August 5: Something Good

“I also don’t know what happened.  I had no wings.  I was not flying.  It was running, really running.” On her last full day on the course yesterday Surasa ran an incredible 120 laps.  An amount she has not done since way back on the 2nd day of the race.  “I realized it when I heard 92 laps and I was looking at the clock and I thought, O My God.  I am one hour ahead.  It was so easy.  It didn’t kill me.  The only thing I did differently was I didn’t take so long of breaks.  I took shorter breaks.  2 breaks of 25 minutes.”

Surasa-sun

On her most recent big day, when she ran 117 laps, she took 2 long breaks.  Yesterday when she ran 120, “I thought, I am not tired.  So I can make shorter ones.  This is such a difference.  Most of the time I realized I took too long of breaks.”

When asked if for some reason the race distance was extended, could she just keep going? “The feeling yesterday was yes.  I could keep on going on.”  She has a problem with blisters she says, but otherwise her energy and her body could easily continue.  “I am looking forward to just to sit down, and observe the race.  It has been such a long time since I sat down.”  For the past 50 days she has never also been able to eat at a table, or all of the dozens of little conveniences and habits that we have all taken for granted over the past 50 days.  Something her, and all the other runner’s hyper mobile lives simply cannot allow.

surasa-singers

In just a few hours from now she will finish her final 20 miles.  A distance that for most runners is still a pretty serious task.  Yet when you look at her smooth rhythmic style she makes the this extreme sport somehow look effortless.  As if she were somehow specially designed from the inside out just to do this.  True she got into multi day running almost by accident and yet in her lengthy career she has managed to accomplish a record of achievements that is just a little bit beyond extraordinary.

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This humble soft spoken lady from Vienna has world records in distances from 1000km up to 1300 miles.  What also should be noted as well about this is perhaps even more amazing.  She  has never once been beaten in any multi day race she has run.  A fact that she would not likely tell you, but you don’t have to search too hard to uncover her long list of achievements.  Then to add to all this incredible catalog of facts, is that she is also 55 years old.  In a few hours she will not only set her own personal best here she will also be the oldest runner to ever finish the race.

In our world where athletes dance across the playing field when ever they score, Surasa is a reminder to us all that greatness does not have to be demonstrated by fist pumps and loud screams in front of the goal.  Quietly doing your best and focusing on the true goal within is also something to celebrate and admire.  To understand why she does this so so difficult thing she says, “Sri Chinmoy inspires me most to do it.  I see it as an opportunity to finally do something good.  This is satisfying, and makes you happy when you know you are doing the right thing.”

Speaking about her friend Nidhruvi who will cross the line tomorrow.  “It is so great that we are both finishing.”

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Sri-Chinmoy_running

At every moment
God is expecting something good,
And not great,
From you.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 35, Agni Press, 2004

Rupantar looks at the board.  Something he will have only to do one day more.

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Ashprihanal has shown up again, even though he doesn’t have to run.

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Sarvagata will also finish this evening.  He has to do 56 miles…..He did only 48 yesterday.

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The board

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Start

start

“I have no idea what I am going to do.”  Sarvagata’s race has been for whatever reason one of the most inconsistent perhaps on record.  Yet from his perspective it is all a natural and necessary experience.  At the beginning of the day he really doesn’t know if he will be able to finish the race today.

sarvagata-sun

“This race was so unpredictable for me.  I could never say that tomorrow I will run this or that.  Or even today.  Or even next lap.  It gives you peace when you don’t know what is going to happen.”  I suggest that an unstructured existence is the last thing that most people could cope with.

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“It is not that I don’t have any schedule.  Because there is a schedule in the race.  You have to come at 6 and you have to leave by 12.  From one side you have a schedule and from the other side you are not attached to it.  I wouldn’t say it was uncertainty.  I would say it is really certain.  There is somebody out there taking care of me and he knows better what I need.  So it is like you have a Mother and a Father who take care of you.  You don’t have to worry.  Why would I?”

“It is easy to say this here on the course.  I would really love to remember this after the race.  I really want to remember it.”

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“It was a nice surprise this morning I found 40 dollars.  In 2 bills, because yesterday I was worrying about the money a little bit.  I have proof now that it also will be taken care of.  I mean I always have the proof.  All the time and every day.  I just have to recognize it.”

“I am still a human being.  It is still hard to define which is your mind and which is your heart.  I try not to think about it.  But here at the race you have a golden opportunity sometimes to see where you are.”

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“Once I had an experience.  A really nice one.  I had no control of my body whatsoever.  No control at all.  I felt as though I was just a small dot in the middle of my head.  This is all that I was aware of in my being.  The body was just moving like a zombie.  That is why I love this race.  Sometimes you have those spiritual experiences.  Which you know could be, because you have read a lot of books.  You know very good in theory, but here you can have proof.  You can actually experience it.”

“I doubt that I could have this opportunity somewhere else with this same intensity.  But I shouldn’t.  My dream is that race spreads throughout my life.  I don’t want to live before the race and after the race.  I want to live all the time in this.  I will definitely.”

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The morning starts off so still and beautiful

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For just a moment on this historic day the 3 girls in the race are side by side.

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Surasa’s last day is picture perfect

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She gets to thank dear friends for all their help and encouragement.

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Her clipboard is being watched closely.

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Just a few more laps with Irena’s help.

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She doesn’t know it yet but her house is already decorated for her return.

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Still 20 miles of running to do. On legs that could go a whole lot further.

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Some encouragement from another Vienna girl.

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Such a great and good champion.

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Tomorrow it will be Yuri’s big day.

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He has 77 miles more to run.

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Nicolay is now spending all his time helping Yuri.

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We will no doubt be seeing a lot more of Yuri in future years.

yuri-sun

Already his friends are practicing the songs they will sing for him.

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All this so soon gone now.

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Nidhruvi had a tough day yesterday.  One of her hardest, 107 laps.

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She has her determined look today though.

nidhruvi

And for a while she has Surasa on the course with her.

nidhruvi-surasa

Hers is a great great story this first time runner.

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Who has great help both morning and night.

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She is running better today.

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Sopan had a good day for him yesterday.  82 laps.

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Not an easy thing that he does here.sopan2

Now too he is all alone

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Just 2 days more of this.

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Has anybody seen a runner here?

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Baladev had his best day in a long time 103 laps.

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He has asked me to write down the poem he wrote yesterday.

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I need only one thing.

Cry……….Baladev

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He was given a small piece of paper with some text from Sri Chinmoy’s writings that has inspired him a lot.

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Soon Irena will be out of a job.  She says she will miss it.

irena

Ananda-Lahari the great and good.

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He is very special.

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We probably have not seen the last of Sarah.

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She has accomplished so much here this year.

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Things are slowing down for some.

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Then Surasa crosses the line.

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The board shows the unmistakeable victory.

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She is honored by many here and across Europe.

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Her finish

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“Surasa finishes in 5th place in a field of 12.  This is her 2nd finish.  She moves up in the rankings from 29 to 24th place.  As of now 32 people have finished 123 times.  She finishes 3100 miles in 50 days, 4 hours, and 57 minutes.  Which is 61.47 miles per day or 99.37 km per day.  She becomes the oldest finisher in the history of the race.”

“I must say that her nature is so childlike and sweet and charming that she is like a 7 year old girl.  Yet she is a fierce competitor and she is still undefeated in any multi day been in against all the other females.  You know she is really tough.  She took 3 days off her previous achievement.  And at this age she is getting better and better and better.”  Sahishnu

Greeted by all the runners but one just a little more

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Who will have her turn tomorrow….Nidhruvi

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A beautiful evening arrives.

sky

Sarvagata crosses the finish line

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He waits until the other half of him is at his side, Sarvakamya

sarvakamya

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He is honored

faceSongs are sung

crowd

“Sarvagata finished in 6th place.  His 3rd finish in a row in a time of 50 days, 14 hours, and 33 minutes.  Which is an average of 61.26 miles a day or 98.58 km a day.  He is still the 5th fastest of all time.  His best being 45 days.” Sahishnu

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Prayer of the day.

prayer

Recited by Surasa

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

parvati

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I am a chosen instrument
Of my Lord Supreme
Not because I have done
Something great for Him,
Not because I shall do
Something good for Him,
But because He wants to do
Something divinely great
And supremely good
In and through me.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 1, Agni Press, 1983

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4 Comments to “August 5: Something Good”

  1. Francesco says:

    Thank you Utpal!

  2. purnakama says:

    Hello Utpal,

    I have eagerly logged into your blog every morning of this race, and this morning I found myself crying. Tears of joy, and tears of sadness.
    Tears of joy at the incredible accomplishments of the runners, whether or not they were able to finish, and tears of sadness, selfishly, at the fact that I will not have this blog to go to for inspiration and aspiration until next year. As you mused in one of your previous posts, I wish this race could just continue forever.

    Thank you Utpal for selflessly bringing NY, and these intrepid runners to us daily to share in their joys, sorrows, accomplishments and most of all Guru’s Light in and through them.

    Gratitude,

    Purnakama

  3. Utpal I sadly did not see you( one of my favorite writers of all times) until the second to last night (51st) of the fantastic 3100 mile race. Unfortunately “Life” got in my way this year in getting over to see and adjust the runners as much as I usually love to do!!!! Also I think we just kept missing each other the times I was there.
    But this was a perfect night!!!!The air was crisp and cool..the sunset was spectacular as your photos show..and I got to see one of my dear heroes Sarvagata finish the race!!!! Funny how we did not see each other until almost the end …or the beginning of the 3100 race..for after you witness the accomplishments of these brave beautiful souls finishing..you feel different about all of life, the cosmos, and the great consciousness that pervades our spirit.

  4. Sharani says:

    I’m sure the effect must be cumulative with the tremendous emotion of so many runners reaching 3100, including the first woman Surasa. Her photo with the wreath, flag and flowers is radiant with beauty and joy. Yet the moment in this post that made me cry was the close-up photo of the race prayer of the day given by Sri Chinmoy on August 5th, 2006. “Each God-loving thought is as fresh as a breath of dawn.” Can anything possibly be more beautiful or perfect than this prayer which expresses such intensity and depth in a few simple words? I can only imagine that the entire race in all its facets harkens back to its founder’s wisdom, inspiration and example.

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