July 23 Ageathon

arp21As the clock gradually approaches midnight, the number of runners on the course rapidly begins to dwindle.  No one is allowed to run past that time and when all the runners finally leave, all the helpers and all the vehicles leave as well.  Quickly the course becomes quiet, dark, and still.  Last night, just as there has been for a number of years on July 23, the course is kept awake all night by the steps of a lone runner who does not sleep but pursues a simple promise made so very long ago.

Arpan has come to run tonight what he calls his ‘Ageathon.’ Today he turns 57 and so at around 12:16 he sets off on a personal odyssey.  He plans to run the same number of miles as the years he has been on earth.  Back in 1978, 31 years ago when he turned 26, it must have seemed like a pretty good idea.  He had already run a marathon and so why not make his birthday special by running another and dedicating it to Sri Chinmoy his spiritual teacher who had inspired him to run in the first place.  Running that first marathon was a great experience.   It also seemed like a relatively simple idea to continue with.  He says, “so I figured every year, just one more mile.  But as time goes by the ones add up.” Stating the obvious he adds, “it is getting a little more difficult.”

arpanHe has done this run in many other places over the past 31 years, and like the disciplined and dedicated runner that he is he has never failed to complete his ageathon.  For the past few years he has done it right here on this, the most auspicious of venues, the course of the 3100.  Often he has been on the road with the Harmony run and has performed his birthday runs in far off corners of America.  Doing it here of course is special.  The sidewalk here has felt the countless steps of Self-Transcendence runners add up by the millions over the past 13 years.  Even Arpan himself ran the 3100 here in 2004.

arpIf one looks at running 57 miles by itself, it pales in comparison to the action and deeds of those who inhabit and run upon the course during the rest of the day.  Yet Arpan’s commitment and dedication to running over more than 30 years is an achievement that few can equal or challenge.  Who knows how long he will be able to pursue a dream that is constantly expanding  and becoming increasingly more difficult with each additional year.

Tonight no one will see him as he loops around and around the course.  He will go from one dim pool of street light to the next.  Sleep will taunt him, his legs will feel heavy and weary but he will not stop.  He will look to be a solitary figure on a dark and lonely night but he is not.  In his heart he carries a bright inner promise he made once long ago to his Spiritual teacher.  He will continue on no matter what.  One day his legs may not be able to pursue this sacred promise but surely the inner runner within him will never tire.


Picture by Bhashwar December 1979

Picture by Bhashwar December 1979


AGE

Our earthly age offers Heaven a mounting cry.

Our Heavenly age offers earth a fulfilling smile.

Excerpt from I Need This Book by Sri Chinmoy.

Age need not bind you.

Age need not blind you.

Age should only help you

To see the real in you

As soon as possible.

Excerpt from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 194 by Sri Chinmoy.










petr bikediganta bikeThis morning you can almost feel as though the final dash for the finish line has begun, at least for some.  Yesterday in what may be an unprecedented occurrence 4 runners ran more than 70 miles.

prrupantar sheetsPurna-Samarpan tells Rupantar that his back pain is just too excrutiating to run this morning.  For the moment he will rest until Pradhan comes later in the day and evaluate his condition. Rupantar has some fun with Ananda-Lahari.
SCAN0074start
petr 1grahak1 Poem of the day
day 40
Sahishnu is almost certain that in all the years the 3100 has taken place 4 runners have never simultaneously achieved 70 miles or better in one day.  For late July the weather conditions were excellent and the pursuit of excellence can be contagious perhaps.
Stutisheel is philosophical this morning when asked about yesterday.  He says, “we have the right to act but not to the fruits of our actions.  The fruits are not ours.”
He points to the score board and describes how little the numbers mean in comparison to the inner experience each is receiving here.
sstut1asprAsprihanal and Grahak have been more regularly achieving 70. Grahak finished yesterday with the largest total, nearly 72.  Petr has done it before but it is a new thing for Stutisheel.
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Some new music on the course this morning.
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Arpan’s long quest to reach 57 miles will take him 13 hours.  He will be almost half way through the distance when the runners show up the next morning.
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arp17He comes every day to the course to be part of the 3100 in many different ways.  This morning he will stop and try and help Purna-Samarpan with his back pain.  He also regularly takes photographs and as he runs this morning is also carrying a camera and taking pictures.   He says, “I get a lot of inspiration from the course there is a lot of energy here.”
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He says that when he ran the race himself in 2004, “It was extremely difficult in many ways, and extremely satisfying in other ways.”  The most challenging thing for him in the beginning was on a mental level.   He adds, “Once you get used to it, it is quite nice.”  He also describes the many different ways in which he experienced a profound sense of oneness and camaraderie with not just the runners but all who came and helped.  “It was day after day of supporting each other, and trying to help each other reach certain goals.”
Beyond the physical aspects he is clear that it is at its heart primarily a spiritual event.  “Being that it is Sri Chinmoy’s race, many of his students who do this race really feel a lot of spiritual  support and fulfillment from the race itself.”
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arp6It was also an experience in which he felt caught up in almost constant movement.  Physically one is moving but also you are living in all ways and on different levels in and through this movement.  An accelerated life that takes place, both outwardly and inwardly, in constant self-transcendence.
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I ask him about a rumor I heard, that he might come back to the course and actually run the 3100 again.  “I am thinking about doing it again.  I think by the time I am 60 I should try it.  I feel gratitude to Sri Chinmoy when I do these things.  I do give him a lot of credit for me being able to keep running at my age.  Somehow I still enjoy it on a spiritual level.  Physically it is always a challenge.  It is just spiritually very rewarding.”
parvati poemparvati
flower





I KNOW NOT YOUR AGE

I know not your age,

But I can clearly see,

I can clearly feel,

Who you are.

My inner vision says your age

Is written on Eternity’s Page,

And God’s all-inspiring

And all-illumining Stage.

Excerpt from A Soulful Cry Versus A Fruitful Smile by Sri Chinmoy.

One Comments to “July 23 Ageathon”

  1. jody says:

    Happy Soul’s Day to Arpan

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