6 & 10 Day Race… Day 10

Sometime late last night Shamita was just so sick that she simply could not continue.  She had been battling a cold and fever for 6 days and the state of her declining health was getting more serious.  What else could she do?

With 36 hours still left on the clock it was not something this 49 year old Austrian runner took lightly.  She has never before had to abandon the track during a race, and last year she came back to the sport after a long long gap of 20 years.

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When she showed up in Flushing Meadow last year she had trained and she was fit.  There seemed no reason not to be able to take up multi day  races like there had been no gap.  She ran 593 miles, a really good number.  So this year it looked like she could do better.  At the same time, all she really wanted was to give and do her best.

Yesterday she had finished her 8th day here  on the track with 502 miles.  With a full 48 hours left she was easily on track of surpassing her mileage from last year.  Then it all came crashing down…. well not exactly.

“When I went home last night I had the highest fever you can have.  Almost 40 degrees.  I thought okay, that is it.  I have to quit, I tried my best.  But in the morning I had a nice sleep, very quiet.  No airplanes like here now.”

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In the morning she meditated and she heard a voice within her say, “there is still one more day.  What are you doing here. So go.”

“I was very happy to come back.  I just want to stay in the race.  This is the most important thing.  We all do our best.”

She describes how we never can predict what and when we all will have experiences.  “You never know what happens.”  For her getting sick is the last thing she ever expected, having not had a real sick day she says in more than 10 years.

Now, she like all the other runners, have just 24 hours more.  More than enough time to run many miles more and have experiences that can change your world.

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At noon today it was time for every runner to take stock of how they felt and ponder just what was left for them to do.  Helen was at the line waiting for her husband Eoin when Nirbhasa came in.

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Nirbhasa looks upon the board and wonders.  He has 644 miles for 9 days and has already surpassed his 1000km from last year.  It looks to be an easy reach to get 700 miles this time.  But is there another number calling?

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The long long road still ahead.

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Eoin has a terrific 458 miles after 5 days.  What more does he have left to give.

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Who tells you how much more you need to give

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If there is any runner here with a tougher choice I do not know who it is.  Kaneenika has 650 miles after 9 days.  She is 74 miles away from tying her personal best of 724.

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Ilvaka had 596 miles and has been solid at 64 miles a day.

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Ashprihanal ran 80 miles yesterday and has 737.  Last night he ran late and then there was no hot water for him to take a shower.

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He seems capable of just about anything for his last day on the track.

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Dipali finished her 5th day with 396 miles.

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She is incredibly focused and disciplined at this race.  Her very presence means that Galya, 2nd in the men’s field cannot take it easy.

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The sun is bright for now but rain is coming tonight.

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“Everything has changed,” John Geesler tells me.  “After the first half day I have been shuffling.  Ever since then I couldn’t break out of it.  A little while before noon today all of a sudden I broke loose, and I could run again.”

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Not long into his first day John could no longer seem to be able to run.  He describes how he, “gave a little push up, and all of a sudden I could run.  So now I am back to running again.  I can go twice as fast with no extra energy.  It is much more efficient.  It is great, but I kinda wish it had happened earlier.”

At 5 days he has 351 miles and is in 3rd place.  Just a little disappointed he believes that if he had not been forced to shuffle, “I could have been part of the game.”

“There is no chance of going for 500 miles at this point.  If I had done it earlier than I would have had a shot to go for it.”

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When asked to describe Eoin Keith, “he is a great runner and a good friend of mine.  He is very good.  It is surprising me just how good he is doing.  He is holding up, he will be fine.  He is feeling better now than he was earlier.”

John has come to this race in Queens many times.  He can’t recall exactly just how many times he has run here.  “I have skipped a few.”

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He likes the atmosphere overall at the race.  Though his least favorite section is the noisy part next to the Grand Central Parkway.  “It is a park everybody is out having a good time.  It is a big happy family.”

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Sarvagata is more than on track of making an average of 70 miles a day.  After 9 days he finished with 1000 km.

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George has 319 miles

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Still a beautiful place.

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Lo Wei Ming is running very well.  He could move into 4th place tonight.  He ran 73 miles on day 9 and has 578.

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Galya getting an adjustment in medical last night from Yuri, who comes to help most nights late.

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Pratishruti getting some help beside the track.

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Never easy any day or any mile.

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Pati has 560 miles.

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Irina has 257 miles.

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Oleksander has 470 miles and Patanga has 366.

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Little surprises that you have to see up close.

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Hubert tells me about a surprise that he has never had before.  “The surprise is about problems coming up during this race.  If you have problems than you have to find solutions for it.”  These things come and go.

He knew before starting the 10 day race that he would be surprised.  He has finished 465 miles after 9 days and now there are just 24 hours left.  “There is a whole race change for myself.  I was here to start as a runner.  For 10 days I was going to run non stop.”  He didn’t have a clear goal in terms of mileage but he did expect that he would be able to run the whole way.

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His highest goal though was to run 3 marathons a day.  “This was the highest goal that I could reach theoretically in 10 days.”

“After 3 days I got problems with my legs.”  It was so bad that it was not possible for him to run.  “Now I am on the walking side.”

“The message of this race is to withstand all the problems that come.  To withstand your mind.  To withstand the troubles, and to find a solution for your situation.  My situation was totally changed, going from running to walking.”

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“There was a big wall in my head that I had to break.”  He describes that at the point he could no longer run he had to make a very significant decision.  Whether to drop out or come up with a solution.  The answer he says was to simply become a walker and cheerfully accept his fate.

“My new goal is to reach 2 marathons per day in total.  It means 52o miles in 10 days.  That would be a great result for walking.”

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Most enjoy just being able to run.

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Ilvaka certainly can.

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Some are distracted by other things.

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Karin and Gino still going strong…364 and 481 miles.

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A different size, a different direction.  Don Winkley has 264 miles

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Luis has 225 miles.

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Running looks like this.

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Kumar looks like this after 501 miles.

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A closer view.

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Getting just a little too close to Maria’s strudel.

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Usika has 530 miles

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And this is one of the reasons why he does.

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Upakaraka with 520 miles.

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Spectators.

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Always cheerful Niribili

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Ranjit and Unmesh performing on the course.

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Nirbhasa checking his feet.

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Misha resting his for a while.

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Thankful for the little things.

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And thankful for a short break, a chair, and your very best helper.

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And maybe a support bandage properly applied

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Andrey

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Budjaergal from Mongolia not bothered by the cold.

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Here is to big hats and sunglasses.

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“It is a wonderful, ” says Adrian.

“Running for me is something that I have fallen in love with.  As with most things you love you are prepared to put up with a lot.”

“I embrace the mundane and the monotonous side of running.  I love it.”

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“I tell you what I have found here is a sense of community.”  Not just with his fellow runners but with all who come out and help and support.

He was here from early on, just as the village was being erected.  “Everybody brings something different to the table.”

“This is what I have trained for,  this is what I sacrificed so much for.  This is the fruition of it.  This is the prize.”

For more than 36 hours Adrian had a knot in his right thigh.  “The massage guys had a look at it.  I put a heat patch on it and nothing seemed to be working.  I thought that there has to be a way around this.”

He tells me that as he is going around a certain portion of the course, ” a voice came into my head that I never heard before.  I have never had this advice before.  It told me to jump on that curb at a 45 degree angle.  Now remember the curb is on my right hand side.  The thigh problem is on my left hand side.”  It was an awkward maneuver most definitely but he just went and did what the voice suggested.

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At first he hesitated, then it was repeated, “just do it.”  The voice was so enthusiastic he decided it must be a good idea.  “Soon as I came off the curb I felt fresh legs.  I continued running to the end of the lap.  This has never happened to me before.”

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My mind tells me
That what I need is a finish line.

My heart tells me
That what I need is a progress-run.

Sri Chinmoy, Friendship-Birds Fly, Agni Press, 1992

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4 Comments to “6 & 10 Day Race… Day 10”

  1. Gautami says:

    Thank you Utpal for all the updates….sooo inspiring!

  2. chanakhya says:

    Nice to see the Brothers out there 🙂

  3. Rasmivan says:

    Thank you so much for the wonderful photos and the heart warming stories of the runners. I look forward to reading your reports each day. There are some amazing performances out there this year. I better get myself fixed and injury free and start some serious training, lol 🙂

  4. Francesco says:

    Uptal
    you deserve many thanks as many are the miles all the runners together ran!
    I am not good in words as you are, but i wish to thank you for give us the opportunity
    to live every singol day of this Pelgrimage and be deeply inspired by your photos and words.
    Runningly with Gratitude.

    Never easy any day or any mile.
    SO TRUE!

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