A few days ago an American baseball player named Derek Jeter reached a major milestone in his career. This New York Yankee short stop managed to complete his 3,000th career hit as a professional baseball player. This is an exceptional achievement for a player. He will be only the 28th person to accomplish this feat in the history of the game. I am not much of a fan of the sport but when ever I hear numbers like 3000 I am compelled to take notice. It does sound a lot like 3100 miles after all.
He accomplished this in spectacular fashion in front of a stadium full of fans and probably millions more nation wide broadcast on TV, when he did it as well in his home park, Yankee stadium. The hit itself was as spectacular as they come, a home run. This all took place a little more than 10 miles away from the 3100 mile race. A distance not far in physical terms but certainly an incalculable one on just about every other level of how we all perceive sports. To me and to many others the Self Transcendence race just may be the most inspiring sporting event of all time. There are not any dramatic theatrics but on an inner level it can engage and touch you in the deepest part of your being.
Surasa’s accomplishment here this year as well just may be the most impressive of all the runners. In a quiet and almost understated way she is daily going about the incredibly difficult business of running 110-115 laps every day for the past month.
Women rarely get much recognition in sports, and certainly with the notable exception of Suprabha Beckjord, there is scarcely any female athlete over the age of 50 who has ever come near to accomplishing what Surasa seems most certainly on the brink of achieving.
Surasa is not trumpeting the case for equality of women’s sports, or taking any stand whatsoever as a spokesperson for female athletics. Somehow, with what appears to be only a cheerful outlook, and unbending resolve, she is accomplishing something through pure physical, mental and spiritual effort. A goal, that for most of us much less gifted than her, appears to be teetering at the very brink of impossibility. Yet it is a task of the utmost simplicity. For all she wants to do is to go out every day and do the most natural of human activities and that is to run to the best of her ability.
Along the way though, there are many women who are looking at her with real admiration at what she is attempting. Some have the chance of seeing her every day and in particular her superb support group who are there helping her for most of the day. Also there are many women around the world who also can identify on a deep level with this magnificent runner who humbly describes herself as a secretary from Vienna.
Bahula is one who is here with the morning singing group every day. She also was a great supporter of Suprabha for many years. “She is a world record holder in many events. Last year when she came it was the first time at doing a multi day in a while. So it was all new to her. This year she has come in probably better trained, and having a better expectation. The thing with Surasa is that she has a fantastic mental attitude and a fantastic inner approach. She is very poised. She is very very cheerful.” When ever any problems occur her most natural response is, “It’s not so bad. It’s okay. It’s fine. Everything is great. She is just incredible as a runner and as a person.”
What makes one, not just a good female athlete but a great athlete, no matter their gender. It seems one has to be both equally talented physically, as well as mentally. Bahula adds, “she is very even, very sweet. She is just a dream. She is just a great runner.” I then ask what can anyone do to try and be another Surasa. “I don’t know. It is God’s grace I suppose.”
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For both Ashprihanal and Igor there is less than 1000 miles to go. A reason to cheer but not yet celebrate. Ashprihanal squeezes in one tiny micro nap.
Both Pradeep and Purna Samarpan had pretty good days yesterday. 116 laps and 113 laps respectfully. For both this is a tremendous advance in their prior numbers…..but.
Pradeep has 1300 miles, and Purna Samarpan has 1360 miles left to go and only 20 days left to do it.
Stutisheel had a bad day yesterday. He has had a problem with diarrhea that has taken away his strength. His tireless support crew, which consists of his daughter Alakanada. Still he was able to complete more than 57 miles.
She also is taking great photographs every day of all the runners.
Right click on any pic to make larger.
“I don’t know what happened. I am also surprised.” For the last 3 weeks Surasa’s laps have varied very little from her almost methodically exact average of 110 laps a day. The last few days have been hot and yet she coolly maintains her usual pace and rhythm. Yesterday she even had a treatment by the visiting chiropractor Pradhan and yet she says, “in the evening there were 112 laps.”
“He tested all things. He was looking for weaknesses in my body. He was checking everything. So it was very good.” The Doctors try and come often but can’t be there every day. So quite often they are very much in demand when they are in attendance. Pradhan has come especially from Chicago to be of service to the race.
What he discovered in Surasa was that she had one weak leg. “I felt this weak leg, ” she says. “It was very heavy. The muscles are very tight. That is all.” He made some adjustments but also recommended that from time to time she should walk or run backwards. She is pleased in that in his checkup he found little wrong with her. Which has to be more than a little encouraging as she is about 2 days away from reaching 2000 miles.
She has been doing extremely well in the warm days. “You need much more power if it is so hot, and especially if it is so humid. But somehow it is not so bad. I mean when it is cool than you feel the difference, how easy it is, compared to the hot and humid days. Once the evening comes than that is the end to the heat and humidity.”
I ask her if there is anything different that she is doing this year compared to last. She is remarkably 255 miles ahead of her pace from last year, which is also something like 4 days of running. “This year from the beginning I had the insoles from last year. I felt comfortable with these insoles. Now it is very easy. When I change the shoes, I change the insoles. I am quite happy with the shoes that I have so it is easier than last year.”
She says that she has no special diet and eats pretty much what ever the cooks are preparing. She does take supplements which includes, vitamin C, Magnesium, and some others. “Not too very special. Chia seeds, and green magma, some drinks with lemon, honey, and salt. I am happy not to take too many supplements. I think that without supplements though it is not possible for me. I think I need it.”
I wonder just how much support that she is aware of, outside the small group that daily comes to the race. “It is very nice when you see that people are thinking of you, and that they support you inwardly. This is really very touching for me. Just to see and to feel that people are behind you, and supporting you. This is really very nice.”
I ask if any person or message inspired her more than any other. “But I really treasure one message from a girl. She does not know me, and I don’t know her. She only learned about the race from the internet, and because I am a girl, she is supporting me, and also last year she wrote, so nice faxes to me, and also this year.”
“Before I started she wrote a fax to me, where she wrote that she is so happy that I am coming again. My very very first fax I got from this girl, from America, who I don’t know personally. This gave me a lot of joy and I was so surprised. I was so grateful to her.” I suggest that it must be Laura from Kansas. “Exactly, it is, Laura.”
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Recited by Alakananda
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Opportunity is a dream,
A sweet dream,
Which is always eager to awaken
Of life’s experience-reality.
Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 17, Agni Press, 1981.