It’s Not Just About Running

p1030080I have come back to the race, and in my absence, time has marched inexorably and steadily on its course.  It is well past midnight and time is marking its way into the darkest depths of the lonesome night.  I park the car under the fluorescent lights in the parking lot and everything is now lit with the stingy glow of the meager street lights.  But mostly I am aware of the heavy solemn darkness.   It fills the wide expanse of the park at this time of night and seems as though it wants to crush all the charm and brilliance of a day that was so joyous and hopeful, just a few hours ago. The only obvious blessing is that the heat of the afternoon is but a memory.  The night air is cool and fresh.

p1030155Nothing moves except the dim shapes of a few runners who merge in and out of the tiny pools of pale illumination. It is a stark contrast to an afternoon that was inflamed by a fat hot sun.  There was such an audacious glow and brightness to the day that one almost had to squint to take in the brilliance of the spectacle of the runners moving along the course.  The air is still and heavy now with darkness.  As each minute tick ticks away you can feel the weight of night pushing down firmer and firmer.  I feel like fleeing home to a warm soft bed but I cannot.  The 6 & 10 race never sleeps.  Almost all the runners may for a brief while be lost in the enchantment of rest but never them all.  Under this heavy cloud of sleep bright dreams are still burning bright.

p1030097p1030081I talk with Mary, one of Pam Reed’s helpers.  She just flew in from Tuscon today and she says that Pam is about to take a break.  She will stop for the night at 225 miles.  Mary is very enthusiastic about Pam’s race here.

Without a doubt, by tomorrow this time Pam will have run past her previous best of 300 miles. Pam comes into view at last and seems glad to call it a night.  She will sit in the dugout for a short while.  She is a very tired lady.  She will take a 3 hour break.  There is plenty of running in her yet.

Dipali retires a short while earlier with 230 miles.


p1030094p1030095Sandhani and Sahishnu have been here since early evening.  In that time they have counted laps, flipped numbers, filled cups, and generally made sure that the little universe, that is the 6 and 10 race has stayed on the rails as it hurtles towards its conclusion on Saturday.

Malilikarjun is cheerfully doing the board but will be even happier when he can hand over the job to the next volunteer.



p1030118“We live in different parts of the world, we come from different backgrounds, but we have a lot in common.”  Mark Dorion 49 from El Paso Texas is telling me about the 2 hours he spent running with Dipali earlier in the day.  This is his 6th time at this race and he has been here so often he feels to me like family.

It is also true that all the runners often grow closer as they spend long days and nights out here on the course.  It is a community that flashes brilliantly to life for just days but leaves experiences and impressions that will last a life time.   He says, “I have seen a full moon p1030126rise over Meadow Lake here, and of all the full moons I have seen in my life which is many, but I will always have this special one.”

Mark runs with an amazing amount of enthusiasm and constant energy.  He tells me that he has been running since he was 10 years old and does not at all look like a man who will in a few days celebrate his 50th birthday here with his Self-Transcendence running family.

Mark Dorion Interview

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cimg2471p1030132The birthday boy, Luis Rios retires for the night with 370 miles.  He is still charmed by the impromptu party that took place in his honor.

One old trick that runners use to keep themselves from being imprisoned by sleep is to take a short rest in the Medical tent.




p1030086p1030089Uljana Jevdokimova 54 Finland is 6th in the 6 day women with 135.


Volodmyr Hlushchuk 48 Ukraine is 2nd with 179 in the 6 day men.


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This is Darren Worts, 38 Chatham NJ, first Multi day race.  He has a strong lead in the men’s 6 day with 211 miles.  He is getting a lot of support from his parents who come by often.



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Allan Harman 47 West Vancouver, Canada has already run further than he has ever run before. cimg2473


Allan Harman interview

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p1030159p1030134Joe Cleary 69 Georgetown Ontario, can at last say he has run over 100 miles.  He has 110 in the 6 day.

Tatjana Jauk 38 Slovenia has 323 miles in the 10 day.  Her helper is Connie from Germany.

Tatjana says of her running, “I love it I need to do it.”

Tatjana Interview

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p1030166p1030167With little fanfare Alexander Dobilov 59 Izhevsk Russia is out of his tent and running fast.  There are moments during the next few hours that he looks as though he is running a fast 6 miles and not a very long 6 day race.  He is another who is running into the brand new world of multi day running.  He has 160 miles in this his first 6 day race and is in 5th place.




p1030108p1030130There is a seemless crew change at 1 am.  Ed has been doing the overnights since the first night.


Chanakhya Jakovic has 127 miles has just completed 127 miles and is very glad to receive his first glass of ginger ale.





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Sometimes counting the runners gets a little slow.  Perhaps Andre is counting sheep.  Rupantar gets inspiration by reading from the writings of Sri Chinmoy.








p1030142Sundar who is helping count the 6 day runners has a musical guest with him this evening.  Vinaya tries out a new tune on his harmonica.


Vinaya performance

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p1030168“Something from within,” says Vishuddhi Trummer 46 Vels Austria as she speaks about why she has come to the Self-Transcendence races for the 6th time.  It is very clear for her why she is here, “my soul is happy.”  She tells me it is the highlight of her year and as she runs in this dark and slow part of the long night she is radiant with joy and light.

p1030170As a student of Sri Chinmoy she feels that there is a natural connection between this race and her spiritual life.  Her love and appreciation of her late teacher is something she freely enjoys expressing.  She always had a longing to try the multi day race but was in the beginning intimidated by it.  She tells me that the solution of breaking the spell was offered to her by Harold, an Austrian friend.  He told her simply, “just go to the starting line.”  Everything after that would take care of itself.  For her she says, “the highest experiences you can make here.”

Vishuddhi Interview

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p1030098cimg2480Madhupran passed 500 miles today and though it is has not been easy he seems nonetheless content.  His journey is clearly taking place both inwardly and outwardly.

Madhupran Interview

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Lenka Svecova 34 Brno Czech Republic has 164 miles and is 3rd in the 6 day women.




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cimg2476“It’s not just about running.”  Yuri came to the race earlier in the evening and up till now he has helped in Medical.  There is no one to work on just now so he does the simple but all important job of filling cups.  He is doing it with love and care.  He is a distance runner himself.  He says he comes to the Self-Transcence race, “not just to help but to inspire myself. It helps me a lot.”

Yuri Interview

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p1030102The more time one spends in and around these Self Transcendence races the more you can discover that there is a rich and rewarding experience to be gained here. Not just for the runners but for all who let their hearts join into the spirit that inspires us all to go on.

To our minds there is an insurmountable challenge of being able to achieve a goal that on the surface appears impossible.  Whatever the challenge may be.  Yet the moment we surrender to our inner self we see the goal is not just reachable, but that it has already been accomplished within.  When I leave the race to go home it is ridiculously late but I feel stronger than when I arrived hours earlier.



p1030101To celebrate your life‘s

Supreme progress,

You must treasure at every moment

Your heart’s sleepless faith

In God.


Excerpt from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 97 by Sri Chinmoy.

5 Comments to “It’s Not Just About Running”

  1. Nirmala says:

    Is this Bigalita’s Portrait the first in the night? I am so happy to see her there, and if she is Bigalita’s Photo — she looks good. Vishuddhi Interview is super you really
    feel that she is doing it with her entire being.
    A soulful smile
    Can create a blissful
    Transformation-life.
    Excerpt from The Beginning And The Arriving by Sri Chinmoy.

  2. Thank you so much for these wonderful reports and pictures. I would love to be there, but being able to follow the experiences of these runners through this blog is the next best thing.

  3. Nirmala says:

    Sri Chinmoy says: Because your heart needs God, God is calling you. Because God is calling you, you can rest assured that He will make you feel He loves you infinitely more tan you can love yourself, and His Concern for you will stay with you for all Eternity (unofficial). This poem is for Alexander Dobilov 59, he has the same age as me.

  4. Susan Gillmore says:

    Big Cheers to the Canadian Al Harmon!!

    Way to go Al!!!

  5. Sarita says:

    The last night and tomorrow noon is everybody’s victory – the runners, the helpers and the world. Thank you divine warriors!

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