July 27 All Angelic

a7 cery goodWhen he arrived at the 3100 this morning Asprihanal was one very content and very satisfied runner. The fact that 63 long hot miles awaited him did not seem to faze him one whit.   In a just a few hours more, Asprihanal, the Flying Finn, will reach the end of his 3100 mile journey and will be able at last to fold in his gossamer wings and rest at last.  True he was never photographed soaring above the course but his feet most often seemed only to glance and lightly brush along the surface which most of the others had to stride relentlessly upon with hard and determined steps.

He made it look easy when it was not.  The great ones, no matter what the sport always make the most difficult thing look like child’s play.  If one can even come close to comprehend running 3100 miles you might picture hard warriors daily battling pain and fatigue.  Asprihanal  ran most often like a child enjoying continuous joyous ptranlay.  His late spiritual teacher said of him, “running for him is like us drinking a glass of water.”

The greatest of the Finnish runners Paavo Nurmi once said, “Mind is everything: muscle – pieces of rubber.  All that I am, I am because of my mind.”

as9Asprihanal has a much different perspective on his beloved sport.  For him the strength and endurance he exhibits comes from a far different reservoir of capacity.  It is one that can offer much more limitless stength and joy than the mind, which so often battles doubt as much as it savours determination.  For him it is his heart that has drawn him here for the 9th time.   It is only his heart that he truly obeys.  From it he finds the strength and capacity to endure.  And within it he will find his true reward, which comes not just when he crosses the line this evening, but also when he offered each step, each pain, and each glorious moment along the way.

To listen to one’s heart, the source of the most divine of inspiration is a victory in itself.  To act upon it, as Asprihanal does is to embody the teachings of his teacher in a profound and tangible way.  There is no trophy and glory for acting upon self-transcendence.  It is simply a victory of the heart and spirit.  It also inspires others who might not want to run 3100 miles but maybe they will be moved to go one step further in whatever endeavor their hearts have offered before them.

Once again he comes first, but when he glances over his shoulder at those who follow he will not see competitors.  He will see a unique running family cheering him on.   In turn, their oneness with him they also see their own victories in and through him.  And when the last of his fellows crosses the line he will see a final fulfilling satisfaction as well.  For only at that time will the race be truly over for them all.

picture by Bhaswar Mar 81

picture by Bhaswar Mar 81






Because of his angelic speed,

His heart enjoys

The beauty and purity

Of the higher worlds.


Excerpt from Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 94 by Sri Chinmoy.











a at starta and flagHe steps out of the car for the last time.  He pulls the Finnish flag from his pack and will lightly wave it in the still air that can feel no breeze.  He stretches at the curb as he has done every morning.  Then with stiff steps he makes way along the short route to his chair greeting all who will be here tomorrow and he will not.

He stands at the starting line savoring a moment of peace before the last few miles fall away like grains of sand within an hour glass.

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There is light applause and some scattered cheers from his fellow runners as he makes a stiff-legged entry into his last day of running.
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a11 goodAll of them will say it has been a hard race for him.  There could have been a chorus of’ what ifs’  regarding this years race.  Had he not been sick on day 29 and lost nearly a day of running, or dwell upon the other problems that have come now and then.  But Asprihanal is all about the present. Today it is enough to see it done and see it done well.
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He jokes, ” if I can just get 115 laps it will be the last day, otherwise I will have to come back tomorrow.” He laughs at the absurdity of this small task compared with his large capacity.  “But everybody is expecting me to do 115.”
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He is moving with unusual stiffness and he describes a nagging injury in his foot that will release itself over the course of about one lap.  “Or about 10 minutes more I guess,” he says. “One lap more and I will be running like before.”
About the last day he says, “sometimes it can be extremely warm. You are waiting for it to end and it never ends. ”  He describes how he has tricks which he uses to help the time pass.  “One is that you think you have 1000 miles to go, and this is just like any other day. ”  This he describes as a way to quiet the mind which can nag when it even has just has a few more hours to go.
He also enjoys talking with his fellow runners.  “When you talk and talk and talk the time goes quickly. ”  He adds later, “all the runners were extremely nice this year.” His third trick is to listen to music or talking books.
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a17“This is the toughest race I know of.”  He talks about the challenges of other distances but knows nothing compares to the difficulty of the 3100. Of this year’s race which this will be his 9th time he is not sure but says, “I think it is either my 3rd or 4th best time.  At my best I averaged 71.7 miles a day.”  He believes he is averaging a little over 70 miles a day, a little better than last year’s total.  “It has been quite a tough race.  One thing though is that I have been going to 12 most nights.  This is something I did not do my first 5 races.  In that way I feel that I have done my best.”
He talks about the flowers which were new to the course this year and the short skits he performed quite a few times with Grahak.  We talk about this for a while and it becomes apparent that he has performed more often in them as a bird.  Having been a duck, a penguin, and a chicken.  He tells me that certain script difficulties denied him the opportunity to play a goose.
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a behindHe talks about his flag he was waving this morning with such delight and says, the blue represents all of Finland’s water and the white represents its snow.  He is obviously proud of his country.  “I always liked Finland.  It is a small country but quite good.  Each country has their own good and bad qualities.  He says that Sri Chinmoy once described the qualities of Finland as, “all Angelic, all Angelic.”
He adds later, “all the runners were extremely nice this year.  Like a good team I felt.  Like a family. Only nice people around the whole place.  Not only the runners but everybody else.”
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anandiganta good“He showed once more that definitely he is one of the top of the world distance runners.”  He appreciates how for the first 14 days he averaged 75 miles a day.  “This is really really world class.” Also few he thinks, could come so quickly back from the health issues he had on day 29.  “He is really a good person and I really like him, and really admire him.”Ananda-Lahari.
“Nice runner always in a good frame of mind always joking. Always Positive.  He never has any problems even when he has them.”  Diganta
grpavol1“Asprihanal is an amazing runner and an amazing person.  He has such an amazing child like personality.  His running is incredible.  He is always in a happy joyful, simple, consciousness.  It is really nice to be around.”  Grahak



He is inspiring to me.  His running is so easy.  Like flying like dancing.  Pavol



petr1pranjal1He is a champion for me, within, without.”  Petr

“As Sri Chinmoy said of him. For him to run is like for us to drink a glass of water.”
Pranjal
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stutpus“He is great.  If he goes at his flying speed, wow it is so cool to see.  He is a gem at the run.  It is really so inspiring to see”   Pushkar
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“Asprihanal is my running Guru.  From him I learned how to flow not to push.  I am hoping for him to improve his flight and his result.” Stutisheel

vlady2as and supHe has inspired us here the whole race.  Flying here every morning.  For me he is a special runner and a special person.  I cannot imagine how it is possible to run 75 miles for 20 days.  He was almost dying and still running.” Vlady

My brother Asprihanal is an awesome runner.  He is very inspiring.  He is very supportive of all the runners and is wonderful to have in the race.  Suprabha
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Victory comes and victory goes.

Defeat weeps and defeat lingers.

Experience soars and experience lasts.

God smiles and God dances.



Excerpt from Europe-Blossoms by Sri Chinmoy.

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