2023 IAU Athlete of the Year Award Winners Announcement

We are delighted to announce the winners of the 2023 IAU Athlete of the Year award: Miho Nakata (JPN) and Aleksandr Sorokin (LTU).

Photo: Aneta Mikulska, IAU Communication Committee

Following a rigorous voting process, the 2023 winners emerged from a field of 14 women and 14 men who were listed as final nominees. Notably, 9 athletes in both categories received votes, representing over 64% of the total number of athletes entering the process, such a exceptional caliber of athletes involved in the selection process. However, this year’s winners stood out significantly due to their outstanding performances, each setting world records in 2023 and securing victories at the 2023 IAU 24H World Championships. Miho Nakata received 42.3% of the votes, while Aleksandr Sorokin received 50%, both convincingly leading the pack among the 28 nominated athletes.

This marks Miho Nakata's first time receiving the IAU Athlete of the Year award, while Aleksandr Sorokin claimed the title for the third consecutive year, following his victories in 2021 and 2022, making this his fourth time winning the award overall. For more information about both athletes, please refer to the brief bios below.


I would like to congratulate both Miho and Aleksandr on such an outstanding season last year and being voted as the IAU Athletes of the Year. Their dedication and hard work were evident for the world to see. Not only are these two leaders on the tracks but also off of it – working hard promoting the sport in the wider running communities. I also want to congratulate all the other nominees who made the shortlist. You all have made the sport proud and we look forward to reaching the skies again with your performances in 2024.

Nadeem Khan, IAU President


Percentages of votes for top 5 athletes.



Miho Nakata (JPN)



Camille Herron (USA)



Marion Delespierre (FRA)



Maria Satu Iines Lipiäinen (FIN)



Patrycja Bereznowska (POL)





Aleksandr Sorokin (LTU)



Fotios Zisimopoulos (GRE)



Charles Lawrence (USA)



Benjamin Roubiol (FRA)



Chakib Lachgar Latrache (ESP)


Miho Nakata

Miho Nakata, representing Japan, has made significant strides in ultrarunning since 2015 when she first began competing in 100 km races. Over the years, she has consistently improved her performance, culminating in a breakthrough in 2019 when she achieved her personal best of 7:47:34, completing the distance in under 8 hours twice and securing victories in five separate races.

In 2022, Nakata made her debut at the IAU Championships, participating in the IAU 100 km World Championships in Berlin. Her exceptional performance placed her 6th globally, finishing with an impressive time of 7:19:12, making her the top performer in her team. Additionally, she secured a bronze medal in the women's team competition.

The pinnacle of Nakata's career arrived in 2023, marked by her participation in the 2023 IAU 100 km Asia and Oceania Championships in India and the 2023 IAU 24H World Championships in Taipei. In both events, she claimed the gold medal and contributed to her team's success by securing team gold in the 100 km event and team silver in the 24H event. Notably, during the 24H Championships, Nakata set a new IAU 24H World Record, covering a remarkable distance of 270.363 km (pending ratification).

Aleksandr Sorokin

Aleksandr Sorokin, representing LTU, has emerged as a leading figure in the global running arena since 2014, making a memorable debut at the IAU 100 km World Championship in Qatar. His journey has been defined by consistent improvement, particularly in the 24-hour format. Noteworthy milestones include his triumph at the Spartathlon in 2017, followed by a bronze medal at the 2018 IAU 24H European Championship in Romania, and ultimately clinching gold at the 2019 IAU 24H World Championship in Albi, France. Sorokin has steadily elevated his personal best for the 24-hour event, progressing from 260.491 km in 2016 to 260.991 km in 2018. His pinnacle moment arrived in 2019 when he achieved extraordinary distances of 272.708 km and 278.972 km at the IAU World Championship, culminating in setting a new 24-hour world record in 2021, surpassing the legendary Yiannis Kouros with an exceptional 309.399 km (192.29 miles).

The year 2022 brought further triumph for Sorokin as he established a new 24-hour IAU World Record in Verona during the IAU 24H European Championships, reaching an impressive distance of 319.614 km. In 2023, at the IAU 24H World Championships, he secured his second championship victory, achieving another remarkable performance exceeding 300 km. Notably, he and his team secured their first gold medal at the same IAU World Championships in Taipei. Sorokin's remarkable achievements also include setting a new 100 km World Record in 2022, which he improved upon in 2023, now standing at 6:05:35. Additionally, he holds the 6-hour IAU World Record, covering a distance of 98.496 km. In an extraordinary feat, he became the first runner to break the 11-hour barrier on a 100-mile distance, achieving a time of 10:51:39 in 2022 in Tel Aviv, Israel. During the same race, he also set a new 12-hour IAU World Record, covering a distance of 177.410 km.


We would like to congratulate all the nominees and winners of the 2023 IAU Athlete of the Year award.


Jacek Bedkowski

IAU Director of Communication

2023 IAU Athlete of the Year Award Winners Announcement

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