Sri Chinmoy’s 47 Mile Race 2017

It has taken me a lot longer than I hoped to gather up all the bits and pieces of the 47 mile race this year and I apologize to all those who have patiently waited to see pictures and listen to the voices of those who took part that wonderful night.

For me the race holds so many precious memories, particularly of course in the years when Sri Chinmoy not only came to watch and inspire the runners but also on those 2 historic occasions when he actually ran himself.

In 1980 Sri Chinmoy ran the race for the 2nd time with a time of 11:27, which transcended his time from the previous year.   I also ran the race that night for the 3rd time.  I was able to complete the race in 6:19 and then get out my film camera to record this footage.

New generations of runners have come and found their own love and inspiration for an event that is like no other.

They are building upon their own memories and yet the core of inspiration that compelled us to stand on the dusty track for the first time, to head off into the unknown 39 years ago remains intact and continually transcendent.  To honor our beloved spiritual teacher on his birthday in a profound and tangible way.

To take part means one sets off running at midnight.  To complete those sacred 47 miles means for most the necessity of  calling forth all of who you are and all that you have within.  To uncover and reveal all of your heart’s dedication and perhaps step up even one tiny rung on our timeless self transcendence journey.

Pratyaya and Mantrita

It is a perfect night

Tarit directing traffic

*Click Below To See Rest of Report*

Surasa

Priyavadin, Martin, Sukham

Getting ready in the dark

Abhinabha, Daulot, Unnatishil

Uddipan

Padmasini

Ashirvad

Andrea

Ushika

Ilvaka

Tarit and Deepra

Sergey who not long ago was running in the 3100 mile race

Unnatishil

Italian girls

Pratyaya and final instructions

Start

Setting up 168 st

Abhinabha will lead from start to finish

The board team with Garga

Early

Behind Jamaica High School

The great counters

Long dark road

Padmasini

Food and water stop

Pushkar

Sukham

Tarit

Palash

Counters

Robert and camp

Aruna and friends

Suparna at corner of 164st

The night passes

The road

Patanga

Abhinabha last lap

Given the flag by Vajin

5:56:13

A great finish

“No I didn’t expect it to happen but I think that is the secret.  To have no expectations and to just dive into celebrations and to really ride that divine wave, and do everything that is coming your way.  I am not really looking for these activities but they seem to come my way and I love it.  I love to do stuff.  I just embrace every opportunity.”

Abhinabha has had an incredible if not inconceivable week of accomplishments.  Just 3 days earlier he came in 3rd place in the marathon  (2:39) which was followed that evening when he performed the lead role in the Aurobindo play.

Close by is his friend Vajin who set the record on the course here in 2014.  Vajin told me that Abhinabha had expected to win the race even though he eventually came in 2nd place with a still remarkable time.

“I have to correct Vajin a little bit.  I really didn’t think I was going to win it.  But as an athlete you always have to leave the opportunity open that you might win it.  But I set off in that race with absolutely no expectations.  I guess just to stick with Vajin as long as possible.”

“But I had an extremely satisfying experience.  I loved that race and I really had a spiritual experience during moments of the race and tonight I had it again.  When I felt such a deep connection to with the soul and with Guru’s spirit.  That is what makes this race really special.”

“Not the time, not the victories, but the inner experience.”

“This is the only race when I have such a deep inner experience.  It is not constant but it is there in the background and sometimes it comes to the fore.  It is the feeling of gratitude.  It is a feeling that carries you through all the pain, especially near the end.”

“The last few laps I was just chanting gratitude, gratitude.  The pain, when ever it came up merely subsided.”

“I decided to do this race just this morning.  I didn’t have any plans.”  He also ran the 2 mile race earlier in the day in a time of 11:05.

“I was planning on jogging the 2 mile race.   I thought, awe, I am still tired from the marathon, but then when I went out my door I felt so fresh.  I felt, o, my legs are really fresh.  So let’s just give it a go.  I had such a good experience in the 2 miles then afterwards this inspiration came.”

“Tonight’s the 47, why not try it.  I have nothing to lose.  I don’t have to win it, that is just a bonus, and I can give Guru a really good birthday present.  That was the inspiration.”

“Every single moment of the race I was grateful.  Even during the hard parts, near lap 32 to 37.  Those were the hardest laps.”  Abhinabha says he feels those laps are hard for him because they are unknown territory.  “I am a marathon runner so anything beyond 26 miles is stretching my capacities.”

“When you get to 3 laps to go then you feel the pull of the finish line.”

As for his upcoming plans, “this was my race for this season.  I have nothing coming up.”  And yes, Abhinabha is part of Kailash’s boys singing group and he still has 20 more of Sri Chinmoy’s songs to sing.

Vajin says, “it is always a special opportunity to come down and see this race.  It is pretty unique in the world of running.  It gives me such joy to see the disciples out here running this 47 miles.  I know why they are doing it.  It is not for name or fame or to prove anything to anyone else.  It is just to celebrate Guru and to everything that he was about.”

“I have a special connection to this race.  I still want to come back and do something interesting and inspiring again.”

Abhinabha’s final words.  “Try and do things you didn’t think you were capable of and you will be so richly rewarded.  You have to have faith, both in yourself and in the Supreme.  He is giving you the capacity.  You have the capacity to do much more than you think.  If you just try it, it gives you so much satisfaction.  Even if you fail it gives you so much satisfaction to try and transcend yourself.  To be successful or not doesn’t matter.  The very effort gives you so much joy.”

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Pushkar takes the flag

Pushkar called his night pure joy.   Like all the other top finishers he ran the marathon a few days earlier as well as the 2 mile race earlier in the day.    “If I can do this than the 2 mile race why not?”

“The last time I did the triple I took it easy the first lap of the 2 mile race and then my ego came a little bit forward and so then…..I pushed just a little bit.  But afterwards I felt this really wasn’t good for my muscles.  This time I am a little bit more humble.  I gave many runners in that race in front of me joy.”

“My marathon time was a personal best of 2:55.” (His time in the 2 mile was 16:15.  His 47 mile time was 6:32) Pushkar has heard stories from many years ago when during celebrations there were races every day.  His attitude then towards the multiple races now is simply, “why not.”

“Try to get a glimpse from the old times how it was.  You are enthusiastic so you go to the race. So I come and do it.”

“What I know is that to run the 47 is the nicest birthday present you can give to Guru.  I had a good time.  I was happy and cheerful.  Really all joy and delight.  I could even speed up at the end.”

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Running fast

f

Mahasatya had a spectacular finish to his 47 mile race passing Bharu who was already on the track carrying the finish flag.  His intent though was just to try and get in under 7 hours which he did with a time of 6:59:51.

“The last 10 miles I realized that it was possible.  When I crossed this gate I saw that there was 2 minutes to go.  So I thought, I think I can manage to do it.  To run 400 meters in under 2 minutes.  The guys were supporting me by saying, you can make it.  Just push more.”

Mahasatya did 3:31 in the marathon.  He said he had some problems with cramps that he suspects were caused by not enough training.  “I just tried to do my best in the marathon.  In the back of your mind you think I can’t push 100%.”

“I am not really an experienced runner.  The first time I did this race was 2014.  That was my best time.  I did 7:28.  The next year I just did the 47 and my time was 15 minutes slower.”   Mahasatya realized then that there was no point of skipping the marathon if his time would not improve in the 47.

“Actually I feel that your muscles get used to it.  You are sore but you can still continue your pace.”

“I was very happy.  A few laps got hard so you have to slow it down a little.  Just see what will happen.”

“This race is my favorite.  The first time when I did it.  That was my best race ever.  I have done the 6 and 10 day race  but they are different.  this particular race is very special.”

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A celebration

And a picture

Martin finish

The sun rising

Anupama

Drums

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Surasa

Sopan

Nitish

Always watching

Jwalanta

With Mom

Robert

Cliff was 8 minutes faster than last year

Sleeping bunny

“I really got inspiration to do the 47 mile race in June or July.”  Tirtha has gone through health issues now for the last few years.  Her win in the 47 mile race is a tremendous achievement.  Her focus when well though has been usually dedicated to running a fast marathon.  Something that Sri Chinmoy had encouraged her to do.

“For me I had to do the marathon so doing this was just icing on the cake.” She has run the marathon in August every year she says.  “No matter what state I was in.  The last few years were pretty good already.”

“In mid July I went out for my longest run.  After 3 kilometers I stumbled and fell really powerfully on my knee.  That was that for the next few weeks.  I couldn’t run at all.”  The Doctors weren’t sure if her knee was fractured.

“After 5 or 6 days I went to a Doctor.   He said it was really fine, you will be able to run again.”  For 2 weeks she applied cabbage to her knee.  “I was just trying not to hobble and limp.” Her progress she describes as being a day to day process, both good and bad days.

“Even on marathon day I wasn’t sure what was going to happen.  So then I thought….I will just start.  I will just see.”  During the marathon she says her brother Jwalanta tried to inspire her to run even faster.  Her time was 3:56.

Running the 47 was not a foregone conclusion.  She was certainly in doubt about adding this race so quickly on top of the other.  “But of course the inspiration was still there all the time.”

“One girl told me…just start.  You don’t have to go fast.  Just start and have fun.  So that is what I did.  From the very first step I felt relaxed.”  Tirtha says she feels better after running the 47 more so than running the marathon.

“I have to say that running the 47 was such a spiritual experience for me.  I ran without any expectation whatsoever.  Most of the time I was chanting… gratitude.  I almost didn’t talk at all.  It was just a perfect night.”

“I think often when you expect something.  You train hard and you want to succeed than very often our mind doesn’t allow us to do it.  something gets tight.  Something happens with that expectation.  It manifests in the body somewhere.” Tirtha describes the experience of the 3100 mile runners who are forced to stay in the moment.  An attitude that she tried to use, “just enjoy, just enjoy.”

She recalls being told that her name was on the board in first place, and thinking that it was ridiculous.    “From that moment I was literally waiting for someone to pass me.  “Then I totally surrendered to Guru’s will.  Of course I am very happy but being first is absolutely secondary.  It means more to me to be able to finish without pain.”

Tirtha’s time was 8:02:09

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Ilvaka was 2nd and says that, “it was just all God’s grace.”

A few days earlier Ilvaka ran the marathon.  “Everything for me is completely beyond.  2 years ago my capacity to run was taken away from me.  I still have some injury.”

“But now I had the feeling that I should just go to the starting line and see what happens.  Somehow it opened up and grace was just descending.  It was basically a miracle that I could finish.”

When asked about doing both the marathon and the 47 she says, “You just have to follow your heart.  If you have the feeling you should do something and it is really coming from the heart then you should just follow it.  Then you are happy.”  Ilvaka says that time and place are not as important as making progress.  Her time was 8:26.

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“I am just so grateful.”  Suparana just came in 3rd place.

“It was my first 47 mile race.”  She had also run the marathon.

“In fact I wanted only to do the 47 but then Tirtha said that it was so important to do the marathon.  Then I thought, let’s try.  Great.”

Suparana’s time was 8:31

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Suswara

Pratyaya and Sanjaya

Encouragement

Daulot

The running continues

Vinati

Still time

Palash who did both races

Music

Encouragement

Feathered friends

Sri Chinmoy: My longest distance was 47 miles. I did it twice. Now I no longer do it, but every year about three hundred disciples of mine from all over the world come here on my birthday and run 47 miles. Being the spiritual father of the family, it gives me tremendous joy when I see my spiritual children run 47 miles. The number 47 is very important to me because in 1947 India got its independence. With this run we are celebrating our inner freedom.

Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy answers, part 29, Agni Press, 2001

Photo by Bhashwar taken in 1980

One Comments to “Sri Chinmoy’s 47 Mile Race 2017”

  1. Tapaswini says:

    Thank you – Utpal.

    With this report all the joy is coming again, even from my own experiences many years ago. Once with 8:09 I became third – my best 47-mile-result.

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