Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race - latest news
This blog contains the latest updates from a number of 3100 related sites:
- The 3100.ws blog, which contains latest updates from race directors Sahishnu Szecisul and Rupantar LaRusso and their support staff.
- Utpal Marshall's 3100 Mile race diary at perfectionjourney.org
- Grahak Cunningham's race diary
- Sopan Tsekov's race diary
This is a review I wrote for Dr. Jared Kohler from Seattle who I visited a few months before this year’s 3100 mile race hoping that he will help me with a major problem I had causing me to get a particular injury two times during the 3100 mile race in 2008 and in 2012 preventing me from staying to the end of the race not even speaking about completing it.
I have run the longest foot race in the world the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race 5 times. In this race runners have to run at least 60.7 miles per day to complete the distance for the time limit of 51 consecutive days.
My first 3100 Mile Race I completed for 51 days, 16 hours. My second I completed for 50 days, 13 hours.
In 2008 I got badly injured during the 3100 Mile Race with an injury caused by problems in my lower back and had to stop at 1,780 miles after 32 days in the race.
In 2012 I tried running the 3100 Mile Race again. This time I could not run beyond 1000 miles after 17 days in the race because of the same identical injury caused by problems in my lower back that created the injury after 2 weeks of running 60 miles per day.
In 2013 a few months before the 3100 MiIe Race I visited Dr. Kohler in the Vital Energy Center where he made a complete evaluation of my problem, he made me adjustments and gave me exercises that would help my problem. I also got custom orthotics in Dr. Kohler’s center as part of his recommendations.
A few months later I was able to run 2,831 miles for 52 consecutive days with absolutely no major physical injuries!!! Thanks to Dr. Kohler I overcame a major chronic problem!
The custom orthotics that I got in the Vital Energy Center are in perfect shape after running with them 3000 miles (400 miles training and 2,600 miles running during my 2013 3100 Mile Race)!!!
The orthotics also helped me tremendously during the race improving my posture, balance and muscle strength which proved crucial for running 52 consecutive days 18 hours a day on the hard concrete surface of the 3100 Mile Race!
The orthotics were also great for running in the rain as the material they are made of hardly absorbs any water keeping them lite and comfortable with less chance of getting blisters when it is wet.
Sopan Tsekov from Bulgaria
On the last day of the 3100 Mile Race Yuri Trostenyuk of Vinnitsa,Ukraine finished in seventh place in his first try, reaching the coveted goal of 3100 miles in 51 days+04:22:11. Yuri averaged 60.57 miles per day(97.48 km). The humble runner talked of his great struggle to get to the race and his gratitude for being able to start, let alone finish. A few hours later Nidhruvi Zimmerman of Vienna,Austria reached 3100 miles in 51 days+09:54:59, beaming with joy after reaching the pinnacle of her long multiday career.She first started doing multidays in the early nineties but was hoping to one day enter this race. The remaining four runners did not make the desired goal but deserve our admiration for going the distance of days(52) and staying to the very end. Thanks to everyone and we hope you enjoyed the race. See you next year.!!
“Thank you everybody for being here. This race wasn’t easy at all for me. I had some really difficult times. The Doctors didn’t know what to do with me and they were deciding at one time if I could even continue the race or not. But then Aparajita appears and he started to sing Sri Chinmoy’s songs to me. And they went straight into my heart. And from there a feeling of devotion, joy, and happiness started to come from within me, and it flooded my entire being completely. It was then that I understood that everything in my life was going to be really good.”
Now here I am happy and joyful. Standing right in front of you. Thank you Sri Chinmoy, thank you Supreme.”
51 days and a few hours ago, Yuri Trostenyuk started off on a long difficult quest to reach this little spot of concrete upon which he now stands. The fact that it is exactly the same spot he started from long ago is one of life’s great cosmic ironies. That you endure and suffer through so much to end up right back where you started from.
Yet for Yuri and also for Nidhruvi, who will arrive here in just a few hours more, there is no sense of futility or meaninglessness. It is true that nothing outwardly has changed around them at all. But all who do this race do not come here for what they see but only for what they will become. For their true goal exists only in heartfelt depths of their own beings. This is why they have taken their lives on the 3100 mile, great and impossible journey.
It is an epic trek, one that has changed and transformed them in ways they have yet to completely to be aware of and understand. Their self transcendence will gradually reveal itself, to both of these first time runners, just as it has for all who have been here also this and year and all those who have made this race the center of their lives for the past 17 summers.
For these chosen few, have not only taken part in what has to be the most difficult sport of all time, but as well been simultaneously part of a divine inner pilgrimage. One in which there is never failure. The accurate measurements of time and distance are not ultimately at all what this race is all about. The suffering, the pain, the fatigue, the mental conflicts, and all the other foibles and failures of humanity are all here but are also irrelevant. Self Transcendence is to reveal only who and what we are within. To bring us back the unmeasurable distance to our own glowing divinity within.
“In his first finish I would have to say that this man smiled more times and waved more hands of joy than any runner in the history of this race. He is a quiet and unassuming man. He is a plumber with 2 kids and a wife back in Vinnitsa Ukraine. But this was his dream to be here.” Sahishnu
Dedication to Stutisheel
My Lord Supreme wants me
Straight towards Him.
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 32, Agni Press, 2003Rupantar plays for Yuri a Russian translation of, ‘you are a good runner.’ Nidhruvi has 35 miles more Baladev likes the numbers he has right now but will be here until midnight just the same on this his last day. This is the last morning for all of this It doesn’t like much but so many miracles have taken place here over the years. From space not much is revealed either. But this is the entire course as seen from above. On the ground the start looks like this. You could not ask for a better day. I spoke a few days ago with Yuri and this is what he said at that time. “When I saw all the others finish I was in heaven. I have never felt this kind of happiness before. I felt complete oneness with the runners. I felt as though it was me finishing. All the joy those finishing runners felt, I felt it within myself as well. When Vasu and Atmavir finished the kind of energy I felt also entered into me I felt it as though I was running.” “Yesterday after Ashprihanal’s finish there was a kind of tranquility that entered into me. Which allowed me to feel oneness with everyone around and also the peace that was within them.” “All the runners have special unique qualities and I could distinctively feel them. This is wonderful. It is getting better and better.” When asked about his own finish then. “This is a feeling I have within my own heart and it is one that is getting stronger and stronger as the finish line approaches.” He also never worried despite all his difficulties about reaching the finish line. “I always felt the Supreme’s love and concern. And when I was experiencing the difficult moments my mind couldn’t believe it. Because my heart could already see the finish. But my mind couldn’t believe why these things were happening to me, at that particular moment.” “Right now I am living in my own heart, which is a place that is very beautiful, it is very nice, and I feel a lot of joy. I never had this kind of feeling before. I am reveling in this feeling at this very moment and I am very happy.” “Now I understand why runners are coming over and over again, year after year to do this race. This is very beautiful, and this is very powerful, and this is very inspiring.” To all those in Oneness Dream Boat shore. “I would like to thank them for the enormous, enormous, enormous support that I feel from them. This support that they were offering to me was as powerful as the mighty ocean. During my difficult moments this support was really propping me up, and was supplying me with energy.” ”The hearts of those disciples supporting me I feel it throbbing within my own heart. My gratitude to those disciples has no bounds. I feel that these disciples were running with me, and this joy and gratitude that I am experiencing now I am offering it all back to them. Thanks to them so much.” Play interview: Yuri interview The course will have runners on it until midnight. Ananda-Lahari will be one of them. He starts the day with 265o miles. Baladev who started the day with 2776 will run until he has done enough. He has a song he wants to share with you. Click below 01 Never Grow Old We will see lots more of Baladev here. Sarah has come for the first time and has stayed until the very end. She is a great champion No one will be surprised to see her again on the course. The Enthusiasm Awakeners salute this magnificent young woman. Sopan is also a great hero for what he has accomplished here. He has conquered many things. The Swami has been here many days. A place that he feels as both a test of himself as well as a sacred home Ultimately we all move at our own speed. Some things not moving too much at all. Or at least not now. These happiness rocks were painted by Parvati’s mom Joey. Her goal is to make 1,000 and distribute them around the world. All different and all painstakingly and beautifully done by hand. Nobody is quite sure just why Vasu is running again this morning. He and Nicolay pick out some rocks to take back home. He also does some yoga in the little park. Looking all so relaxed. Including this one who will soon play tennis. Others have to keep moving all day long. Surasa had said how much she wanted to sit. Today she has a chair and a friend in Snehashila. She is still getting mail with congratulations. It is hard to show it all, both the big and the small. Sarvagata finishes his 5,000 km today. Then does some work helping with the board. Continue and continue One of the ladies who has been walking on the course every morning poses with the Enthusiasm Awakeners. A Picture that Sylvia took So for good measure I take one of her as she picks out her favorite rock. Parvati’s favorite is this one she says. I spoke with Nidhruvi for one last time. Speaking of the daily prayer. “It is definitely meant for me. Today is the last day of the race and I am going to finish, and I got this challenge last night. Before I went home, with my knee, and this morning I get this prayer. So I think that everything has to go alright.” Nidhruvi Recited by Nidhruvi prayer Talking about her knee. “I had an old injury there. It is the ligaments, it is swollen. Before I went home it started. I thought, what was this? It got really big swollen.” She says that she stopped 10 minutes early, just before midnight in order to try and look after it. “To let it rest. I thought, okay, another big challenge. The race is not over yet. I thought I must have another special task to perform. Or whatever it is.” “Whatever this means there is nothing that can hold me back to reach the goal. I know in the inner world that it is done. Guru has done it already. It is written. I just have to have faith and believe that everything is going to be alright. It is Guru’s victory.” “I really want to have a nice day and be happy. And don’t let this little unpleasant friend bother me.” “I am a person who is always like that. I can’t give up. Even when I wanted to. At the beginning of the race after 2 weeks when I got this muscle inflammation. I was brand new in this race, and it was so huge. This wave of fear came over me. I was thinking, my God, my dream is shattering. I was thinking what will happen, to go on, or I will not be able to finish it.” “Then I learned really to surrender, and let my dream go. Whatever the Supreme wants is right, and not what I want or expect. So there was a moment when I had this first injury. I was thinking what shall I do? Should I go home? Should I change my flight? This moment came also. But just once. Then I cast it aside and said NO!” “This is something very special and unique here, it is not only about running. It is much much more in the inner world. This was my big experience when I had to walk for 2 and a half days. Now I am on my last day. So even if these are forces, or my own ignorance, or the ignorance of the world. I must not care.” “I must feel that I am embraced by my Master…….and just stay happy.” “I can see in life that you must always go on. Never lose hope. Go on, go on, and never ever give up. It doesn’t matter what happens to you. Never give up your dreams. You can dream and then you can try and realize them. But at the end you always have to surrender. You never know what God’s plans are.” To play interview: nidhruvi prayer One last thanks to Kevin, Corrina, and this canine. Who has shown up a lot here. Another dog is also well liked here and who also likes others a lot. Then it is all about Nidhruvi and her wonderful finish after her long wonderful race. She is admired by many, not just here but also around the world. nidhruvi finish Particularly by another lady from Vienna who finished last night, Surasa She makes sure to thank all her helpers She is given the tough cookie award which she deserves after going through so much and also taking a fall recently. Surasa the great. Enthusiasm Awakeners parvati I am deeply grateful to so so many of you, who have followed this little offering of mine from time to time, or for some, every day. There are those who have made comments that show me just how much you have identified with this very unique event that Sri Chinmoy created on this city block here in Queens NY. Francesco of course has done something wonderful by writing something every day, but many others have also been moved. They identify in their own unique way, with the Self Transcendence 3100 Mile race. But just the same I am happy and grateful to all of you, the silent, the bold, the aspiring, and all those dreaming of their own self transcendence. Much much gratitude…..Utpal
The path of the heart
Is not only straight
But also vast,
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 22, Agni Press, 2001
Fifty-four year old Surasa Mairer of Vienna, Austria finished first lady and fifth overall today in the penultimate day of the race.She became the oldest runner to ever complete 3100 miles and bettered her own previous finish by over three days. She averaged 61.74 miles per day(99.37 km) and moved into the realm of earlier finishers getting under the original 51 day standard. Her time still ranks 24th out of 34 all-time finishers(3100 miles = 50 days+04:57:24). Almost nine hours later Sarvgata Ukrainskyi of Berdansk, Ukraine finished his third straight 3100 miler, in 50 days+14:33:11. There are two runners left who will reach the coveted goal of ‘Finisher’ in tomorrow’s final day. Go Runners!!!
“I also don’t know what happened. I had no wings. I was not flying. It was running, really running.” On her last full day on the course yesterday Surasa ran an incredible 120 laps. An amount she has not done since way back on the 2nd day of the race. “I realized it when I heard 92 laps and I was looking at the clock and I thought, O My God. I am one hour ahead. It was so easy. It didn’t kill me. The only thing I did differently was I didn’t take so long of breaks. I took shorter breaks. 2 breaks of 25 minutes.”
On her most recent big day, when she ran 117 laps, she took 2 long breaks. Yesterday when she ran 120, “I thought, I am not tired. So I can make shorter ones. This is such a difference. Most of the time I realized I took too long of breaks.”
When asked if for some reason the race distance was extended, could she just keep going? “The feeling yesterday was yes. I could keep on going on.” She has a problem with blisters she says, but otherwise her energy and her body could easily continue. “I am looking forward to just to sit down, and observe the race. It has been such a long time since I sat down.” For the past 50 days she has never also been able to eat at a table, or all of the dozens of little conveniences and habits that we have all taken for granted over the past 50 days. Something her, and all the other runner’s hyper mobile lives simply cannot allow.
In just a few hours from now she will finish her final 20 miles. A distance that for most runners is still a pretty serious task. Yet when you look at her smooth rhythmic style she makes the this extreme sport somehow look effortless. As if she were somehow specially designed from the inside out just to do this. True she got into multi day running almost by accident and yet in her lengthy career she has managed to accomplish a record of achievements that is just a little bit beyond extraordinary.
This humble soft spoken lady from Vienna has world records in distances from 1000km up to 1300 miles. What also should be noted as well about this is perhaps even more amazing. She has never once been beaten in any multi day race she has run. A fact that she would not likely tell you, but you don’t have to search too hard to uncover her long list of achievements. Then to add to all this incredible catalog of facts, is that she is also 55 years old. In a few hours she will not only set her own personal best here she will also be the oldest runner to ever finish the race.
In our world where athletes dance across the playing field when ever they score, Surasa is a reminder to us all that greatness does not have to be demonstrated by fist pumps and loud screams in front of the goal. Quietly doing your best and focusing on the true goal within is also something to celebrate and admire. To understand why she does this so so difficult thing she says, “Sri Chinmoy inspires me most to do it. I see it as an opportunity to finally do something good. This is satisfying, and makes you happy when you know you are doing the right thing.”
Speaking about her friend Nidhruvi who will cross the line tomorrow. “It is so great that we are both finishing.”
At every moment
God is expecting something good,
And not great,
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 35, Agni Press, 2004
Rupantar looks at the board. Something he will have only to do one day more.
Ashprihanal has shown up again, even though he doesn’t have to run.
Sarvagata will also finish this evening. He has to do 56 miles…..He did only 48 yesterday.
“I have no idea what I am going to do.” Sarvagata’s race has been for whatever reason one of the most inconsistent perhaps on record. Yet from his perspective it is all a natural and necessary experience. At the beginning of the day he really doesn’t know if he will be able to finish the race today.
“This race was so unpredictable for me. I could never say that tomorrow I will run this or that. Or even today. Or even next lap. It gives you peace when you don’t know what is going to happen.” I suggest that an unstructured existence is the last thing that most people could cope with.
“It is not that I don’t have any schedule. Because there is a schedule in the race. You have to come at 6 and you have to leave by 12. From one side you have a schedule and from the other side you are not attached to it. I wouldn’t say it was uncertainty. I would say it is really certain. There is somebody out there taking care of me and he knows better what I need. So it is like you have a Mother and a Father who take care of you. You don’t have to worry. Why would I?”
“It is easy to say this here on the course. I would really love to remember this after the race. I really want to remember it.”
“It was a nice surprise this morning I found 40 dollars. In 2 bills, because yesterday I was worrying about the money a little bit. I have proof now that it also will be taken care of. I mean I always have the proof. All the time and every day. I just have to recognize it.”
“I am still a human being. It is still hard to define which is your mind and which is your heart. I try not to think about it. But here at the race you have a golden opportunity sometimes to see where you are.”
“Once I had an experience. A really nice one. I had no control of my body whatsoever. No control at all. I felt as though I was just a small dot in the middle of my head. This is all that I was aware of in my being. The body was just moving like a zombie. That is why I love this race. Sometimes you have those spiritual experiences. Which you know could be, because you have read a lot of books. You know very good in theory, but here you can have proof. You can actually experience it.”
“I doubt that I could have this opportunity somewhere else with this same intensity. But I shouldn’t. My dream is that race spreads throughout my life. I don’t want to live before the race and after the race. I want to live all the time in this. I will definitely.”
The morning starts off so still and beautiful
For just a moment on this historic day the 3 girls in the race are side by side.
Surasa’s last day is picture perfect
She gets to thank dear friends for all their help and encouragement.
Her clipboard is being watched closely.
Just a few more laps with Irena’s help.
She doesn’t know it yet but her house is already decorated for her return.
Still 20 miles of running to do. On legs that could go a whole lot further.
Some encouragement from another Vienna girl.
Such a great and good champion.
Tomorrow it will be Yuri’s big day.
He has 77 miles more to run.
Nicolay is now spending all his time helping Yuri.
We will no doubt be seeing a lot more of Yuri in future years.
Already his friends are practicing the songs they will sing for him.
All this so soon gone now.
Nidhruvi had a tough day yesterday. One of her hardest, 107 laps.
She has her determined look today though.
And for a while she has Surasa on the course with her.
Hers is a great great story this first time runner.
Who has great help both morning and night.
She is running better today.
Sopan had a good day for him yesterday. 82 laps.
Now too he is all alone
Just 2 days more of this.
Has anybody seen a runner here?
Baladev had his best day in a long time 103 laps.
He has asked me to write down the poem he wrote yesterday.
I need only one thing.
He was given a small piece of paper with some text from Sri Chinmoy’s writings that has inspired him a lot.
Soon Irena will be out of a job. She says she will miss it.
Ananda-Lahari the great and good.
He is very special.
We probably have not seen the last of Sarah.
She has accomplished so much here this year.
Things are slowing down for some.
Then Surasa crosses the line.
The board shows the unmistakeable victory.
She is honored by many here and across Europe.
“Surasa finishes in 5th place in a field of 12. This is her 2nd finish. She moves up in the rankings from 29 to 24th place. As of now 32 people have finished 123 times. She finishes 3100 miles in 50 days, 4 hours, and 57 minutes. Which is 61.47 miles per day or 99.37 km per day. She becomes the oldest finisher in the history of the race.”
“I must say that her nature is so childlike and sweet and charming that she is like a 7 year old girl. Yet she is a fierce competitor and she is still undefeated in any multi day been in against all the other females. You know she is really tough. She took 3 days off her previous achievement. And at this age she is getting better and better and better.” Sahishnu
Greeted by all the runners but one just a little more
Who will have her turn tomorrow….Nidhruvi
A beautiful evening arrives.
Sarvagata crosses the finish line
He waits until the other half of him is at his side, Sarvakamya
He is honored
“Sarvagata finished in 6th place. His 3rd finish in a row in a time of 50 days, 14 hours, and 33 minutes. Which is an average of 61.26 miles a day or 98.58 km a day. He is still the 5th fastest of all time. His best being 45 days.” Sahishnu
Prayer of the day.
Recited by Surasa
I am a chosen instrument
Of my Lord Supreme
Not because I have done
Something great for Him,
Not because I shall do
Something good for Him,
But because He wants to do
Something divinely great
And supremely good
In and through me.
Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 1, Agni Press, 1983
Forty-year-old Pranjal Milovnik of Slovakia finished the 3100 Mile race for the ninth straight time in 49 days+07:57:40(62.843 miles per day/101.136 km). The gracious tall man with a large heart withstood the usual challenges with aplomb and perseverance. Food labelled ‘Pranjal Friendly’ from the kitchen was a welcome sight for many of the runners, for it was going to have taste, plus fat or sugar or both.He keeps coming back year after year and enjoys the race in so many ways.Great job ‘Big Man’. in other news, Surasa Mairer is set to finish as first woman and fifth overall on Monday around 11:00 am. She had a big day with 65.8 miles and needs only 36 laps(19.8 miles) to reach her second finish of the 3100. Sarvagata Ukrainskyi should reach the goal as well on Monday evening, which will be his third finish.
Only two days left for this year’s race……
On Saturday morning when Ashprihanal arrived at the race he stepped up on the edge of the curb and stretched his calves, just as he has done every day here. He was directly in front of the numbers board as he did this. I could see that he was looking at the mileage he still had left to do. Speaking to no one in particular, he said, “the old Ashprihanal could do that”.
What it showed was that he had 65 miles or 119 more laps to go. A number he had not met in more than 3 weeks. In my mind, the person I was looking at was just a slightly diminished version, of one of the greatest multi day runners of all time, Ashprihanal. One who was incredibly talented, certainly still capable of majestic flying around the course, and probably the guy who would not finish until sometime the next day. I was wrong.
Being by nature a little cautious I called the race late in the afternoon to see how he was doing. It was then that I learned the shocking news that Ashprihanal was flying once again as he has always done here before. That on this his 12th incredible race he was going to pull off one of those little miracles that seem to rise up out of nowhere. One of those moments that show you that impossibility can be put aside when you find the strength from within to make it possible.
The caliber of this miracle is not quite like what happened to Lasse Viren at the 1972 Olympic games when he fell while running in the 10,000 meter race. For what happened there is perhaps one of the greatest moments in all of sports. The Finnish runner Viren got up off the track and then sprinted as fast as he could. He not only caught up with the pack, but he also won the race. Setting a world record in the process.
“I have been having a problem with back, my hip, and my knee. And I have not been able to do 60 miles on only a few days. That is not my normal self. Because normally 60 is very easy for me. My standard is more like 70. Today the problem is totally gone. So today I could do 70. I am definitely going to finish, no problem. I would have been moving if my body had worked.” I ask him then why is his body now working. “Just Guru’s grace. That is what happened.”
“I didn’t go to any Doctors or anything like that. A lot of joy yesterday. 2 great finishers. Today was very nice running with Suprabha.” Someone he has shared the course with many times with over the years. He says that Vasu who won the race the day before was very impressive. “He was always in a good consciousness, always listening to Sri Chinmoy’s music, always inspired by asking stories about Sri Chinmoy. Just a great guy.” He says he told Vasu several stories from his own life.
Ashprihanal has been carrying a small bell now for almost a lap. Sometime earlier in the evening Surasa had completed 3000 miles and he had wanted to honor her. He rings it now over on the other side of the course. She says, “O so nice.” She also says that when she came by the counters she had no idea that she had reached that great number.
A few jokes are made about the old Ashprihanal vs. the new Ashprihanal. He says, “let’s say the healthy one. I definitely think I am going to run again. That is my plan, but maybe I take a year off. This race has been mentally good for me. I have been happy.”
2 years ago after the race I was physically and mentally exhausted. I really needed a year off. This year I am not. I am even physically okay. Yesterday I would have said that physically I am not okay. I am very happy that whatever the problem was it went away. Everything is good now.”
Your business is to begin. God’s business is to finish.
Sri Chinmoy, Flame-Goal, Agni Press, 1973
Photo by Unmesh
“Ladies and gentlemen this is another extraordinary event in the annals of the 3100 mile history. Because Ashprihanal has now completed the race 12 times. Finishing in what most people would die for. A time of 48 days, 16 hours, and 14 minutes. Which is an average of 63.68 miles a day or 102.94 km a day. He is the 2nd fastest all time and 7 time winner of the race. This year finishing 3rd. Congratulations from the marathon team and all the helpers. You are the best. Guru once said of him, running 700 miles is like drinking water.”
“He is Finland’s treasure and our joy, Ashprihanal.” Sahishnu.
The Board this morning shows that Pranjal will finish in about 8 hours time
Ashprihanal is once again at the starting line because he wants to complete 5,000 km today. And maybe because he wants to perform one more play.
It is just one of those perfect days to run.
Pranjal has 31 miles to go.
“In the morning I am always sleepy. The morning is not for running it is for sleeping.” He is clearly exhausted and yet he never ever stops moving on the course. I ask him if it is possible to be even more tired than he already is. “I don’t know. I have never tried. I have never gone over 50 days.”
He is slower this year and doesn’t really know the answer for it. “I don’t know my legs are not so strong. Only in the beginning did I have problems I had a bad stomach for one day. The rest was okay but I am just slower.”
He then asks me to take this picture.
I ask him if it is like his car at home and he jokes, “I have 2 of these.”
“My blisters were not as bad as I used to have. Even the weather wasn’t bad this year. There was this stretch of 7 days when we had very hot weather, and a few days over 30, but the rest were just nice.”
He says that even in the winter he was doing more speed training.
He has been doing a video blog for the past 2 years. This year he has been doing it in English for the first time and it has been a great way to get some of his unique insights into the race. He first started doing a written one, but this he says, “is a little bit faster for me.”
“It helps me after a day of running to just take my mind somewhere else. To focus on something else. I like computers and I like to sit there and work with this video. It doesn’t take that much time. It is okay for me.”
I ask him about emptying the mind. “I just try and push away all the distractions. I just try and stay focused on running. I sometimes do not even look at the people who are cheering me. I don’t talk very much to people. I found out that if you give attention to people, you are giving your energy also. It is not much, but it is always a little bit. Just a drop of energy. This way I just try and focus my energy on my running. I know sometime people think that I am ignoring them, but for me it is really important to stay focused on running. It is not even something that I consciously believe. It is just part of me.”
About his motivation. “I feel that Guru or God gave me this capacity to do this race so I have to use this capacity. I feel it is my duty to be here. It is not that I am thinking about maybe being here, it just happens that, ‘I WILL BE HERE.’ It is much easier when you have no choice, it is much easier. Your mind is not trying to fool you. Trying to take you to something easier.”
“It is part of my life. I am working at home and I am here. Here is more fulfilling. I am really alive here because it is totally intense. Normally you cannot experience this intensity in normal life. I found in my first races that it is very hard to get back to normal life. Because you experience something so intense for 2 months. That after that everything is just boring. Not interesting. Nothing can fulfill you. It is really really hard to get back to this normal life.”
His solution to do this he says, “is like turning the page. This is like one side of life, this race. You turn the page and you come back to your life before. Then you can bring something from that page, from this race,to your regular life. But you have to be really focused on that normal life. Even this focus you have during the race you can use in your normal life. Especially in the spiritual life you can use it.”
It is a great day
Ashprihanal flies and flies and flies
Surasa has just 86 miles now to do.
She is having an extraordinary race
She ran 113 laps yesterday.
She will finish tomorrow morning.
Corrina changing the board for a big moment soon to come.
This morning there is a brief moment when Sarvagata reaches 3000 miles.
He could finish tomorrow night
Yuri continues to do so well. He did 115 laps yesterday.
So inspiring to see him run when he is strong and healthy
To see him enjoying so much about what has happened to him in every way.
The Swami is here today.
He identifies himself so much with self transcendence.
When Nidhruvi finishes on Tuesday only then will it all be over
So incredible to see her run so consistently .
She did 112 laps yesterday and has 152 more miles to go.
Not ever that easy.
Sopan has made 2700 miles yesterday.
Even he doesn’t know for sure what the next few days hold for him.
But there is a nice moment of distraction when he and Ashprihanal perform a play.
That involves water balloons thrown by the Enthusiasm Awakeners.
“Heh Sopan did you have a bath this morning.”
“No I didn’t.”
“O, You must be dirty.”
“I wish somebody had some water balloons so we could have a really good shower.”
“This is why they call them the Enthusiasm Awakeners.”
Vasu is here to enjoy the singing.
Once he finishes his 5000 km Ashprihanal joins as well.
Many things are less than serious here.
Special moments happen that touch you in ways big and small.
Baladev running strongly this morning.
On this day so many things seem easier
Ananda-Lahari listening to his own deep inner voice.
Sarah overcoming so much, including the flu a day ago,
She has done so much here and deserves to be proud of her achievement.
All of this will be gone so very soon.
“ladies and gentlemen,our 4th finisher Pranjal has finished for the 9th straight time. He is 12th ranked in the world. This year he ran 49 days, 7 hours, and 57 minutes. Which is 62.8 miles per day or 101.3 km a day. This man is unflappable. Nothing bothers him. He has such clear vision. He loves this race. He epitomizes self transcendence. When he came here his first year it took him 59 days to finish the race, and his best is 47 days.”
“Even this year with the heat wave he was strong throughout.”
“From the marathon team and all the helpers a huge thank you.” Sahishnu
Poem of the day
Recited by Pranjal
From start to finish,
Only to be close to God.
Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 48, Agni Press, 2007
Finnish legend Ashprihanal Aalto made race history again, becoming the first male to ever finish the 3100 mile race twelve times, trailing the immortal Suprabha Beckjord by only one finish. Mr. Aalto placed third this year but remained cheerful throughout the race. Today he ran 65.3 miles to reach the goal in 48 days+16:14:33. He is still the second fastest runner to ever attempt the world’s longest certified footrace, and has the most first places with seven. Pranjal Milovnik will finish on Sunday in the mid-afternoon. He has been a model of consistency and fears nothing that the race can throw at him. Good luck to all ultra runners….
“Somewhere in the middle of the race I felt as though I had fulfilled my task here. I am not coming back next year, but maybe in the future. I am very grateful because I love you all here.” 35 year Atmavir Spacil said this last night after completing the Self Transcendence race for the 7th year in a row. His has been a long and incredible journey that very few have ever accomplished before. Taken back to back his total mileage on the course adds up to 21,700 miles. An accumulated distance that would nearly allow him to circle the globe.
His battles with the elements over all those summers and all the other of the countless difficulties has shown just how courageous and determined Atmavir really is. Just to enter this incomprehensible event is astonishing, to finish 7 times is miraculous.
As he approaches the finish line his face reveals all the joy and gratitude he has for being so fortunate to be able to accomplish this really unbelievable feat. But those few minutes of brief glory here now on this warm still night are such an infinitesimal fragment of the whole great journey.
What goes on in his body, mind, and heart over the many months is the real story. Finding strength when your body says it has no more to give. Not listening to the relentless torment of pain, heat, and fatigue. Managing to find calm and peace when by times the world around you seems to be nothing but turbulent chaos. He has said many times that nobody but the runners themselves really understand this remarkable transcendence adventure. It is an elusive reality that I have chased for a long time and know he is right. I will never capture it all or even more than a small part of it.
No picture, no sound bite, no string of words can encapsulate something so immense and impossible as this thing that they do, and what he has done now for each of the past 7 summers. At best we see a watery mirage floating enticingly in the sky above the vast hot desert. We see it and imagine quenching our thirst with its elixir but we can’t. The 12 runners are the ones who are traversing across this boundless landscape towards the impossible. It is they alone who are arriving at a destination we ourselves can only dream of.
After his finish he is asked by a reporter from a network station a few questions about this great thing that he has accomplished here. He is grateful to share what he can, but there isn’t much he can say in a few words. Something that has taken him 7 years to accomplish. He says that if there is anything he hopes could come out of his experience is that others be inspired to transcend their own lives. He suggests simply, if you can just get people to run that would be a great thing.
“Finishing in 2nd place in the 3100 mile race for 2013, in a time of 47 days, 16 hours, 24 minutes. Which is an average of 65.015 or 104.6 km a day. This is his 7th finish in a row. From the marathon team and all the helpers congratulations Atmavir on a job well done
My responsibility is
The preparation of my heart.
God’s Responsibility is
The Satisfaction of His Heart in my life.
Can we not fulfil our respective tasks?
Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 50, Agni Press, 1982
Photo by Bhashwar
Rupantar’s van arrives and has 4 passengers. Quite possibly tomorrow it will have one less.
It is a dull and overcast day. A pretty good day to run.
The board shows that Ashprihanal has just 66 miles to do. He says, “the old Ashprihanal could do that.”………
With 2 less runners the course starts to look and feel a little lonely.
Ashprihanal yesterday had a pretty average day. 103 laps. But he has been looking stronger of late.
He has overcome a lot here in the past couple of weeks
A very familiar friend has arrived to encourage him this morning. suprabha who has run this race 13 times
There is a look in his face this morning that is very reminiscent of the Ashprihanal of old.
pranjal is getting more tired every day but still getting in the miles.
At times he looks to be asleep on his feet.
But he is simply always relentless. He did 110 laps yesterday.
Sarvagata is a most interesting one to watch. I still see so little.
He makes me feel that at any moment he could find that elusive strength and run powerfully again.
He did 95 laps yesterday.
It was Yuri who set the pace yesterday and ran 113 laps.
He is moving along solidly all day.
With the weather promising to remain like this he should not have a problem with the heat.
sopan will most definitely be here until the end
To walk all day long is not an easy thing. Especially when what you really want to do is run.
Some do not mind the walking but at least for Baladev he can run sometimes as well.
His new diet has helped to make him stronger.
He wrote a poem about Canada for me yesterday. Today he shows even more appreciation though that it is not a maple leaf.
He greets one of his many fans, Snehashila.
Then it is simply back to the still long road ahead…4 more days.
Ananda-Lahari went from 123 laps one day to 77 the next.
Yet these mysteries he know cannot be solved by thinking and dreaming…..Only by going on.
Sarah was just happy to be here at all yesterday. With her flu she managed 32 laps but is doing her best today.
Surasa came back to earth… or at least a little. She had done days of 116 and 117 and yesterday she did 112 laps.
“I really don’t understand this what happened. I didn’t even feel that I was so fast. When I saw my mileage I was so surprised. I have no idea how it worked, that I had 117.” She doesn’t know if she has ever run that many laps so late in the race before.”
“When Vasu was finishing it was so touching. It is always this way especially when the first one is finishing. I am crying and crying like anything. But for myself it is not so touching.” (laughs)
I then ask her a stupid fashion question, which is why she and Nidhruvi are both wearing the same color. She says it is just a coincidence. Admits though, “it is interesting. We are different. But somehow I don’t know.”
At this moment Nidhruvi is just in front of us so I sprint up to speak with her.
Nidhruvi’s answer to the wardrobe question, “sometimes it happens. We choose the colors we prefer or we desire, or we need. It is funny. It is the first time that we have the same colors on.”
I ask her about Vasu’s finish yesterday. “I was crying the whole time. Even when I was running here I was crying. For me the special thing was when they run with the flag. This was for me the most touching moment. When I see them from afar running with the flag coming into the camp, then crossing the line. This is so moving for me and also last night for Atmavir. It is such a beautiful feeling I cannot describe.”
“Now we are so close, Surasa finishes on Monday, and Yuri and I will finish on Tuesday.”
As we are talking Surasa who is just behind is gradually getting closer. I suggest that Surasa is either speeding up or she is slowing down. “no, we are kind of the same. Either she is in front or I am, it doesn’t matter. She finishes one day earlier. I have to do one and half days more.”
We joke about Surasa will be having a coffee and Strudel while Nidhruvi will still be running. Nidhruvi says, “actually we have to stop drinking coffee. I have never drunk so much coffee as here. But it really helps to stay awake, and I am very very sleepy. Surasa is much stronger in the sleeping part. She sleeps much less than me, and is still so strong. I never see her staggering around like a drunk like me when I am tired.”
Surasa: “But I am feeling it in the late afternoon. No, no, you are not behind me.” (laughter)
They have been running together in multi day events for many years.
Surasa will also run laps with another lady this morning. Suprabha is the only one besides her who has run this race up until this year.
Both Vasu and Atmavir show up this morning.
They both run the 2 mile race. Atmavir runs 12:55 and is 3rd. Vasu a little slower in 14:55
Nidhruvi and Sylvia read today’s prayer
I did not fulfil my task well
I did not resign.
I felt God-light would eventually
Give me the needed capacity.
I do not fulfil my task well
I shall not resign.
I feel God-Compassion will undoubtedly
Give me the promised capacity.
Sri Chinmoy, Europe-Blossoms, Agni Press, 1974
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