“I am doing so phenomenally well that, I shouldn’t be allowed to be here.”
Over all his long and joyful years of running, Ray Krolewicz has run more miles, gathered more friends and admirers, and found more joy and fulfillment in his life than just about any person you will ever meet.
He has been here on this rugged little track now for 14 days and if the Ray K’ites haven’t come out here at one time or another to run and walk with him, then he has talked with them on the phone, been texted, or he has been sent regularly a thick wad of, ‘Way to Go Ray’ emails.
There is an infectious charm and wit to this bearded, shirtless, wonder from South Carolina. The exact numbers of runners that he has encouraged, trained, and entertained has never been recorded or made note of.
But even after just a few days out here in this distant corner of Queens there has been a constant trickle of Ray K fans and followers that have thread their way through the 5 boroughs, and numerous nearby states to come and be at his side. To run, to listen, to maybe get a word or two in, but more to just enjoy being with Ray who is now doing what he likes most to do in life, and that is run.
He makes no bones that by nature he is competitive, but he also wants others to do their best and to also find their own joy. His is a happy life and he is also one who is generously trying to make a happier world.
Some time today he will pass the 1,000 km mark. A great point of reckoning for most ultra runners but it is also one that bluntly reminds Ray that there are still another 4,000 unforgiving kilometers still to be endured. “I am suffering probably less than anyone else in this race. But also more than I can transcend.”
There is no runner here who does not at one time or another have to confront their perceived limitations. Whether it be physical, mental, emotional, or spiritual. For a few days now Ray has found his pace diminished to something that looks like a shuffle and at other times like a walk.
He is tired, he is hurting, and he knows that it isn’t going to get any easier any time soon. Why this is so he says, “maybe spirit over physicality. Maybe I am afraid to dig deep and find out if I can be as cheerful, if I were in more pain.”
“I have been asking myself these questions for several days. If I were hurting as bad as some of these other runners. Heh, I have foot pain, I am not using that as an excuse. I am trying to let some things heal. People say, it takes time. Ok. If it takes a couple of weeks for guys who have done it before maybe it will take me 3 weeks.
So I am trying to take care of myself. But would a Ray Krolewicz who has a 1000 miles in and was grumbling, cross, and irritable. Be more of a preference than a Ray Krolewicz who has only 600 miles in and has a smile, a song, and a story to share, each time someone comes by.”
A Question that was asked of Sri Chinmoy about his ultra races.
Sri Chinmoy: This creation is not mine. It is God’s creation. Again, I am absolutely sure that God does not want anything that is good to disappear from His creation. Today He has inspired me to serve ultra-distance running. But if He sees that I am not doing well, or if He has had enough experiences in and through me, then He can easily choose another instrument. But I am absolutely sure that God will not ask human beings to give up long-distance running.
“Run and become, become and run” — this is the motto of our Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team. Something that is good in God’s creation will always last; it will only make progress. From time to time we may see setbacks, but eventually it is bound to flourish.
Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy answers, part 32, Agni Press, 2002