Just a few hours ago the Self Transcendence race, a grand multi day festival of running, of sport, and perhaps of life itself came to an end. For 18 years now, during the often gentle and sometimes challenging Spring weather in New York, some version of it has taken place on a winding one mile loop.
It is both mysterious, difficult, wonderful, and transformative. Of course the runners themselves usually have the best description of what draws them here. Which usually starts with the typical goal of trying to cover as many miles as possible.
But that is just the first step of a much longer and more profound journey. What usually occurs to each who takes part is something that is not so predictable or calculable. Something that is not so easily described in the brochure, but which quickly becomes clearly evident to all those who run and take part. That something, which is even more powerful, and can and usually does take place within each and every runner. Something not visible or illustrated by the numbers accumulating on the board beside their names.
Over the course of the race I have listened to many remarkable stories and seen miracles take place place, both large and small. Things that also usually take place in the every day world around us but somehow get lost in the clutter and confusion of day to day life.
Here at the race it is a much simpler kind of experience. Thinking and worrying are not to a runners greater advantage. Come prepared yes, but also, at least for the time that you are here, experience the great and wonderful adventure of your own life’s transformation.
Wai Law is a perfect kind of story of what the race represents. “I experienced a lot of things that I have never experienced before. It is like a roller coast ride both emotionally and physically.”
I suggest to Wai that even though this is his first multi day race he must have known that this would be a factor. “Yes but it was way beyond what I could imagine.”
He says the roller coaster ride was a good thing. “I get to know myself better.”
I ask Wai, who got 330 miles and came in 8th whether or not having a self reflective experience as well had to be a real bonus.
“Yesterday I was near a break down point. I was ready to give up. I was running a fever. I had pains every where and they seemed like they were not going away.”
“I stopped for a moment and thought…..maybe I should just give up. But instead I gathered myself and went into the medical tent and spent 2 hours there to cool off and let my fever run down. I came out like a new person.”
I ask Wai, that under normal circumstances he was going against traditional logic of what one should do when faced with that kind of medical and physical condition.
“There is unlimited power inside a person. It just depends on whether or not you want to dig deep and find it.”
I ask Wai what he may have learned from all of this that he might use later on in his life.
“Never give up. Try and dig deep and see what is within yourself. Go beyond what is in front of you.”
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