With each new day that Suprabha continues to return to the course it is becoming clearer and clearer that something truly miraculous is happening here. It is not obvious in her slow measured walking. Nor does it show in any way in the small numbers that are painstakingly gathering by her name on the plastic board that hangs on the fence. Her appearance and manner continue to be content, patient, and unflappable.
Yet were most would fearfully see the vast distance still looming forbiddingly in front of her she does not. Going into day 47 she has 647 more miles yet to journey. The last two days she has not made even 40 miles. Making a hasty calculation, at her present rate, she has more than 2 weeks of hard unforgiving slogging left in front of her . It all seems impossible what she is trying to do and yet she seems now, more than ever before to be embraced by some dynamic hope that seems capable of smashing impossibility in a heart beat. She is oblivious to doubt and insecurity and any nattering fear that may come and pester is swished away like a tiny bug. But encouraging words can come faster and easier than the labored steps she puts in each day.
She is leaving the course early each evening as her Doctor recommended. Last night the skies opened up with a torrential downpour just as she was about to go home. In this way she is following her Doctor’s orders but confesses that she is doing a little more mileage than they recommended. She lives anew each day. Hope is still fresh and alive in her. If the strong pain comes back she will be mindful of its message. She is not about hurting herself in any way. Adversity is something one must battle for a life time. Permanent injury is quite another.
It is so early and it is so late. 47 days ago she came here with a simple dream to finish. It is the same one she has cherished for the past 13 years. Now the future is not so obvious, yet if nothing else about what what will happen here over the next few weeks is obvious it is that she embodies fully the spirit and heartfelt essence of never giving up.
Few if any of us have ever faced the ferocious challenge that is now in front of her. How many of us would simply give into discomfort, comfortably knowing that we would still be safely judged as heroic for going so far. It is quite another thing to fearlessly push through the clouds of adversity when the bright daylight on the other side cannot yet be seen.
In the future it just may well be writ that if ever one wanted to cite an example of one who did not give up, it just may well be Suprabha and what she did here at the 3100 mile race.
Do not give up!
He who gives up
Never reaches the Satisfaction-Shore.
Each attempt of yours may bring you
Many exceptionally heart-enlightening
Excerpt from Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 87 by Sri Chinmoy.
Stutisheel starts the day just 2 days away now from his own finish. In fact Saturday will provide something of a rich harvest of finishers, as 2 others should also cross the line that day as well.
He has of course had the opportunity to enjoy 3 finishers in 3 days recently. He describes how much his late Spiritual teacher appreciated when the runners would finish. Often he would come out and greet them when they crossed the line. The joy and pride he felt in them abundantly evident in his smile and his delicate clapping hands.
As he goes into his final few days just 41 miles separate him from the other 2 runners in front. He says, “this race was never about competition, never. I am just trying to maintain my new standard. 68,69 miles.” On the other hand he says that Vlady, who is running for the first time, is very close to breaking a record set by Smarana some years ago. They realized that if he worked just a little but harder. If he did 121 laps he could do it. He says, “so yesterday he started his hard work.” Then he jokes that by that evening Vlady blamed him. He said, “why did you tell me that? Now I have to really work.”
He says that each runner approaches the race in different ways. Some of course take a practical and systematic way. Keeping track of laps and trying to keep to schedules. He says of them, it is all, “push, push, push, and when you can’t push, then simply push some more.” He says that he personally appreciates Asprihanal’s approach, which is flow, flow, flow, then you will be able to do your maximum. He says he had hoped to be able to achieve a standard of 49 days plus. Yet by using this method he is achieving an even better result by finishing in 48 days plus. “It is amazing it is totally beyond my expectation.”
He says it was because of his parents that as a young child he became interested in sports. “My Mother and Father gave me a very good personal example of being active in sports. He says Sri Chinmoy once said that, “the role of the Father is to show you the beyond.” The family was living in Kiev and his father, at the age of 54 went to Moscow to run his first marathon. When he came back he was exhausted and it was hard for him. But Stutisheel says, “he was shining like anything.” At the time he was 20 or 21 and was not a runner himself but competed in cross country skiing.
When he was very young his father said to him, “If you have something wrong in your life, just go run. Afterwards your mind will be clarified. Then you will know what to do.” He tells me that his father ran a little over 3 hours in that first marathon in 1991 and then became a real lover of the sport competing in one marathon a year. He tells me, “he prepares quite seriously. So now he is preparing for the masters games world championship in Finland. In August he will be 68. Now he is doing his regular training schedule 155km a week.” He tells me that his Father’s goal at the marathon is to run 3:03 at age 68. “It is unbelievable.”
He says the experience of his father running marathons was a tremendous push and inspiration to him. It took him a couple of years to prepare himself for his first marathon. His first marathon was 1994, which he also achieved his best time of 2:46. In his race this year he is more than 100 miles ahead of last year.
Asprihanal more familiar with using his shoes to run than to make music.
Meanwhile runners still go forward and the music plays on and on. Kodanda playing
Helps him meditate longer.
Inner peace of mind
Helps him run farther.
Excerpt from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 97 by Sri Chinmoy.