Can I Help You?
While I was running 47 miles, one person came up to me and said, “You do such nice things for people. Sir, can I be of any help to you?”
I said, “Thank you, I do not need any help right now.”
-27 August 1982
Sri Chinmoy, Run And Become, Become And Run, Part 11, Agni Press, 1983
This little story was first printed 30 years ago in a collection of running stories. While Sri Chinmoy was still actively running he wrote dozens of stories about many of the experiences that would take place while he practiced his distance running. Today there are hardly any recorded comments that he made about his own participation in the 47 mile race.
Yet we know, that not just for him, but for all of us who have participated in this most unique and challenging distance, that running those long hilly 47 miles was a golden opportunity. That here on this dusty track and broken road one could experience and find something within that no other race could offer or compare.
How is it even possible to describe the sweet secrets that are to be experienced when you commit and offer all that you have, to the dark tranquil beauty of running throughout the night on August 27th, Sri Chinmoy’s birthday.
For all those who have done so and now continue on this brave grand path, running the 47 mile race is the most precious of gifts. One that is offered from within the subtle silent realm of the runner’s own heart. Based not on time or place but simply on the gratitude the runner has for their Spiritual teacher, who even now continues to shape and guide us on our marvelous and mystifying divine journeys. An offering that cannot be packed or wrapped or explained beyond the simple understanding, that gratitude knows no measure and cannot be explained fully by either thoughts or words. But if perceived simply as a selfless offering of oneself, then only can it be grasped and appreciated instantly and fully.
This act of running, this gift of body and heart is not without some pain, some of the discomfort of asking more of ourselves than we are used to giving. But the greatest moments are those with a joy you can only experience when you discover that your gift of offering 47 miles to your teacher is in fact instantly returned to you. Returned in only the way that Spiritual Masters are able to do for those who have taken their guidance and strength as we forge ahead into the twinkling realm of our own self transcendence.
Registration begins in those few anxious minutes leading up to the 12 am start
Garima has run this race very year since 1978 when it first started.
The numbers are around 100
For a few minutes a light cooling rain falls
There is a mixture of nerves and joy and enthusiasm
For just a few runners 47 miles may not be such a hard thing to do.
And yet each will find their own unique way to follow the course and run the race.
Pratyaya, the race director starts the race as it always has been done
Then it all begins.
For Dipali it is also a most significant day. It is her birthday is well
The night has it’s own special beauty.
Light creates special patterns on the road.
Sometimes it is just a blur of movement but the important things are still clear
The counting never stops
The counting hut a refuge of light and encouragement
The board provides some hints of things to come.
Shadows at night
Uddipan on 168 st.
Sanjaya and counters
Daulot heads up the street.
Nitish takes a food break
No patients in medical but some discussion instead
Small hints of nature
Counters waiting for runners
Slowing down a bit
Dinesh and company making music by Goose pond park
Making sure there is light
Oskar has held the lead the entire night
“Actually I am surprised that I performed better this year.” Last year in his first year he was second. He decided to run then because he himself was 47 years old. “I had quite a tough time because my Mother passed away.” Because she had been sick for quite some time he stayed with his Mom and was unable to train. He feels that this race is for him a gift to both Sri Chinmoy and his late Mother.
He says that throughout the night he was relaxed. “More relaxed than other years. Last year was my first time, but I have been running for quite some time. For over 10 years so I am used to that.”
He describes the race as being far more spiritual than other that he does. “You start at midnight which makes everything special.”
Dipali leading the girls
One girl waiting for her Dad
One girl not waiting for he Dad…..Kallola
Uddipan waiting for no one.
Satyamurthi will be the next one to take the flag
After his finish he has some very private time
Then his Italian friends celebrate. His time was 6:45:09
Abhinabha and friends making music
The answer to where is Shakti’s dad
Grahak and Ushika
Ultra swimmer Vasanti will end up running 31 miles
Nitish will be 3rd overall
Manoshri and some brief support
Garima still on the track
“I must say that this incredible 47 mile race is definitely Supremely challenging….but Supremely blissful. It was quite a race.”
“I started the race and said a prayer on my birthday to offer this to Pranika. I dedicated my 6 day race to her and now I am dedicating the 47 to her because she is Guru’s miracle, and on my birthday what better present could I have.”
Others will have to run much longer
Most will finish before the time runs out.
Film of Sri Chinmoy running in 1979:
We think that opportunity leads us
To something precious:
But opportunity not only leads us
To something precious.
Opportunity itself is precious.
Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 77, Agni Press, 1983