Cliff Young - an Otways legend

Cliff Young (athlete) - Wikipedia 
Born Albert Ernest Clifford Young in 1922, a resident and potato farmer of Beech Forest, 'Cliffy' as he is fondly known, was famous for winning the Westfield Sydney to Melbourne Ultra Marathon foot race in 1983 at the age of 61.

Young was known for wearing his gumboots while in training at his potato farm and when rounding up sheep and cattle.  His running style, which expends less energy became known as the The Cliff Young Shuffle and was later adopted by marathon runners who would go on to win subsequent Sydney to Melbourne marathons.  

His win captured the hearts of many around the nation,  impressed by his resilience and strength in enduring the physical aspects of the race but also by his humble and gentle manner.  

Young recalls the end of the race in his book, Cliffy's Book  "Those last 17 kilometres just seemed so far. ... "Just a few more yards," I said to myself through all the noise of fire engine sirens, fireworks, and the cheers from the crowd....I breasted the tape, my trip to hell and back over."   Meeting his mother - "Well done, son. That was all she said, and there were tears in her eyes.  The tears welled in my eyes as well as I embraced her.  I had made my mother proud, but it certainly gave me a bit of a shock to see her there at the finish.  After all she was no spring chicken at the age of 89,"(Young 1995 p50, 53) 

 His generosity donating prize monies to charitable causes was much admired.  He used his Sydney to Melbourne money to help kick start the fundraiser to build an indoor sports centre at the Lavers Hill Consolidated School.

Young is commemorated in Beech Forest through a gumboot memorial stone named after him, a street name and this year during the Hunt for the Golden Gumboot event.

A 61 Year Old Potato Farmer Once Won One of the World's Most Grueling  Athletic Competitions
Cliff Young in training

Anthony Zappelli talks to Old Beechy Friends on Cliff Young


Young C (1995) Cliffy's Book pp50, 53 High Country Publishing, Dargo Vic