April 27…Each Lap A Journey

“O my, that wind that first day battered us.”  For those who spend every waking hour trying to run as far as you can, a discussion of the weather is not just a casual conversation.  Bad conditions are not just a matter of adding a layer of clothing.  For multi day runners the weather is crucial and may, and often does impact dramatically on their performances.

A bad weather day can set off a series of tumbling dominoes that affect your performance and eventual outcome.  The significance of both hot and cold, and wind and rain is extraordinary.   The Ultimate consequences of which may be, of not just missing a few additional miles, but also causing (almost) intolerable hardship and suffering.

dipali

Dipali jokes about her windy and cold first day of the 6 day race.   “Nobody knew who anybody was, because they were all covered up.”  At which point she pulls her face scarf  up over her nose, leaving very few recognizable bits of face remaining.  That seems like a long time ago, and by the board at least,  a little more than 300 miles back down the track.

In this her 18th year at the race  Dipali has seen just about everything that nature has had to offer.  As we are running on the far side of the course we pass Shirley Kolakovich who is running her first 6 day race.  I ask Dipali about her first experience in running a multi day.

“My first race was 1991, the 7 day race in Flushing, and o my……. I was clueless. I did not know how to do these races.” (laughs)

She uses quite a few uncomplimentary adjectives to describe her attitude at the time. She sums the experience up by saying, “I was really bad.”

Her spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy heard about her discomfort and offered her the option of making a strategic exit from the event but also tactfully queried her,  could she not keep trying and in addition….. try laughing.

She admits, “I didn’t want to laugh.”

An-early-one

An earlier race

But as she recalls now with a big smile and a sweep of her hands, the moment she started laughing she was able to simultaneously release all the tension that she was hanging on to.  She says now that first race was simply so new and so hard that she didn’t understand what the whole event was really about.

“It just shows that if you put determination into something, and practice meditation, that you can really do extraordinary things in your life.” The span of her career so far, and all her achievements in this world of distance running are amazing.

The lake is off to her left, the sun, at least for now is bright and high in the sky over hers shoulder, and…… there is no wind blowing. “Every lap has a story, and each runner will tell you that each lap is a journey.”

She also says that one of her strategies is to simply feel childlike and play around a bit.  “That child like spirit gives me energy.  I am very determined out here as you can see.  I don’t waste time even for one second.  It does make you happy.  It brings an energy.  It brings a force.  But you  have to believe in yourself, and you have to believe in that force.”

Dipali is currently leading everyone in the 6 day race.  She says her real competition is looking back at what she did last year here.  “I did 475.  I am thinking abut that.  I am not thinking about anybody else.”  She says the goal of self transcendence for herself is always the main motivator.

We pass the New York worlds fair unisphere and start heading back to the camp.  She says the past 24 hours have been particularly hard.  She will not make 70 miles for the day but she is not dejected.  The race always has a way of teaching you a lesson, on not just the need for, but also on all the infinite varieties on the theme of humility.

She remembers a time when she was able to run mileage every day in the high 80’s.  She reflects upon this long long period of running excellence that shows no sign of ending, with tremendous gratitude.  “It is not me.  I am just being so blessed with this opportunity.”

Her hands sweep open.  “I can only thank Sri Chinmoy for making these races such an important role in our lives.”

Click to Play Interview:

Bipin keeping a careful watch on the camp, and making sure it runs.

bipin

Baladev is leading the 10 day men with 521 miles

baladev2

Shamita has 507 miles in the 10 day race

camp-entrance

Aidas has been getting stronger the past 3 days and one each of them has posted the most miles of the men.  He has 514 miles

aidas

Andrey stretching

andrey

The long view

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Albena still smiling

albena

Bayarsaikhan

bayarsaikhan

In 2 more days the park will be for the birds.

bird

Rageshri and Kushali are playing a new role for them at least at the race.  For 9 years they were runners and now after 2 years they have come back to take part and help in a different way.

Click To Play Interview:

Not too many years ago

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Little flowers

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Ananda-Lahari

ananda-lahari

Budjargal

budjargal

Some natural beauty beside man made

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Some good old fashioned hand washing

cleaning

Chris has 366 miles

chris

Kaushali spotting the runners from a distance.

clock-kaushali

Don Winkley has 240 miles after 4 days….his record for 6 is 319 miles.

don-lake

Ed Rousseau who would like that record has 214 miles at 4 days.

ed-wide-banner

Nobody sitting today

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Elena in 5th place in the women

elena

Chief morning counter is of course Roxy

counters

Gautami and Manoshri

gautami-and-manoshri

George Biondic with 454 miles.

george

Georgs Jermolajevs with 428 miles.

georgs

Janos and the magnolias

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Karteek

karteek2

Harita

harita

Natural spectators

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John Geesler leading the men with 305

john

A different perspective

legs

Rimas had a terrific day yesterday and ran 75 miles.  He is in 2nd place behind John.

rimas

Mark Dorion

mark-D

Beautiful perspective

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Konstantin

konstantin

Mark McCaslin in 3rd place with 253 miles.

mark-McCaslin

On the edge

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Michael Korol here for the 2nd time.

Click to Play Interview:

Michel

michel2

Nicolai

nicolai

Nataliya

nataliya

Who will notice

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Olexsander in 4th with 470 miles

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Oyungerel taking a phone call.

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Oyungerel running

oyungerel

There are easier ways to cover the miles… La Guardia airport is nearby

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Pati has been sick the past few days but seems to be slowly getting better

pati2

Green onion chives

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Pots being scrubbed.

pot

The great Pratishruti with 213 miles

pratishruti

Counting

counting

Priyavadin

priyavadin

Rajeshri checking the numbers

rajeshri-board

Ratuja

ratuja

Sahishnu

sahishnu

Sandro

sandro

A rarer treat

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The runners will get messages delivered to them.

shraddha-reading-2

Sergey

sergey

Shirley Kolakovich is great to watch here at her first 6 day race.

Click To Play Interview:

Steven Battle blending into the sky

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And now perhaps a bit down to earth

steven2

Some natural camp decoration

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Shraddha

shraddha

Sun and silence

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Sylvie

sylvie

 

Some familiar strangers reading about the race.

volodymyr

 

Vasuprada

vasuprada

Just 2 more nights here in the camp

tents

So near and yet so far

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Wai reading a note….he has 226 miles after day 4 and is in 8th place.

wai-and-note

Ushika has 490 miles and is in 3rd place

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The quiet trees

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Our journey’s start
Is from right here,
And our journey’s goal
Is beyond within.

flower-good

6 Comments to “April 27…Each Lap A Journey”

  1. Kamaneeya says:

    Thank you so much Utpal for these wonderful reports!!

    It’s like we are there and we can feel beautiful energy from the race,

    All the runners and helpers are amazing! They are so inspiring.

    Thank you, thank you!

  2. nada says:

    Just as you said – so near and yet so far, in every sense. Extraordinary run! Thunderous cheers for all the runners, helpers and all. JAI GURU!

  3. Petra says:

    Dear Utpal,

    Thank you for giving your life-breath into all the reports. You enable all of us to be part of those special events. I love all the videos, aphorisms, everything! Yours is a tireless journey. Thank you 🙂

  4. gints says:

    and special greetings to Gundega – she has a neme’s Day Today!
    😉

  5. gints says:

    Greetings to all the Latvian Runners:
    Shraddha, Gundega and Georgs!

    We are really proud of them!
    🙂

    Gints from Riga

  6. Snehashila says:

    To the great organizer and reporter of this breathlessly exciting Race…

    Thank you Utpal for your tirelessly and self-givingly wonderful energy!

    This year I was unable to be here as often I would have liked, but you summed it up so wonderfully, I feel I was there every second!!

    Love your reporting…..so honest and worthy!

    Keep it up!

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