to the toilet ever so often as your kidneys have packed up…indescribable moments."
"In reality, I have lived all by myself and to date, I remain alone... I regard this as a privilege, this is how I gained, I discovered my strengths."
"The rational in doing such a sport, is to experience the extraordinary moments of ‘exceeding’. You cannot experience them in normal life."
"There is nothing more dear than your health, your life, and of course your family."
"I'd like to think myself as a messenger. I want to inspire, give the message that something is doable, it is not improbable... everything is possible as far as I am concerned as long as you go for it."
Kouros shares numerous lessons and we can all learn something about our own endurance, and life, through this film presentation. Others have awarded this film as it captured the 2nd Prize of the 6th Thessaloniki Documentary Section "Images of the 21st Century", for a documentary longer than 45 minutes. Elias Giannakakis wrote and directed this production with the musical score by Marios Aristopoulos. To view a complete list of records for both the road and track, as well as a short biography and gallery of images, visit Yiannis Kouros.com and to purchase this film visit ZombieRunner.com.