6 & 10 Day Race… Day 11

Over the course of our rich long lives, 6 or 10 days is not very much time.  Throughout our lifetimes we all will see and be part of so much more.  Experiences will come to us, both what we planned and sought after, and others, that arrive before us, daunting, mysterious, joyous, and sometimes profound.

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Each making its own unique impression.  Each touching and changing us in ways we cannot measure.  Yet no matter what blessing or what dark day comes upon us we eventually know that it is all for a larger purpose.  To aid in our reach and in our steps to towards a distant goal that we never cease to strive for.

Even in lives cut short these few brief days are infinitesimal.  Yet we mortals, when we can, try and live our life rich with promise and fulfillment.  Gradually accepting adversity and failure as companions who will never leave us.  Yet despite their challenge, know that in the end they give us more to strive for than any sweet victory can.

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Tonight our champions sleep a rest well deserved.  The cries, the pains, the lingering anguish that grips and pinches their bodies now will all too soon fade away.  The cherished memories of each and all of these hard fought days will linger longer and then they too will dim.  Trophies won, and medals worn will loose their gleam. Life will go on just as it does for all.

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New challenges will march into the paths of each who came to this sacred ground to run for these 6 and 10 cool bright windy days in Queens.  New opportunities to forge new strengths, reveal more clarity of purpose, and find more richness revealed within.

Of course for all the runners who gave so much of themselves upon the course, there are still so many races yet to be run, so much more to be revealed.  All of it just part of the long sweet journey of self transcendence.

No matter what the outer accomplishment was for each, over these 6 and 10 fleeting days something within has indelibly laid its mark upon all who ran here.  Upon all who helped and hoped for it to succeed, and for all who made the dream that happened here their own.

“I am glad it is over it was a nice 10 day.”  Ashprihanal Aalto had a race he shouldn’t long forget.  Winning the race with 833 miles he ran nearly a 100 miles more than anybody else.  He ran 96 miles on his last day.

“It was my best 10 day ever so I am really happy.  I was trying for 800 miles.  That was my goal.  I trained really good for it.”

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The winner of the 6 day drops by Eoin Keith and congratulates Ashprihanal.  Telling him, “that was phenomenal running.  Really exceptional, so impressed.  My 500 miles is nowhere’s near as good as your 833 miles.

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Rimas has the course record of 901 miles.

“I had a few bad years with a lot of problems.  I am happy now that I have no problems.”

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The final hours of the race are cool and hard.  Kaneenika is also going for a personal best.  In 2011 she won the 10 day race overall with 724 miles.  A number she makes this time with 45 minutes to spare. She then reaches out in those last dwindling minutes to go for whatever she can.

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In the final hours when asked about this she tells me that she can barely think.  “I am sure that it is great.  I am really grateful.  I am really grateful that it is over.  I am grateful that I can reach…..I hope that I can reach, 727 miles.”

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“This has been a dream of my helpers for a few years.  They have been praying so much that maybe this is their prayers.”  Running 77 miles on her final day she finishes with 727 miles, a personal best.

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A day when nature feels stark and shivers just a little.

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Eoin Keith and his wife Helen enjoy the finish line at noon from a comfortable perspective.  He reached his goal of 500 miles earlier and so in now showered refreshed and happy to share the experience with friends and family back in Ireland.  He just gave an interview by phone with National radio there.

“It has been a target of mine for such a long time.  I should go and do a 6 day race.  It always felt that it would potentially be my optimal distance.  When I move the distance out I seem to get more competitive against whatever the given field.  I thought the 6 day I might moving up against the best in the world.  Not that there are that many people in the world running it.”

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Dipali comes by, “she is certainly the best in the world. It is nice to measure yourself against somebody like Dipali.  That is a true matrix.”

Helen says, “It has been great fun.  It has been a much richer experience than I expected.  I have met fantastic people here.  It has been really spectacular to watch it.”

Eoin adds, “there are a lot of amazing runners here.  I haven’t been keeping up with the actual mileage that the 10 day people have been putting in.  There has been some phenomenal mileage put in there.  There has been some phenomenal racing as well.”

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He could have finished running much earlier than he did, but used the goal of completing 500 miles as an inspiration to keep him out on the course.  “Not bad at all.  It is not the dream number, but I always knew that the dream number was not realistic.  It is a dream start to 6 day racing for sure.  I have enjoyed the race thoroughly.  I can stand over my 500 miles and say, that was a good distance.”

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Beauty yet to be revealed.

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“I have never felt so peaceful in a race at the end, ” says Dipali in the last few hours of her race.

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“I am reaching 470 miles and I haven’t been there in a long time.  I am feeling tremendous gratitude.  It has been a real transcendence race for me.”

For Dipali the running in the races brings back lots of precious memories and experiences she had in the days when her late spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy was still with us.  “I feel his presence here every day.”

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“This year many new things have got under control, that make my presence here a little bit more comfortable.” She says many nice things about all the help and support she has received. “The team has been incredible.”

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At this point she does not know exactly what her final total will be.  “I am just running peacefully.”

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It is a day that all have anticipated.

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The finish line special for each one.  Budjaergal Byambaa had a strong last day of 66 miles and finished his first 6 day in 303 which may be a new Mongolian record.

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Vera will be the very last runner to finish with literally just seconds to spare.  This is her first 6 day and she came in second with 343 miles.

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Some spectators were less emotional.

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John Geesler has a great 71 miles on his final day.  He finishes 3rd with 422 miles

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Lo Wei Ming has run a great race and is happy with his results of 640 miles.  He was very impressed with all the help and support that he has received.  “It really meant a lot.”

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His strategy for the race was to start strong, ease up a little over the middle stretches and then finish with everything.  “It turned out to be very good.”

Photo by Frank Su

Photo by Frank Su

“I think that my experience here is like a Chinese proverb.  You are destined to be in a certain place.  I strongly believe that this is what happens.”

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“My goal was to get 1000 km.  Where I placed was not important.  I achieved my goal, and reached my self transcendence.”

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A night time flower

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“You are eating up my cushion,” says Nirbhasa describing events that happened over a long cold night.  He runs now this morning with Sarvagata the runner who passed him last night but one who he does not describe as a competitor but as a brother.  One who he supports whole heartedly, and one who has inspired him to go further than he has gone before.

Nirbhasa will complete the race with 702 miles for 3rd place.  An incredible 80 miles greater than last year.

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There is a great deal of joking going on.  Which is hard to imagine when you consider just how difficult the race is and just how close their final mileage was.  Sometime after midnight Sarvagata passed Nirbhasa who had simply nothing left to give.

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Nirbhasa at this point has yet to make 700 miles and says that he won’t stop then.  “I think I will keep walking around.  Or running around.  I don’t know yet.”

I ask Sarvagata why he was able to run so hard last night.  He ran 86 miles on his last day.  “It is the usual thing.  I didn’t have any goal.”  He mentions that overall he was hoping to at least achieve an average of 70 miles a day.

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Nirbhasa at one point saw that he had a cushion of 22 miles between himself and Sarvagata.  A time came though when he realized, “I have to run my own race.  I was thinking of staying up all night and seeing what I could do.  But I just didn’t have it.  It is not like I have spare capacity back in the bag.”

“It is kind of the first time I have really run this distance.  I ran very hard some of the previous day.  I think in subsequent multi day races my body will be able to take that kind of long distance, and going longer without rest.”

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Follow your heart’s directions

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Not everyone can run throughout a long cold night.

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Volodymyr finishes 5th with 635 miles.

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Shoes that did not make it to the finish line.

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Vishmaya with 463

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Dr. Mitch helping with a shoe adjustment.

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It is a long wide road after all.

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Tatjana with 500 miles.

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Priceless jewels.

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Shamita came back and ran an incredible 62 miles her final day.  Overcoming tremendous odds and a fever she completed 587 miles.

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A world for everyone

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Karin and Gino have had a great experience running here this year.  For Karin it is her first time back to the 10 day race after a gap of 15 years.  She finishes with 404 and Gino has 526 miles.

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From a distance.  Rimas finishes with 403 miles.

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Pratishruti and Karnayati

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Always the little things.

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The great Michael Guoin with 524 miles

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A little brightness here and there on such a cool grey day.

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Michael Korol finished with 337 miles, which considering his cold, and everything else a great achievement.  Multi tasking like nobody else.

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Asked to describe how he could do it all.  “I just stayed focused.”

He has dedicated his race here to Autism awareness.

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Mark Dorion with new friends.

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Some rest while others run.

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Adrian with 475 miles and his supporters.

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Andrey Katchaturov with 625 miles.

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Andrey Andreev with 605

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From the other side.

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Hubert on this final day could at last run again.  He completed 523 miles.

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Don Winkley with 319 miles

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Little slips of green

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Kumar ran 548 and dreams of one day running the 3100

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There was a NY Times article about Vajra’s help in medical.

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Karteek finishing his first 6 day race with a kick.  He had 265 miles.

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Catching rainbows with his phone

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The magnificent Sergei with 512 miles.

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Tents coming down

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“I cannot reflect on it right now because my mind is really blank.”  Gerry Shea came here to run a 6 day race for the first time.  His parents have been his support crew throughout and it has been a great experience.  The 203 miles is just the tip of what this family from Ancaster Ontario has got out of being here.

“I just know something wonderful happened.  When I do a little thinking in my quiet place I will come to some really good thoughts on the matter.”

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Diana says, “just seeing people pushing their limits was really inspirational to me.  I am going to have to take time to digest all of this.  I am going to go back now and set some goals for myself.  I found this whole experience totally inspirational.”

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Are you ready to fly.

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Question: What does your slogan mean: “Run and Become, Become and Run”?

Sri Chinmoy: If we run, we see our capacities becoming fully manifested. Previously our capacities were dormant; they didn’t function inside us. But when we run, we bring to the fore our hidden capacities and are able to do something and become something.

But once we have become something, that is not the end. Still we have to go forward, because we are eternal pilgrims. Everything in us is transcending. It is like a child. To learn the alphabet is his first goal. He studies and learns it. But will he then give up? No. His second goal is to go to school. Then he wants to go to college.

A runner brings forward his capacity and becomes something. Then he looks around and sees some champion runners, and he gets the inspiration to try to become an excellent runner like they are. Perhaps he will one day excel and go beyond them. So there are always higher goals even after we have become something. Once we reach our first goal, we have to run towards a higher goal.

Sri Chinmoy, The Outer Running And The Inner Running, Agni Press, 1974

Photo by Bhashwar

Photo by Bhashwar

18 Comments to “6 & 10 Day Race… Day 11”

  1. Rasmivan says:

    Amazing and wonderful performances by everyone at the race. Thank you so much for these lovely reports and the photos were great. I felt I was there in spirit.

  2. Francesco says:

    Thank you Utpal
    GRATITUDE!!!

  3. Tirtha says:

    Thank you very, very, very much for everything !!! 🙂

  4. Rasmivan says:

    I posted daily your reports on the Facebook Group page ‘6 Day Events in the Future’. The administrator of the group K-G Nystrom says ‘Thank you’. He really enjoyed reading the reports and photos. Other members of the group said likewise.:-)

  5. Suren says:

    Thank you, Utpal, for all the work you have done, all the photos, all the interviews, all the website work.
    Thank you to all the runners for manifesting this dream.
    Thank you to all the helpers and organizers for serving this dream.

    And, most of all, thank you Sri Chinmoy for having this dream.

  6. Many thanks Utpal for your personal self-transcendence. Becuase of your long stay on the course and I suppose little rest in between, people around the globe could have a glimpse of the Great Picture of these races, composed from unbeleivable individual self-transcendence. Sometimes I have tears reading and listening to interviews. Very touching…

    As Sri Chinmoy envisioned, these Self-transcendence Races are of great service to mankind – because of inspiration, going beyond limits, selfless service, self-giving, sympathy, friendship and all the positive and divine things due to which this world is still alive…

  7. Sarita says:

    Thank you Utpal for bringing the race to life for all of us many many miles away.
    Congratulations to everyone: the amazing warrior-runners and the self-giving helpers and organizers.

  8. Mitch says:

    Utpal your words and photos are truly Amazing ,beautiful, and sweet!!
    You are the SOUL & HEART reporter for this special event!!
    Since the experience of these runs are only possible for a Select few gifted people on our planet.. You at least bring the experience to the Regular mortal person so we can have a little taste into this unbelievable transcendent experience!!!

  9. Frank Su says:

    Utpal, Your reports are truly beyond journalism, they are inspirational and testimony of self transcendence as well. Your message brought attention and galvanized communities here and abroad. There is no border in runners community. In Taiwan, there is a saying of ” each step create a footprint ” I am sure that tens of thousand of footprints were made at Flushing Meadow over the years, and I hope it will continue in the years ahead. Lo Wei-ming said at a press conference yesterday that he hope more will follow his footsteps to reach their self transcendence goals and he appreciated your report ,caretaking and most important of all genuine friendship and smiles. On behalf of Lo, local community in NY and those abroad, a big THANK YOU to you and organizers.

  10. Frank Su says:

    Congratulations to ALL the runners !! 🙂

  11. Durmas Lee says:

    Utpal, thank you so much from Taiwan.

  12. Chun-chieh says:

    Utpal, thank you so much. From Taiwan.

  13. chanakhya says:

    Job Done !!! 🙂

  14. Baridhi says:

    Congratulations to all the runners!
    Thanks a lot, Utpal for a fantastic coverage of a great event. The pictures and the interviews were great.
    I really appreciate what you are doing. 🙂

  15. Xiao Jing Chang says:

    Utpal, thank you so much from Taiwan !!

  16. Kaspars says:

    Thank you for all your hard work on bringing us co close to this race and all the people that participate in it, no matter how far we live from NY. Is is very inspirational and heart-touching, and it was a great joy to see couple friends of mine participating in this event as well.
    Thank you from Latvia! 🙂

  17. Vasanti says:

    Congratulations and thank you to all the heroic and self-transcending self-givers – runners, helpers, kitchen, medical, counters and organisers. But if it was not for Utpal’s tireless and eloquent coverage, only a fraction of the race and its inner and outer beauty and the energy it is creating would be known to only a small circle of people. Thanks for bringing the heart and soul of the race and all its “inhabitants” to so many eager souls all over the world! And again, well done to all the runners! You are amazing and absolutely inspiring!

  18. nirmala says:

    the photo from the duck is amazing here what it means:

    Duck, my duck,
    You have the discrimination-power
    To separate milk from water
    And drink milk
    To satisfy your great need.

    The Illumination-Hour
    You separate from
    The huge ignorance-night,
    And you use the Illumination-Hour
    To satisfy your great need.

    Infinity’s silver peace
    You separate from
    Eternity’s devouring fight,
    And you use
    Infinity’s silver peace
    To satisfy your great need.

    Sri Chinmoy, Animal Kingdom, Agni Press, 1973

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