July 25: What If They Never Stopped

It was probably a crazy idea for me even just to imagine in the first place.  That somehow that it might be possible for the race to simply always continue on and that the runners never stop running on the course.  It was still safe when I allowed the image to harmlessly percolate around and about within my own imagination.  But to then go and write it out publicly like this though is another matter.   Because if we accept that some things have to be  impossible, than this would surely be one of them. Wouldn’t it?

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I apologize should any of you be disturbed or shocked by this idea.  I would not blame anyone for dismissing it immediately, for it has to fly in the face of the human body’s physiology, most scientific research on just how much physical, mental, and emotional stress the human organism can cope with.  Then in the next breath you dismiss the organizational capacity of this small volunteer run organization that it can somehow maintain manpower and resources to continue in this way forever.  And then if you have somehow managed to clamber up this peak of  formidable logistics we still  haven’t even mentioned the New York weather.

Despite the complete absurdity of it, I know that I am not alone in harboring this phantom vision of the eternal.  That somehow it really could happen.  That it would one day manifest itself right here on this little New York block.  It has come up in private conversation with the runners over the years and danced across our thoughts like a sunbeam skipping tantalizingly just beyond our reach.  I would not dare survey most of the 12 here now, as to what they thought, at least not yet.

Perhaps the real source of this fantasy right now is that it may have simply arisen because of the grinding fatigue that comes with enduring the almost biblical past 40 days.  There have been too many short sleepless nights and too many long restless days and this could be all some fabrication that has pulled itself out of my imagination.

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Yet there is something about it that continues to haunt me.  Simply put if we believe that what these 12 runners are doing here now, and have been doing here for 17 years is beyond the borders of impossibility what is to stop us from extending the limits even further.  Literally push our conceived boundaries to the brink where limitations and impossibility disappears forever. Sri Chinmoys life and manifestation was always about transcendence in every aspect of our own lives.

Pranjal tells me this morning about his daily running streak which he has maintained now for 5 years.  When asked why, “For me it is much easier.    When you know you have to run it is much easier to run.  There is no excuse, even when you are tired, or sick, or anything.  You know that you have to run.”  So then I ask Pranjal what he thought of simply running here and never stopping.

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“When I was running the first time here I was even praying that the race be extended.  To make it a 4800 mile race.  I did it this race in 60 days on my first attempt.  Still I was thinking to go on.  One more month.”  He said that he mentioned this to another run who said he must be crazy.  They themselves were counting the hours until it finished.

Am I suggesting that one day soon the 3100 mile banner be switched at night and replaced with one that reads FOREVER, ‘No.’ But if we are ever to accept transcendence in even small ways in our own lives, than we have to continue to look at the impossible things and barriers that we have built up around us in a much different way.

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Mind, never stop surrendering!
Heart, never stop climbing!
Life, never stop transcending!
Soul, never stop dreaming!

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 76, Agni Press, 1984

The return of the board by popular request.  The weather is unseasonably cool and it is overcast.  Just might be a great day to run.

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Rupantar has a few words with Ashprihanal

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Yuri has to be happy with what he sees here.

pre-camp5The girls

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Rupantar playing with a translation app on his phone.

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Somehow it all works

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Start

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Atmavir was bothered by conditions yesterday.  He ran 99 laps.

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Vasu is just 14 miles away and there is 560 miles of running for him left.

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Baladev keeping his eye on the ball.

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Vasu had an extraordinary day yesterday.  He ran more than he has in 3 weeks.  124 laps.

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Nicolay has been a real boon to Vasu this year. He has just picked some grass for his socks.

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Surasa had her typical 111 lap day.

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She has exactly 700 miles more to run

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Irena is with her every morning.

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There seems to be nothing holding her back.

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Ashprihanal had a good day yesterday.

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He is looking better.

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He ran 112 laps yesterday.

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Sarvagata improved yesterday as well.

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He ran 101 laps yesterday and is not out in the open at least not yet.

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The morning glories last a brief brief time.

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Pranjal has a capacity to last much much longer.  He describes the change of weather as interesting.  “I think it is nice.  When it is cold you can just put something on, that’s it.  But when it is hot what can you do?”  He says it has sometimes been this cool during the early stages of the race but never so far into it.  “I don’t mind.”

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“The problem is that the clouds are making me sleepy.  It is like clouds over your brain.  There is much in left in my head to be cloudy.  Still the brain cells I have left are clouded.” I ask him, if he could turn his brain off altogether it might not be a bad thing sometimes.  “I think so.”

He cannot answer why others have exceptional days.  He says he can only really speak about himself.  “Yesterday I had a pretty good morning but then I slowed down.”  He feels that overall his performance is slowing down.  “I used to do 118 laps or something like that, now I am doing 114.”

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I mention that some runner seem to on the other hand get stronger.  “I think it is a balance between your weight and your muscles.  When you are lighter you get faster.  But in my case I get lighter but I am also loosing a lot of muscles.  Because I am big I have to eat more.  I have to eat something like 15,000 calories.  It is just impossible to eat that much here.  So at some point I start to loose the muscles. Smaller people don’t need to eat that much.  So they don’t loose that much muscles.”

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This is his 9th year and I am curious if he has moments when he is simply glad to be here and not home in Slovakia.  “I am glad I am not selling tools.”  He says those particular moments of feeling an exceptional sense of belonging don’t happen every day or every week but at least a couple of times during the whole race.  “You just feel it.  You are happy to be here.”

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Getting past obstacles somehow

flower11Yuri had a superb day of 114 laps

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He hits the ground with these very powerful legs

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Vedisha updates the board.

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Everyone trying to maintain the calm….Some getting a little extra natural helpl.

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Nirjharini has brought the morning snacks

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Always pushing the limits

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Nidhruvi had 112 laps yesterday.  It is a number she needs to maintain every day now.

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Silvy helps with a rash.  Nidhruvi says there are still many challenges yet to come.

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Having a special moment with pranika

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Now you see it now you don’t

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Sopan did 106 laps yesterday

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The grass is always greener

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Baladev has made a request of Bhramata and Jayashri

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He did 89 laps yesterday.

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Ananda-Lahari knows which way to go.

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90 laps

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Lights coming and going and other things grateful for where they belong

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Sarah did 88 laps yesterday

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And then, I can’t quite explain why, she demonstrates some various food options.

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Another day in the life of the camp.

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prayer of the day

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Recited by Pranjal

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Once you start
Running towards God,
Never stop, never stop!

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 29, Agni Press, 2002

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4 Comments to “July 25: What If They Never Stopped”

  1. Francesco says:

    Thank you Utpal
    you too dont stop your blog

  2. Laura says:

    Thank you Uptal. Before I even read this this morning, I was thinking about the runners. While they were running all day, I was getting up, doing my own workout, going to work, doing another workout and going to bed. It is the same thing and it is done every day.

    I wish everyone well.

    You guys are wearing jackets! I am waiting to see whether there is a hurricane or not; and sweating in the mean time.

  3. Parvati says:

    Yesterday someone mentioned to me yesterday how much you (Utpal) appreciate the comments received here. So I just want to add my two cents (and encourage others to do so as well)…

    I have the unique opportunity to go out to the Race every single morning and feel a deep oneness with the runners, but I receive SO much information from your blog that I wouldn’t normally have access to. I see you out there running and running with the runners, hiding behind bushes to get unique photos and I know that the blog is a sun-up to sun-down effort for you. We are so fortunate to have you take this selfless (and brilliantly executed) role. Thank you!

    While the “eternal” journey you speak of seems daunting, I know exactly what you mean … I almost felt a twinge of sorrow (okay, mixed with relief!) that the Race will end in less than 2 weeks.

  4. Sharani says:

    I haven’t been at the race in person since it began over a month ago yet I feel as if I visit it in person through your words, photos and audio interviews. You offer the world a very impressive boon in the form of this daily diary of the most extraordinary race the world has ever known. Thank-you – thank-you – thank-you!

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