August 4: Doing What We Love

How Sarah feels about completing the race. Which will happen in just a couple of hours.

“It is just absolute gratitude.  A runner’s life is up and down.  Success and failures and everything in between.  I think especially after last year definitely I value it.  But it is just such a team effort.  Because nothing would happen without all the track workers and the race directors.  Everyone who adds to the race in any capacity.  So it is definitely that we are all traveling together.  It is not just personal success.

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Sarah as we are speaking is now just a few miles from the finish line.  She has just 15 miles to go.  She remarks how Pranjal finished the race just 2 days earlier and from the very first morning he never took a morning off.  He does as he does now for 5 years without  break, ran at least 2 miles.

“I think that is what it is just about.  Doing what we love.  So I am feeling a little guilty.  Everyone is putting in this huge effort.  We runners are just doing what we enjoy.”

“A few times during the race I felt, we are so eager to reach a certain result.  But you know that old saying, about the journey being just as important as the destination.  It is so true.  Looking back at all the fantastic memories.  Every day of the race has been just awesome.”

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“Physically sometimes there is just nothing you can do.  You just have to try and be happy.  It happens to all of us sometimes.  You have to surrender to a slow pace.  That’s okay.”

“So many people have offered, not only material things, but encouragement.  But this is what the world will be based on encouragement and not criticism.”

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I ask her then what she feels the the Self-Transcendence race may mean to the world at large.  “This has been one of the main things on my mind.  With all the different conflicts going on now.  There is not personally much we can do.  I think this draws the world’s attention to something that offers hope.  It is about the hope of human aspiration.  It definitely does something.”

“If we keep focusing on the darkness and the conflicts.   Things won’t really improve.”  She appreciated all the media that in fact did come out to follow the story here.

“Just to see the race.  You don’t really have to know very much about it.  Just to know that it is going on I think it does something really special.”

I ask if she will come again.  “If life circumstances allow it. I don’t know what the next year will hold for me.”  I mention all the runners who regularly come back, “it is the main part of their spiritual life.”

“I have to be open to what life brings.  Certainly, even now I am thinking about next year, and how to improve.”  She then mentions the possible appearance of some of the big names who did not attend this year.  “I think the energy is going to be amazing.”

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I mention all the other girls who have attended this race and suggest that she must in some way be inspiring a whole generation of young girls that something like running 3100 miles is possible.  “Well firstly I put Suprabha in a different class.  She has done the race 13 times.  Her whole life is amazing.”

“I think it is just time.  Sometimes we just want things to happen.  I wanted to try this race 7 or 8 years ago, but it was just not the right time. I hadn’t got the experience.  I just needed to develop a bit more.  It is a matter of enjoying your running and see where it takes you.  And of course relying on the spiritual side.  Keep praying to God.  If he wants it for your life it will take place. But if he wants a higher goal, than being a good runner.  He just might have more inspired plans for you.”

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A movie made a few years ago on the race

If at every moment we can feel that our highest Divinity is with us, in us and for us, and that we are with Him, in Him and for Him, then we are bound to create happiness and harmony in our own lives, in the lives of our family members and, eventually, in our world-family.

But we have to start with ourselves. First we have to dive deep within or fly high, higher, highest to discover our own highest Reality. Unless and until we have discovered our own highest Divinity and Reality, unless and until we have brought to the fore our own Inner Pilot, we will not be in a position to bring peace, harmony and bliss to our immediate family or to our world-family.

So let us pray and meditate to bring His divine Presence to the fore and let us be ready at every moment to listen to His Commands. If we can feel that our only task is to please Him in His own Way, then there is nothing that we cannot accomplish either for ourselves or for others.

Sri Chinmoy, Sacred Rock Welcomes Sri Chinmoy, Agni Press, 1994

CKG-Spinting)

Sarah had a good day yesterday with 113 laps.  William will also finish today put in 119 laps.

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The camp will be open for just one day more.  Tomorrow there will be 2 less runners here.

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Early tonight William will set his world record.

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Jayasalini who has 98 miles more will finish tomorrow night.

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Start Day 51

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A very happy William Sichel

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The 2 finishers head off to do their final laps.

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Another beautiful morning

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They are both so happy that the finish line is fast approaching.

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William did 119 laps yesterday. Today he will complete 58 miles, and it will at last be over.

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“I am going to finish tonight around 9:30.  Many, many times looking at the numbers it looked like I wasn’t going to be one of the finishers.”

“To be honest if you come to a race like this the bottom line has to be that you are going to stay to the finish.  I think if you give yourself any opt out at all or alternative, except for the race to medically excuse you, than I think you would leave. You have to have a cast iron commitment to yourself.  That you are going to stay for 52 days.  Otherwise you shouldn’t be here at the end. (laughs)  I don’t think I would have still been here if I hadn’t had that.”

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“At 21 days you could have had very good odds of me not finishing.  But I turned it around and I am going to finish tonight.  Amazing.”

“For me the only way to complete this was to basically keep moving for 17 hours a day.  That was my way.  And all the stopping and starting, when I was trying to do it myself.  Just wouldn’t have cut the mustard.  It wouldn’t have done the job.  Having the crew was absolutely essential.  I am very grateful to those who extended their stay, or brought forward when they were coming.  They became an essential part of the success of the race.”

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He thinks he could have set nearly 2 dozen records over all the time he has been here.  At this point he simply doesn’t know.  “There have been a few over 60’s who have tackled the race.  They didn’t finish, but they did performances in between.”

I ask him if his mind is controlling his engine.  “Absolutely, definitely.  The only way that I have been able to do this.  Is to have complete lock down.  Just focus literally lap by lap, day by day.  People say I don’t talk much.  But the answer is no, I can’t.  I can’t do the steady running I do and talk.  A lot of people can but I can’t.  For me that is the only way I can do it.”

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“I have had to invent new methods here.  The old ones were getting a bit boring or wearing out just because of the incredible duration of this event.  Mainly I wanted to focus more on my breathing.  Just saying the word breathing for 17 hours a day, gets a little tedious.”

“So I had to come up with a new way to think about breathing.  I imagined that there was a ball in my abdomen.  Than blowing it up.  I call it my energy ball.  A lot of my thinking, especially the last 2 or 3 weeks has been focusing on the breathing and having this energy ball.  I based it all around that.  That ball has the energy for every lap, and then for every day.  That is the way I have done it.”

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I suggest that it was ironic that he was rooming with Ray, throughout the entire race.  “We are chalk and cheese ya.  To be honest I have hardly spoken to him.  Because, by the time we get back to the room the conversation is, who is going in the shower first.  Here is William who hardly says anything, and Ray, who never stops talking.”

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I ask him about being a cancer survivor and the charity back home that he is supporting.

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“I think that I am not just doing this for myself has made a difference.  Especially in the very low moments.  Where I really wanted to quit and I didn’t want to stay.  The thought that there was this whole campaign going on back in Orkney.  It does give another dimension.  It is not just about me and my records and my running.  There was this whole aspect to it, and that has helped.  It has helped me put this all into perspective, and helped me to stick it out really.”

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“I made the decision over 18 months ago, to come and do this.”

“I have had a few incredible decisions, and things happen that shaped my life.  I think really only later on whether this was part of it.  I don’t know how I am going to feel later on even tomorrow, little alone tonight.”

“I am looking forward to not being here tomorrow.  It has been quite an ordeal to be honest.  I just want to get to the finish.  That is my total focus now.”

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Sarah on her final laps.

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Vajra delivering snacks and Alan delivering smiles.

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I don’t care what they say.  It is not true.  An Old dog can be taught a new trick. ……Quote Dolly.  10 plus years old and a big fan of the  race.

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New tricks….Ha…Trying to teach a squirrel anything is just nuts.   Speaking of nuts.  Do you have  any?

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Well Philip has taught me how to sit.  I am pretty happy about that…..Quote Harper

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Jayasalini did 106 laps yesterday.

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She has just 98 more miles.

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Tomorrow the Enthusiasm Awakeners will honor her here.

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Soon she will be able to read her own messages.

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Make calls by sitting down.

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Her Friends sitting by her side.

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Tomorrow it will be her turn.

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Flowers to be appreciated from silence and stillness. Not with a rush and a roar.

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A couple of happy frogs

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Stutisheel is honored by the Enthusiasm Awakeners.

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There is still lots of running left to do.

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Shoes lifting up and coming down.

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The normal world so near at hand and yet so far.  Kids coming and going from the school.

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The worlds of beauty and of light.

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Kodanda plays upon his flute.

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Nidhruvi did 104 laps yesterday

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She has 2953 miles starting the day.

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How can we even begin to imagine what she has had to endure.

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Vishavarupani and Lyalya ever at her side.

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The sun will rise over the race one morning more.

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Baladev will be there to greet it.

baladev-sunHe did 99 laps yesterday.

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Will the course miss all those who made it there home for such a long time.

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Teekshanam had 100 laps yesterday.  He has set no final goal for himself.

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There is a growing number who rest and watch.  The journey over

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Another celebration soon will come.

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Friends of the race are gathering.

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Calls are being made

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Cake is coming via Yuri and Vasu

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Laps are being checked.

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Once again, we order pizza, I leave the room and then bam.  Nothing left but the crust.

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We don’t have that problem.  We usually get the all you can eat birdfast special.

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Holy cow my alarm clock didn’t go off.  Did I miss Sarah’s finish.

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I do hope you have enjoyed all the animals.  Particularly me.

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Great the dog gets all the attention.   What about us squirrels we live here. 

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Ananda-Lahari does not stop

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He will not stop until midnight tomorrow

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There is only one thing clear.  To go on.

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“It was difficult,  very difficult. For 5 weeks and 4 days I have had this problem,” says Sopan.

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“It was something I felt I had to go through.  I felt that it was important.  That I had to overcome something in this way.  Because when you have a big problem.  I felt I could overcome it if I stayed.  That it would be a great benefit for me.  This is what kept me going.”

“I don’t know what it is but I just felt the need to go through it.  It is like facing the impossible.  That is the idea.”

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“You know when you can’t reach the outer goal then it becomes pointless.  So if you want to stay you have to find a reason to stay.”

“Persisting and staying through to the end feels for me feels as big an achievement as completing it.  To me it feels as significant. Because I have had to deal with this for so long.  Almost the whole race.”

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Ray did 83 laps

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He is going to enjoy his final time here.

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But he plans to stay busy.  This morning he remeasures the course and discovers that it is long by more than 1000 miles.  Thus he will complete the race on schedule.

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He is also working on his poems

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And of course always working on his friendships.

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Then, in only a way that is the Ray way.  He dresses up for Sarah’s finish.

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Sarah crosses the line.

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She receives the garland of a champion

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She is honored by all.

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Her time is 50 days, 3 hours and 55 minutes.  Her pace was 61.80 miles per day.  She is ranked 25th out of the 35 finishers of the race.

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Sahishnu gives his speech

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“Finishing in 6th place and she is the first women.  She becomes the second fastest woman in the history of the race.  This is the 3rd fastest women’s performance.  In her 2nd attempt Sarah Barnett ran 3100 miles. Congratulations Sarah, a fantastic performance.  On behalf of the Marathon team congratulations and a speedy recovery and perhaps we will see you at the starting line next year.  To move the women’s level up to a higher level.”
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“I do want to thank Sri Chinmoy and his vision for the race.  After 18 years the race directors keep putting in the hours, to put this race on.  So I wanted to thank them.  Everyone here who has given in any capacity to the race I just thank you.”

“Considering the world situation this is just a place of hope and joy.”

“Thank you.”

A Statue of Sri Chinmoy was put up in Dobogókő in Hungary this past weekend, on Saturday August 2nd.  The ceremony was attended by Shri Malay Mishra, the Ambassador from India to Hungary, who placed the garland of flowers around the shoulders of the statue. The location is an ancient and historic landmark near Budapest.

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Monday night a little after 9pm the excitement builds.

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William comes to the finish line at lasts and pauses to savor the moment for a brief sweet moment.

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Then steps across the line.

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The champion

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Ladies and Gentlemen we just witnessed history.  This young man at age 60 competed 3100 miles in 50 days, 15 hours, 6 minutes.  He is the first man over age 50 to do this.  He averaged 61.23 miles per day.  On day 19 he was at the lowest ebb of his race.  He was 71 miles behind the pace.  So from then until now he averaged 63.9 miles a day..

It is an extraordinary comeback.  We probably haven’t seen it and annals of the history of the race.  You just can’t quantify how difficult this is.  It is an extraordinary record and one of the greatest records we have ever witnessed.  One of the greatest comeback performances.  To one of the nicest competitors.

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“I would like to thank the organizers for allowing me to take part.  I first made serious plans for this race 18 months ago.  Mainly for 2 reasons.  I have been involved in ultra distance running for 20 years this year. and the other one was obviously I was 60.  I wanted to do something a bit different from the normal races.  Obviously the longest race in the world had an appeal for me.  I didn’t know why.  That is the background to it, that is why I’m here.  I am absolutely overjoyed that I managed to finish.”

“It did take an inhuman effort trying to get those 70 miles back.  The way I did it was try and run the furthest I could every day.  I thought there was nothing else I could do.  If I could do that I had a chance.  As I grew into the race the distances went up and up.  I found I could knock out 63, 64, 65 miles and basically claw my way back up.”

“I would like to thank everyone involved with the race.  (Lists all)  To make this incredible event happen every year.”

“I owe a debt of gratitude to all three of my handlers.  Without them to be honest it wouldn’t have happened.  I have to keep moving for 18 hours a day.  I am delighted to be the first one over 60 to do it.  I am sure that other people will come forward to do it.  I don’t think it has anything to do with being 60.  If you are fit enough you can do it.

“Once it is been done once it gives other people ideas.  They think oh he has done it.”

“It all expands what is human performance and human possibility really.  I am lucky to be the first.”

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Prayer of the Day recited by Sarvagata and Sarvadhara

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Song of the Day

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This world is full
Of God-fearing men.
We do not need any more.
What we need now
Is just a few
God-loving and God-serving seekers.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 54, Agni Press, 1983

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4 Comments to “August 4: Doing What We Love”

  1. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    thank you.

    The outer difficulties come
    Eventually to go.
    The inner courage comes
    Permanently to stay.

    Sri Chinmoy, 4457 Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 45, Agni Press, 1982

  2. Doris says:

    I am so happy to be able to see Sarah’s and William’s finish here and also to watch it on Pranjal’s video channel.

    I don’t know really what to say. I will have to send Sarah a personal message.

    And you doggies, squirrels and birds, please do not fight. Look up (or down) to your two legged brothers and sisters and learn. We are all beautiful and unique in our own special way.

  3. Anubha says:

    Dear Utpal,
    You are such an instrumental player in this epic Race, sharing it with the world like no other. CONGRATULATIONS and THANK YOU for all the inspiration your beautiful daily reports have brought into our worlds during this year’s Race..

  4. nirmala says:

    only Ray can finish with 2014, this is extraordinary in itself the only US Runner can do that to show that thirty-one-hundred will be a year too in thousand and sixty-eight years.

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