June 22: There Is Some Purpose

“It is very nice, I am already there, I am beyond.” For Sarvagata a new milestone will tumble by the wayside with each new step he takes as he continues to circle the course.  He, like the other 2 new runners, up until today had never run in a race longer than 10 days.  For each of them, going by the numbers at least, self transcendence will be an undeniable verifiable reality.

There is however something truly remarkable to note in what has happened to Sarvagata here yesterday.  Just a month ago when he ran the 10 day race he completed 605 miles, yesterday he completed 656 in 10 days and continues to run strongly.  The finish line for him, and for all the other runners is still far far away.  You can’t however simply point your finger at what might have happened to Sarvagata over the past month to understand how it happened.  Instead you need to step back and, examine the fact that he has been training and preparing hard to do this race for years now.  Putting in miles of training and racing, and also maturing as a person, but most importantly of all becoming fully ready to commit himself on all levels to this race.  To give himself in his entirety, outer and inner, to the Self Transcendence 3100 mile experience.

I participated in the 10 day race 4 times.  My first time was really horrible.  I mean it was good and nice as well, but only at the end.  Before I got to that point I had to go through all kinds of different experiences, let us say.  I did 480.”

Each time he ran the 10 day race, he improved by 60 miles, except for the race this year.  When only by summoning a super human effort on his last day he ran 5 miles more than the previous year.  “I was a little disappointed from one side.  From the other side, I said, maybe there is some purpose to that.  Now I see why.  I did it here.”

If all our life’s journeys had odometers, it might be interesting to note from time to time just how far we had come and of course just how much further there was left in front of us.  The 3100 is a shockingly difficult event to undertake.  The only certainty each runner has is that each knows categorically, that with each new lap they will draw closer to the finish line.  The thing of greatest importance however, the transformation going on within, is something that is not so discernible.  We are allowed at best a hint and a subtle feeling that something powerful is happening to each and all who run here.  Perhaps, if we are fortunate, we  too can gain something as well.   By our encouragement, by our service,  and if nothing else, than at least by our sense of oneness with these 10 champions.

 

The daily lap sheet is the best possible way to understand the race if you want to simply look at the facts.  You won’t know if someone was having a great experience or a difficult one.  If an injury was nagging or they were feeling on top of the world.  Yet nothing breaks down the race quite like the lap sheet.

 

 

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There were 2 special visitors to the race early this morning both equally welcome.  An injury has kept Galya out of the race this year but he comes often to encourage the runners.  He is missed by all and hopes to return and run again next year.

 

 

Start

Day 11

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Pranjal’s relentless consistency clearly demonstrate the importance and value of his unwavering dedication to the race for many years now.  The irony of this too is that he will never ever be accused as someone who takes themselves too seriously and has a sense of humor that fits nicely into his personal dimensions as well as that of the race.  He just finished 700 miles.

Various kinds of searching are going on here today.  Vajra looks for counters and Ananda Lahari looks for leaves to put on his feet.  The leaves are available around the course practically all the time.  Counters are just a little more scarce.

 

 

 

 

In many of his past multi day races Sarvagata has sometimes had an unavoidable and unwanted friendship with shinsplints.  So far they have not been a problem.  He feels that this is so simply because of grace.  “I don’t know about the future.”

He was able to be here in NY most of last summer and spent some time at the 3100 and being inspired by it.  “I watched the runners closely.  I saw how they run, where they stop, where they walk, where they run.  What they eat, what are they wearing.”  He says from the technical point of view, what he learned by watching the race than was almost all of it very useful to him here now.  “In technical terms I am well prepared for the race.”  Of his conditioning he is not so certain.  “Some people say it is impossible to get trained properly for this kind of race.  Because on your way up to 10 and 12 days you are going to meet with some surprises.”  He admits being very thrilled that so far so good, none of those ‘surprises,’ have made their unpleasant acquaintance with him.

I don’t so train so hard in the year before the race.  But first half of the race I call it training.  My body adjusts to the course.  I adjust to the rhythm.  Then I actually get stronger.”  He receives confirmation he says from his friends who give him massages and notice that he did in fact get stronger.  He says that once you have adapted and got stronger than you can really start to have the true experiences the race can offer.  Ones that are beyond running and training.

“The first thing inside, I was really surprised how the body could be receptive to God’s grace.  Because before that I was a little scared by the course, the hard concrete, the heat, and the civilization all around.  But as soon as I started and started to pray to God for protection.  I wanted to give God all the responsibility, and I began to relax.  I forgot about the miles, and the laps, and the results.  And that was really nice.  Because when you relax, your body relaxes, and this grace comes through you.  Whatever tension you have in your body it is gone, if you don’t push, and you pray to slow down your ego.”(laughter)

I suggest that this is a contradiction for most people.  That they feel that they have to work harder in order to achieve something important.  “Yeah from one side this is a paradox.  But from the other side you have to do some personal effort.  I am still discovering how much personal effort I need to do.”

Neither his wife, nor his sister are able to be here and help him with the race.  He is close to them both and feels that this unique bond is confirmed in the fact that all three of their spiritual names are very close.  “It means for me that we are part of one whole thing.  Ultimately we can’t be separated even if we are in a different part of the world.  I really have a powerful feeling that they are not far away.  I don’t feel separated really.”

Sarvagata never had the opportunity to ever see Sri Chinmoy personally visit here at the 3100.  I ask him how he feels connected to him and his incredible race now.  “Yeah, for sure.  It maybe not like other runners, who had this opportunity to see him on the course, but for me it is more like consciousness.  Sometimes I look up in the sky and I see a huge transcendental picture of Sri Chinmoy there.  I feel well connected, and I feel constant guidance from him.  So I am happy.”

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Poem of the day recited by Galya

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Self-imposed purpose
Has no real goal.
God-ordained purpose
Is the beginning
Of an ever- transcending Goal.

 

 

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 26, Agni Press, 2002.

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