The Physical Dimension
The race takes place annually over a 52-day period, with runners traversing a .5488 mile loop around a sports field, playground, and high school in Jamaica, Queens, New York City. From 1997 to 2017 the race took place every summer from June to August. In 2020, we had to cancel the race in New York, instead it took place in Salzburg, Austria under strict health supervision. The race resumed in New York in September 2021, and it will continue now in this September-October timeframe.
The course is flat, and the well-staffed aid station is always within easy reach.
Conceived of as both a physical and spiritual journey, the race allows athletes to test themselves in a format unlike any other ultra-marathon. In order to meet their goal of 3100 miles in 52 days, they must log an average of 59.6 miles per day.
Runners begin at 6 a.m. and run for extended periods throughout the day, taking breaks as needed. If they want to, they can continue as late as 12 midnight when the course closes for the night. The base camp is well-lit, and during evening hours a Team member travels the loop on a bicycle, helping to ensure runners' safety.
Abundant vegetarian meals and snacks are prepared throughout the day and served at the counting station. Each runner is provided with space in a camper for rest breaks. The Marathon Team's legendary attention to detail means that each runner has the amenities he or she needs, including a clean, safe environment and plenty of liquids to stay hydrated. Our experienced Team are veterans of many races, and always happy to offer advice and encouragement.
Runners are strongly encouraged to provide their own individual helpers, who are attuned to their individual needs and provide further support.
The Spiritual Dimension
The Self-Transcendence 3100-Mile Race was conceived by Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007), a spiritual teacher, athlete, artist, musician, poet, and humanitarian. His emphasis on self-transcendence and the triumph of the human spirit provides the inspiration which has powered the race since its inception.
Interviewed by Sports Illustrated in 1990, legendary ultrarunner Yiannis Kouros said: "Without Sri Chinmoy, we would have few races and little future. He has been the sport's lifeline."
The self-transcendence aspect is particularly important in ultrarunning. In our experience as runners, there comes a point in a race when one's physical prowess has reached its limit. To continue on, the runner must rely on his or her own inner determination, to tap into the infinite spiritual power that is within us all, which Sri Chinmoy calls the soul, the representative of the ultimate Divine Being.
For those runners who are Sri Chinmoy's students, the 3100-Mile Race represents an affirmation of his teachings on self-transcendence, an opportunity to manifest the hidden potential of the soul in a practical and dynamic way.
Entering the Race
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team holds events as short as two miles which anyone can enter. However, for this ultra event, enrollment is limited - out of numerous applicants, each year 10 to 15 stellar men and women are chosen based on their prior achievements in the ultrarunning community, ability to complete the distance, and other factors.
Due to the race history and spiritual dimension, most participants have been members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team. However, each year race organizers also select non-Team ultrarunners whose running record demonstrates that they can meet the standards of this race. No particular beliefs are required to apply for the race, but applicants should feel comfortable blending into a spiritual environment where many of their fellow runners and crew will be spiritual seekers.
While a race is by definition a form of competition, the self-transcendence aspect means that runners should feel they are competing with themselves, to run the best race they can, while relating to fellow runners in a spirit of camaraderie and good decorum.
It's our hope that for all the runners, the 3100-Mile Race will be both a physical and spiritual journey - a joyful and enlightening experience. After the hero's journey comes the supreme knowledge that one has accomplished the unimaginable.