July 24: It Is Just Real

They are the quiet heroes.  They are but 10 and yet though so small in number, these runners are a veritable army rising up to challenge impossibility.  If you look for champions who wear capes and wave magic wands they will not impress you at all.  For their foes are not diabolical wizards but things that can subdue us all, like weather and weariness.

When our most crushing enemy is a simple lack of faith in ourselves they demonstrate each day, by simply lacing up their shoes that all ignorance can be defeated. You just have to try.

Just a day ago they entered a battle like most had never seen.  Nature launched a twin salvo of suffering.  With one hand it threw at them heat and with the other it showered them with humidity.  A deadly combination that ground much of the city and country into submission and yet they continued to respond as best they could.

Slowed, and certainly humbled, they nonetheless ambled on through it all.  Each making at least 40 miles when much of the rest of humanity was scampering to  shelter at beaches and cozy air conditioned homes.

Not surprising, at least not to those who have watched the great escapade unfold this summer, is that the ones who surrendered to it least of all were Pranjal and Surasa.

Somehow Pranjal, with his big Slovak engine inside, churned and rumbled his way all the way to 57 miles (104 laps) on Friday.  The gentle Austrian lady Surasa also completed 104 laps.  She who is skipping lightly over any of our usual notions about surrendering to the limitations of age.  Each day she continues to prove that has to be composed of some much more tougher stuff inside.  There are times when it appears as though she just makes it all looks so easy and almost effortless.   As though we all could be quiet heroes.

This is how you look after coming off a one day vacation.  The single most popular activity being sleep.  Food was delivered to all and very few ventured very far from air conditioned rooms.  Today will also be hot but not nearly as brutal.  The sun’s fury will not be fully unleashed upon the unwitting earth due to a protective blanket of cloud for most of the day.  Rupantar gives caution to all and stocks up on ice.

Start

Day 43

 

 

 

Sarvagata starts the day with just 200 miles to go.  I am curious about what it was really like for him and the other runners here on Friday.  “it was really intense, like a war.  You were fighting for the water in your body.  You were trying to keep as much of it as you could.  Still you were trying to move on.  Trying to run…..sometimes.”

“I had no time to be scared.  I had to do a lot of things to survive.  I had to change the ice under my hat.  I had to wash my face.  I had to breathe.  I didn’t have time to think about it.”

“Any way Sri Chinmoy says that we don’t have to be negative and think about bad things.  We should think about good things.”

He had his helper Dimitry with him all day.  “Half of the credit should go to him.  If not more than half.  He was really really concerned and concentrated.  Even more than me.  He was indispensable on this day.  I am so grateful to him.  It is only thanks to him that I got through this day.  More or less survived.”

He is not bothered that his mileage for the day was his lowest.  “I have been taught by this race that you don’t have to be disappointed.  I was really happy about this 102 laps.”  He went home with 2900 on the board.  “Sometimes numbers inspire us.  When you see that you have only 200 miles left for the next day it will inspire you.  It was Dimitry’s idea to have these nice numbers on the board.”

“Before the start the race directors warned me to be really careful, and slow down a little bit.  If they see any sign of exhaustion or heat stroke, they would pull me out of the race.  So I had to be careful.  So we decided to keep some power for the next day.  I don’t know if it is right or not but I went home pretty much full of energy still, not exhausted.”

Yesterday morning he got a call at 5 am saying the race was postponed.  “I told the news to Igor and he was really happy, to have a day off.  For me there were different thoughts.  From one side, I told myself that it was okay.  On the other side the finish was postponed for one more day.  I tried to take all the advantages of a day off.  I went to the Aspiration Ground.”

Sarvadhara his sister is here for a few days

He also later invited a physical therapist friend to come by.  He gave both him and Igor what he calls outstanding sessions of therapy.  “He was so kind and did it for me and my friend Igor. He spent 3 hours on us.  It was just amazing.  The day off was good for my body and I feel it today.”

“I tried to move as much as I could and not get into the relaxation mode at all.  Because the deeper you go into that relaxation mode, the further it is to go back to your running mode.  I didn’t run but I walked and I cycled.”

I am curious if he now looks upon what he has in front of him as a 200 mile race.  “I am still keeping the philosophy of one day at a time.  There are some thoughts that I can finish it in 3 days.  Still this is the race that is unpredictable.  It is not 100 meters.  Even 100 meter race can give you some unexpected surprises.  Needless to say the 3100 mile race brings new surprises every day.  I am just trying to be open to whatever experiences come to me and to rely on my spiritual teacher.  Whatever happens in the next 3 days I am ready and happy to accept right now.   (Laughter) At least this morning.

Is there anything that you are looking forward to after it is all over?  “I like the intensity in my life.  I really like it.  When I have intensity in my life I feel that I am alive.  This is the most intensive part of my life that I have experienced in the past 2 months.  After the race I want to have the same intensity in my life.  So I am praying not to go down.  I want to keep this intensity, at least today.  I like this, I just want to continue.  Maybe not running but at least something else.”

Click to play interview

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I ask Igor jokingly, that if someone were to drive up in an air conditioned car and his bags packed inside, and as well had a ticket for the Ukraine, would he ever consider leaving the course and instead head directly to the airport.  “No, I knew the finish is waiting for me.  I wouldn’t stop the race unless there was some significant reason, an injury or something.”

When asked about Friday’s hot conditions.  “I couldn’t imagine how someone could run in such weather.  By Friday evening I felt like I was on the edge of breaking down.” (90 laps)

By having yesterday off.  “I felt like I will have 2 finishes.  One was yesterday, and one will be for the race itself.  I was also able to sleep well after all these days.  I also had a massage which recuperated my muscles.”  The most significant thing he feels he was able to do was to go to the Aspiration Ground.  He stays close by but has had no opportunity to do so while the race is on.

“And at the end of the day I had my dream come true.  I was dreaming to be able to go to the beach, and step with my bare feet on the sand, and swim in the ocean.”

“Now I feel strength and inspiration to run once again.  I was afraid that after that hot day I wouldn’t be able to run, the same way at all.”

I know that there are many people in the Ukraine and as well the Russian federation who are following the race.  Does he feel their support?  “I feel not only their support, but I also often speak to my relatives and friends back there.”

 

I then ask if he thinks others can understand what he and the others are actually doing here.  “I can’t say for sure because I myself do not really know what is happening here.”

 

I ask, is it gradually becoming clearer to him?  ” I think that many many years from now this experience will unfold itself within me.  I will keep understanding more and more with time.”

The finish line for him will come soon.  Will he be happy or sad when it is then all over for this year.  “No, I don’t think that I will feel sorry.  I will feel happiness, joy, and gratitude.”

Click to play interview…. grateful to translation services of Gagana

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“It is an amazing undertaking.  For the people who do it and people who support it as well.”  Chris and Susan are real friends as well as fans of the race.   They regularly go to Oneness Fountain Heart restaurant and were also interested in following what happened at the 6 and 10 day race this past Spring.

“It is a nice thing.  In today’s world we pay so much attention to nonsense and negativity.  If you were a reporter for somebody who was looking for good news, then you would be right here.  It’s inspiring.”

As we chat he continually stops and applauds the runners who he knows by name.

Susan says, “He is very interested in it, and it has kind of rubbed off on me and other people that he knows.”

“I found the 6 and 10 day very inspiring as well.  It is just so positive.  It is not pretentious.  It is just real.  It is substantive.”

He then adds,  “I would like to try the 6 day race.  I don’t know if I could do 3100.  You just do what you can do.  You do your best.”

Click to play interview

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The food angels, or cooks came by for a photo session this morning.  They continued to work for the runners all day yesterday, preparing food that was delivered to them throughout the day.

Poem of Day

for July 23

Recited by Suprabha

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Poem of the Day

Recited by Sarvadhara

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

Click to play

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Real happiness tells me
The secret of secrets:
God the infinite Happiness
Is constantly knocking
At my heart’s door.
I just have to open it.

 

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 3, Agni Press, 1998.

3 Comments to “July 24: It Is Just Real”

  1. Utsahi says:

    I just want to express my gratitude for the blog you offer to us all
    every day. Because of you, I feel I’m part of the race. I feel I’m
    there every day.I’m so touched by what you write.
    I was in Switzerland +France +Italy for three weeks, conferencing, etc!
    Every day I could follow the race and have a different perspective on
    it because of all the angles you cover. And here in Ottawa, many times
    a day, we look at it, read the latest developments, in oneness with the
    runners of this amazing journey.

    Between the photos, Sri Chinmoy’s poems, the interviews, all is amazing Utpal.
    You are doing the race yourself! And it’s an important part of it,
    because you translate for us what is happening at the runners’ level.

    Through Skype, I’ve been sending messages to Sarvagata, many times a
    day, throughout the race, because of our friendship, oneness and the
    admiration I have for his amazing achievement. Everytime i send him
    some quotes of Sri Chinmoy. I share with you the last one:
    “TRANSCEND YOURSELF TO SEE WHAT YOU TRULY CAN BECOME”

    Utpal, my gratitude goes to you for this unique contribution you are
    making to this race. If I had a blog, I would write about the role of
    your blog in this race!! Through this medium, there is oneness between
    the runners and the world, basically.
    Gratitude, Gratitude, Merci, Thank you,
    Utsahi

  2. Laura says:

    The best answer: ” I think that many many years from now this experience will unfold itself within me. I will keep understanding more and more with time.”

  3. Last year Misha was serving me at the Oneness Fountain Heart, I would eat there at least once or twice a week . He would also serve me at the Smile of the Beyond. I was actually there with some friends and he was happy to tell me he got his spiritual name Sarvagata…from being with disciples for many years I knew this was a very big moment in his llife… .and I think I said congratulations or .. I might have also said Mazel Tov..which means good luck!!
    I have ran some laps with him during his 10 day races and also this his first 3100 race, and also worked on him as a Chiropractor. He is amazing to run with!!
    Very intense, focused, funny at times, kind and sweet.
    One time during the 10 day I played him my favorite Sting song Fragile..about how fragile we all are, a very beautiful song..he knew it..in fact he said Guru actually met with Sting once..Two weekks later after the race he showed me a picture of Sting with Guru!!
    Thursday I went by to see the runners and was amazed that he was in the lead!!!
    I had actually told him and many others that he was the “dark horse” in this race. I expalined to him what that meant , about two weeks ago. It means someone( Horses or people) in a race who are not expected to win all of a sudden surprises everyone..and wins!!
    Tonight on the eve of Sarvagata’s victory tomorrow I am honored to have been a small part of all the runners amazing work and success!
    When I reminded him on Thursday after he took the lead that I said he was the “dark horse” with a straight face he looked at his very tanned arm and just said “I am Dark”..I think that was a joke for him….it was very funny in a Sarvagata way.

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