Late every evening a silent alarm goes off inside of me somewhere and reminds me that I have simply have had enough activity for the day and it is time to shut things down for the night. The are times when I can wrestle a few more hours out of the mechanism but generally my internal clock refuses to be tampered with. We humans are marvels of design and function but according to my observations at least, our bodies simply have a long list of limitations and individual quirks in conjunction with as well some marvelous and wondrous features.
Also when our bodies have been working hard little warning signals come up and warn us that if we keep going this way we are going to be in real trouble. You don’t have to be part of the great surging tide of humanity very long to have this notion of ourselves stamped into our brains that we are limited, we are weak, and we need to be careful when doing just about anything.
If you ride on the same rails as this limiting philosophy you will never see much of the true world or really understand who and what we really are. At 1 am this morning I came back to Flushing Meadow to once again immerse myself in a miraculous world where Impossibility is battled relentlessly by not just those running and shuffling round the course but as well by all those who serve to make it all happen here in Flushing Meadow each year at this time.
Right now it is smack dab in the middle of the vast dark night. The city about us slumbers and is as quiet and as still as it ever gets, and yet a surprising number of runners keep going. Reaching within to pull forth the untouchable reserves of strength and determination that they never knew was possible. As well simply change the old channel of how they listen to themselves and attempt to discover the silent voice within that we so often ignore and dare not listen to.
We don’t do this most often because we are afraid of what we might become. Which is simply our own true divine selves within, that cannot speak, and does not know the word defeat. Instead, it only knows and cares for self transcendence.
“Night running is one of my favorite things.” After having spent just about 8 days on the course now it is hard for me to see mcuh difference between how Sarah runs during the bright day or now in a night that has closed in tight and dark around the park. She calls what she is doing now shuffling but she is so quick that even a talented runner like Yuri gets passed easily, at least for now.
“Actually that are not too many people out on the course now. William Scihel is probably one of the best ultra runners in the world, and when he passes me by which is quite often. It is so incredible.”
“You are on your own and with your own thoughts. Than you hear this little shuffle behind you. We don’t have to talk. Not many of the runners are talking but we are sharing such a nice experience.”
She is now heading into her final 2 days. “I guess I still have that goal of 700 in mind. You know, I am really pushing to my limit to get the daily mileage up. I have to say I don’t think there is much more in me. We will just see what happens. I think you have to let go of expectations, and all the mental stuff as well. Actually just enjoy the fact that we are runners, and we are out here and it is a privilege.”
“If you get caught up in the goal sometimes you just loose the joy. It is a fine balance I guess. I think it is important to have a high goal, something you haven’t done before. At the same time try and enjoy each moment, and each lap, as much as possible.”
Click to play interview
“Instead of 3 quarters running I am probably 3 quarters walking.” Nirbili moves at quite a different speed than Sarah but this 66 year runner from Auckland is simply relentless when it comes to the 10 day race. She has been doing it devotedly now for 10 years. She enjoys the experience here so much and it has taught her how to simply push back any expectations for mileage and focus instead on doing her best and being joyful. “I just have to see what happens.”
I suggest that most people are in bed right now. She says, “Out here it is different. That is one thing I like here, it is different. I am extended to do something I would never do at home. I love that aspect. Something make me want to come back and do it again. It is magic.”
Click to play interview
“I feel the inner energy to continue my race at night.” They are 2 Ukrainian runners, Syona and Vasyl and their energy and enthusiasm as we share a mile together is not only keeping me awake but is also as though I almost feel like I am really coming to life. “Previous races I preferred running only in the day. Now I feel energy to run in the night because I want to do my best result. Nights help to give me more miles.”
Vasyl is in the 6 day race for the first time. When asked whether or not Syona is coaching him he says, “He speaks about the race a lot but does not teach me. Syona always smiles and this is the best possible advise. Better than words.”
Of his friend Syona tells me that he is also being inspired by him. “I feel his dynamic power. I can walk more quickly. My best race was in 2010 I have done 503 miles in 10 days this is my best result. I hope this race is better than my best race.”
Vasyl has twice done a 48 hour race but he says of the 6 day, “It is a big difference.” He is so enthusiastic about what is happening to him. “I want to share this experience with others. “Just moving here makes you happy. And this happiness gives me energy to reach my goal. My goal is self transcendence, and in this self transcendence be happy.”
“They just cannot believe. O my God is it possible.” This was a reaction when the 2 girls recently gave a talk about multi day running. Rageshri and Kushali have been integral parts of these races now for years. To the eye they may not seem like the most typical of multi day runners but when it comes to the most essential component of the race, namely hearts these 2 Ukranian runners are world class.
Before they introduce the race to those who come to their talks they first simply mention the message of self transcendence. “Sometimes you are not satisfied with what you have and what you get.” They show slides of them running marathons. A typical question at this time. “How is it possible. You are musicians.” They describe a step by step process that initially begins with them giving a musical concert for the audience using their performing title of, ‘Sound and Silence. At the end of which they say, “tomorrow you will hear something new. We are not just musicians. A lot of people come to the lecture after the concert.”
Kaushali for the 8 previous years run in the 10 day race. This year she is joining Rajeshri who has done this same race for 7 years. She says, “it is a different experience.” Her first year she describes running the 6 day and not having a happy experience. She thought, “If I run 10 day, maybe I will be happier. I have to tell you that the 10 day is easier. I don’t know why.”
She suggests that perhaps a spiritual transformation has to take place when one participates. One which is easier to grasp and assimilate over 10 days than it is over 6.
“Many of the people say that this is very special. At the beginning of the 6 day we had terrible terrible rain. It was challenging, like no other race. It was so hard. But still people are staying on the roads.”
Rajeshri tells me that a while ago her helper asked her how to describe a runners high, that certainly she must get while participating here. She Jokes, “You know what. I get my runners high only after I have crossed the finish line and I am lying down at home.”
Kaushali describes her best race here in 2006. “I was running first day 70 miles. Then 58 miles. Every day it was so many miles. My friends were asking how was this possible.” She describes smply feeling eagerness and energy. “So it is possible even for me with my weight to run fast.”
“Good consciousness that is the most important. Just to be on the road.”
Click to play interview and concert
Ilvaca gets ready to tackle the night.
“I am enjoying, I am having a really good time.” 4 days ago Francesco and Satyamurthi were just 2 new runners attempting their very first multi day.
“I am happy. I was just thinking right now, why am I so happy. So because I love running, and I mean I am here and I can run as much as I want. Sometimes you have to quit because you have to go back to work, here you can run as much as you want. So what else do you need.”
He tells me that Satyamurthi has struggled with a small problem, “but he is happy to be here too.”
“This is my first one.” Before I leave he will pass 250 miles. Asked if he is surprised by how well things are going. “Yeah a lot. It is all grace it is not me. I just keep on going that is it. Just be happy that is the main thing.”
Alan who is sitting close by confirms, “it is much easier when you are happy. Because the miles flow when you are happy. It is wonderful to be with newcomers. That is what every sport needs.”
Click to play interview
There are so many ways
To reach one’s goal.
I found my goal
By chanting the motto of my life:
“Never give up.”