August 1… I Hope I Can Make It

I don’t usually ask runners questions about their day to day life while they are running.  My logic, if there is any, is that if they talk about their other lives it will be a distraction from the very real pursuit which they have to face here every day for 52 days.

It is not as though their thoughts don’t drift back into the mundane world from which they exist from time to time. But for the most part they all are immersed in a very real and unrelenting battle.  One which causes them to draw upon all their strengths and resources.  Particularly their inner lives.

The other day though I asked Vasu about his job.  Just what did he do when he is not pounding along the holy trail that circles Thomas Edison High school.  Which for him and most of the others for that matter so often appears to be their real heart’s home.

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Vasu told me that he works 12 hour shifts at a pulp mill 800km North of St Petersburg.  For 10 days he works the day shift and then for 10 days he works the night shift.  After that he has 10 days off and so goes back to his home.

So I asked him the obvious question,did he like his job.  He answered with the sweetest smile, “If I don’t like my job I lose my time.”

This means of course that I have never heard Vasu complain about anything.  Never grumble, never moan, never be upset.  If he ever does he must do it on the far side of the course when no one is looking.

This being his 5th time at the race he could easily find something to be bothered by.  Just a year ago he was poised to finish the race in 3rd place.  On this same day he had 3001 miles.  Proverbial inches from the finish line.

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Now this year he has 2740 miles.  261 miles less and about 4 days behind.  But his blister has kept most of his mornings down to a slow aching walk.  But eventually it relents, or the blessings from above come, and he starts to run.  He did 64 miles yesterday.

I ask first today, do you see the finish line.  “I hope yes.”

“This year there were times when I did not see the finish line.  But now I hope I can reach it.”

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Recently he has been receiving treatment from Kausal.  “He did very good and he has also helped many runners to run better.”  Vasu feels that Kausal is acting in a very real capacity to help the manifestation of the 3100 function.

“I don’t think anybody can do this race on their own.  This race needs team work.  Everybody is important who is part of it.  Someone runs, someone serves, somebody is a journalist and others come and see us and inspire us to run.  Everybody helps, this is team work.”

“Every year I try and do my best.  This year I also tried to do my best.  I think that the results of the race do not depend on us.  We can only try and do our best.”

I ask him about what is happening between Yuri and Ashprihanal.  “I think competitions is good if it can help them to increase their speed, and that they inspire one another.”

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I ask Vasu then about any memorable moments from the past 43 days.  He turns to me and he says, “You inspired me when I asked you one day if you were going off to the beach to run.”

“You told me.  No, my job is here.  My beach is here.  My everything is here.  Because the consciousness of the Supreme is here.  It inspired me so, so, much.”

*editors note.  A few words of mine can in no way compare to the humble and ceaseless dedication that Vasu and all the runners put in every day. How much inspiration they offer to the world is immeasurable*

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Little by little I must
change my life only
in God’s own Way.

Sri Chinmoy, My blessingful and pride-flooded dedication to the indomitable runners of the 3100-mile Self-Transcendence Race, 2007, Agni Press, 2007

*Click below to read rest of Report*

Click below to see Dipali’s Race Tips:

The board

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The numbers that gets everybody’s head spinning now are what is happening between Yuri and Ashprihanal.  Yuri ran 71 miles yesterday.  His best since Day 2.  Ashprihanal ran 76 miles.  His best since day 1. 23 miles separate the two runners.

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It is not going to be hot but it will be humid today.

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Vajra leaves

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The van arrives

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Kaneenika arrives

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Ashprihanal takes some water

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Yuri comes

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Vasu gets some water

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Baladev

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Ashprihanal in the motor home

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Start Day 44

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Ashprihanal runs quickly from the line

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Yuri

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Yuri ran 71 miles

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He now has 2872 miles.  He leads Ashprihanal by 23 miles

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But just as important, it should be noted, is that Yuri is 26 miles behind his pace from last year

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Each year he has run he has improved upon his time

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The conditions now are ideal for all the runners

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Ashprihanal

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Ashprihanal ran 76 miles

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A year ago he was already finished.  Now he has 2849 miles

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To inspire him there is a book in camp of all the letters of congratulations from his world record last year

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No one know how this will play out

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Atmavir

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Atmaivr ran 65 miles.  He has 2779 miles

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He is 79 miles ahead of last year

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Something small

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Vasu did 64 miles

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He now has 2740 miles

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Every morning he recites the Daily Poem with Adhiratha

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Vasu

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“Do you think we should go out today for breakfast, or stay at home and have left overs?”

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Kaneenika did 54 miles

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She now has 2623 miles.  She just needs to average 53 miles per day

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She celebrates that this is the anniversary of when she received her spiritual name in 2001

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For much of the morning the 2 girls ran quite close together.

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Shoes drying from all of yesterday’s heavy rain

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Surasa

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Surasa ran 55 miles

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She now has 2548 miles

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She is trying her best

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Surasa is a remarkable athlete

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Delicate and strong

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“Excuse me.  Where did the pigeons say they were having breakfast?”

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In order to bee proof the food table Rupantar has built a fake paper bee hive

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Baladev did 49 miles.  He has 2375 miles

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Sopan

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Sopan did 43 miles

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He now has 2309 miles

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Something new

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Cloves are also scattered around the goodies.  It seems to be working.  The fans are turned on high

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Stutisheel did 36 miles.  He now has 2245 miles

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One step

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Ananda-Lahari did 44 miles

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He now has 2186 miles

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No time to ride

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“About 5 years ago I spent the summer here.”  Anubha showed up at the race with the Enthusiasm Awakeners singers a few days ago.

She describes that when she first saw the 3100 she did not fully grasp its dimensions.  “When I first saw the race I thought I would come out for 5 minutes before I went for a run.  That happened every day and I would find myself still here 2 hours later unable to leave.”

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“The whole consciousness of the course here is so powerful and yet so compelling, and so nourishing.  It is very very beautiful to be here.  I feel very lucky.”

“Of course there is something else going on here.  It all comes through the runners willingness to show humanity what is really possible in human beings.”

“And what a great vision of the Supreme to remind us of our unlimited capacity.  When we come here we see these athletes showing us that in an unimaginable way.  It takes you to another place.  A place that you could probably not take yourself.”

“There are so many people around the world that I know follow this race.  With so much dedication and love.  I think that for all of us that do that.  We feel that we are a part of the runners journey in some tiny way.  Whatever they are going through we feel that we are a teeny part of that.”

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“And the aspiration that they bring to this world arena, I think feeds us.  And so I think that I always feel my aspiration coming forward because of the aspiration that you see in the faces of the runners.”

“It is always extremely humbling.  I always feel very very grateful to be here.”

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Nirjharini filling out her marathon entry form

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Uddipan updating the board

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The board around 7:20pm.  17 miles separates Yuri and Ashprihanal.  Vasu now has 2785 miles.  He has done 45 miles

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Anubha reads the Daily Poem

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

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On this day in 2007 Sri Chinmoy wrote the, ‘A Very Significant Dream Song.’

Last night I had a very very very Significant Dream.

I saw my Lord, clasped His Eye

And Kissed His Feet Supreme.

Self-Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race Songs

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3 Comments to “August 1… I Hope I Can Make It”

  1. Hridayinee says:

    Thank you for Vasu’s story to read and interview to watch and hear. Sometimes my heart is just so completely full of inspiration from these incredible souls running. And also Anubha’s eloquent words. They truly expressed everything I also feel and couldn’t put into words on the morning I was interviewed after my 32 hr journey here. Thank you! ! 🙂

  2. Doris says:

    I very much liked the poem Ananda-Lahari recited recently. It was about the real hero, the one whose heart aches for God. Vasu seems to be this type of hero.

    To be very, very frank, the most joy I am getting out of your bird, squirrel, dog, and pigeon jokes. You should really make a book of them with pictures of course. Many people would read it, I am sure. Good natured humor is not to be underestimated, as we all run or walk our own however small inner race in life.

    And yes, hello to Anubha! Indeed very eloquent words.

  3. Petra says:

    Dear Utpal,
    I absolutely agree with Doris, your animal photo jokes are genius! They really make me laugh! I am compiling a little book of all the beautiful aphorisms that I found on your wonderful blog. In regards to what´s happening in the first two positions, I have a feeling there is no competition on Asprihanal´s side, I think he just really wants to finish as soon as possible. I think it´s been a hard race for him after last year. And Yuri is incredible, all the photos from the mornings recently before the start of the race.. He is just beaming with power, determination… he´s got a big task to accomplish. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It is so beautiful that we can all be part of the race even from distance thanks to amazing blogs and our oneness hearts.

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