April 29… Go Beyond What Is In Front Of You

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.

sun-ramp

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.

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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.”

wai-law-finish

“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.”

Click to Play Interview:

For straight out great stories the experience that Don Winkley had here is just a perfect story.  He set the 75 age group record here last year with 319 miles.  But as you can see over his right shoulder was a great inspiration to go out this year and do more.  Ed Rousseau from Minneapolis wanted a hold of that record too.

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There is a real competition but even a greater friendship.

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Don set a new American record with 350 miles.

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Click to Play Don Winkley Interview:

Don going down the avenue of trees

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The presence of Don of course inspired Ed to do a personal best of 323 miles and get 10th place overall.

Click to Play Interview:

Aidas Adzjauskas came to the race with a very high goal.

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He had run the 3,000 miles across America last year.  He thought the Lithuanian record set by Rimas, who was also in the race could be broken.

Click to Play Interview:

He was however the overall winner of the 10 day race with 667 miles.

aidas

Budjargal with 487 miles.

budjargal-finish

Precious time running out.

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Baladev finishes 2nd in the men.

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The race for the women in the 10 day race could not have been closer.  Sarah took just a little too long a break on her final night.  When she awoke Shamita was on the same lap.

Sarah-one-more-lap

Shamita had a magnificent race.  She finished with 641 miles.

shamita

Sarah also had 641 miles but completed most of an additional loop.

sarah

Smiles on the final day.

albena

Something for everyone

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Inspiring letters still come

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Growth always

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The journey is not over.

anna

The life of the runners so much different than everyone else.

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Just a perfect day.

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George Biondic had such a great race.

George

At age 62 he ran a record breaking 587 miles.

Click to Play Interview:

Gautamit getting a hand from Mom

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Giribhu

giribhu

Janos passing under the banner one last time with 480 miles

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New flowers every day

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Harita on her final laps.

Harita-one-more-lap

Will not look like this in a few days.

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Most were running hard on their final morning.

runners

John Geesler won the 6 day men

John

He left with his trophy and still had some very tasty home made energy bars.

john-leaving

The kitchen had to prepare one final meal.

kitchen

Karnayati

karnayati

Mark McCaslin was in 2nd place with 400 miles.  A tremendous improvement from his first 6 day total of 312 miles.

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Click to Play Interview:

The fellow who pushed both John and Mark was Rimas who came in right behind them both in 3rd place

Rimas

Mark Dorion getting a final massage.

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Michel

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Niribili coming under the ramp

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With her very great helper Vera.

niribili

Rajpal thinks he has been helping here every year for the past 15.

rajpal

Not word, but work:
This sweet message awakens strength
      in our heart.
Inside work remains hidden the fragrance
      of flowers.
Let work be the language of our heart and
      our proclamation.
Our only aim is progress, not victory and failure.

Sri Chinmoy, Garden of love-light, part 3

The poem written by Sri Chinmoy was selected by race director Rupantar to encourage and inspire more to come and help.

Rupantar-getting-ready

The presence of volunteer helpers at the race each year is crucial.

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Every job helps so much.

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Trees

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Oyungerel

Oyungerel

Pati Ibinova’s son drumming on a bucket.

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Pratishruti

pratishruti

A little closer

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Priyavadin

Priyavadin

The tents coming down

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Ratuja had a good race but has found some very new things this race….. a bad achilles.

ratuja-resting

Sara on her feet.

sara-good

Sara not on her feet

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Sara and a flower

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Protection from the sun

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Last minute photos

Picture-taking

Soon the trees will be green

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Last minute miles….. Pedro being chased by Kumar.

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A story that is wonderful as it is unfathomable.  Kumar from Nepal, who worked full time most of the race finishes with 313 miles.

Kumar

When are they going to leave the park to me.

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Shirley finishes her first 6 day with 211 miles

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It actually starts to feel a little warm so some try and cool off whatever way they can.

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Chris Mak

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Wide open spaces

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Steven Battle

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Team Lithuania

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Dipali wins the 6 day race overall with 451

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Her great support team with her every step of the way.

dipali-team

There will always be additional wonderful stories.  Pati Ibinova is someone who represents an attitude that most of us would love to have even a tiny portion of.  She ran in the 10 day race last year and came in 3rd with 618 miles.

This year she starts off on a record pace and then gets quite seriously ill.  Not disheartened or frustrated she simply focuses on getting well enough to go back out onto the course.  It made no difference what mileage she accumulated. In her heart to participate and take part and give her very best was all that she asked off herself.

Click to Play Interview:

There is always next year.

course-sign

We must always try
  To go beyond
Our earthly capacities
  And
Our Heavenly qualities.

 

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6 Comments to “April 29… Go Beyond What Is In Front Of You”

  1. nada says:

    SUPREME CONGRATULATIONS TO ALL THE MAGNIFICENT and MIRACULOUS SELF-TRANSCENDENT RUNNERS!SUPREME CONGRATULATIONS TO EACH AND EVERY SELFLESS AND CHEERFUL HELPER! SUPREME CONGRATULATIONS TO YOU, UTPAL, FOR UNDESCRIBABLY SOULFUL SERVICE!And deepest,deepest G-R-A-T-I-T-U-D-E to EVERYBODY but MOSTLY to the ONE WHO INSPIRED IT ALL!

    Congratulation, congratulation!
    Brother, sister,
    We hoist your supreme glory’s banner high.
    In you, for you,
    our blue-gold satisfaction-sky. – SRI CHINMOY

  2. Vilas says:

    Dear Utpal, Thanks for all the reports, words and pictures. I really enjoyed reading them every day.

  3. Vandya says:

    Thank you Utpal! Time and again, THANK YOU! And thank you ALL!

  4. Alexey Beysov says:

    Thank you!

  5. Baridhi says:

    Another fantastic event and really well covered. Congratulation to all the runners and helpers!!!
    Thank you, Utpal!

  6. Hridayinee Williams says:

    Uh Oh Utpal…….Dipali did not win with 423 miles as you typed above. It was 451 miles and yes a great Overall Victory for the 6day race.
    Thank you for all your inspiring interviews and journal posts each day. I’m so glad to finally read them all now that I’m home in New Zealand after again helping Dipali this year and being part of the most incredible race of our Guru’s.

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