Day 14… Grateful Each Day (June 30)

“I try to see it as blessings.  Sometimes I think the sun helps me a little bit.”  The weather has shown not just Surasa, but all the runners many faces over the past week.  A few days ago it was a day of heavy thunderstorms and now the heat is settling in and has no plans to leave any time soon.  Surasa will have ample opportunity to renew a challenging friendship with such an unforgiving power.

She says of this relationship, “I try but of course if it gets so hot I forget.  I think it would be good to see the sun as a friend, and not to fight.”

Surasa has been running now for 2 weeks and has covered 810 miles.  She is not certain that she has yet to get completely into the rhythm and flow of the race.  She is happy with her performance thus far but confesses that a day before her flight to New York she actually considered cancelling coming.  “I had back pain.  I thought I was not strong enough.” She does not have any doubt whatsoever now that coming to the race was the right thing.

“I am just grateful that each day I am able to do my miles.  Therefore I am satisfied.”

She says that when negative thoughts appear for her the best thing is to push them away.  “If it is possible to do it.”

“I always forget the hard things about the race.  So when I think about the race it is always just positive.  I forget the other things. It is really funny and amazing but it is just like that.  When I think about the race I get joy.”

The board at the start of Day 14

The quiet time

How the heat wave is shaping up

Read the rest of this entry »

Day 13…Inner Light (June 29)

“Yesterday 2 full thunderstorms with full power, and also super humid.   Now we change to extreme heat.”  Ushika of course is describing conditions at the 3100 mile race.  A rather shocking wake up call to the kind of conditions that now lay before the runners for the next 39 days.  In other words welcome to a typical New York summer.

To his credit Ushika has had a superb start to the race.  In speaking with Ushika this morning at the start of day 13 I ask if he is prepared for these kind of conditions.  “We will see.  I have not gone through it yet.”

As for his race so far he says, “By God’s grace it is getting better and better.  I am finding it easier to run. Sometimes it feels effortless.”  The main concern for all of the runners is of course making their daily miles.  For him he finds that just being able to do so is a miracle.  “I couldn’t do it during the 10 day race such mileage.”

His focus every day is to reach 109 laps.  “But I don’t push it to get there.  I had a couple of days with much less miles the first week.  He also is happy that when he didn’t reach the mark on those days earlier in the race his mind was not disturbed.  I remember other races when I was more concerned.  But this time my mind kept totally quiet.  Basically I focus on just going around and around.”

Ushika says the reason he is so much more successful here at the 3100 is the inner light. “You feel it.  It creates all the miracles that happen.  I feel that every day that I am able to appear at the starting line as a miracle.  Every day that I am able to cross the finish line in the evening is a miracle.  And every day that I reach the mileage goal is beyond a miracle.”

The board at the start of Day 13

Many runners had difficulty adjusting to the periods of heavy rain yesterday

Kobi starting the day off with help from Vajra

The camp early

Read the rest of this entry »

Day 12…Challenge Yourself (June 28)

“The overwhelming feeling was relief.  Coming back from so far was a relief.  It was the overwhelming emotion.” William Sichel in now into his 12 day of running at the 3100 mile race and he remembers the feelings very strongly of when he last ran this race in 2014.

It was an incredible achievement not just for a runner who was 60 years old at the time,  but any runner.  He was more than 70 miles off the pace and with miraculous determination snatched back enough laps each day to ultimately complete the distance in 50 days and 15 hours.

For the past few years as he has matured in age William has set his sites on accumulating as many records as he can.  When asked how many he received from his efforts here in 2014 he says can’t remember the number,  It was 200 and something he says.  His reasons for focusing on gaining records he says in part are due to simply trying to motivate himself.  “It gives me long term goals to aim for.”

William says he has no plans for retirement any time soon, though he jokes that he might not be doing the 3100 again any time soon. (laughs)

Besides the records, more importantly he says, “I have become who I am through running.  Personality wise and everything really.  I envisage running until I can’t.

William says that he has many people around the world who are being motivated and inspired by his running this years race.  He hopes they will take up their own challenges while he runs in the 3100.  “People are doing anything that challenges them.”

“I have always thought, and it applies to me and everyone.  You can always do a bit more than you think you can.  I have applied that throughout my running career.  I believe that virtually every single person can do a bit more than they think they can.  I think it is a useful thing to keep in mind.”

The board at the start of Day 12

Getting ready

Vajra working on Kob

The weather

Read the rest of this entry »

Day 11…This is Paradise (June 27)

“I feel good, very good.”  Vasu says this with his usual smile and ever cheerful enthusiasm.  Put into perspective one should also note that over the past 10 days he has been running 18 hours a day, had little sleep, and had knee pain (the only one we know of).   Also he  has done nothing but run around this same block for the past 6 summers accumulating to date, a little over 19,000 miles here. Truth be told he is grateful for the opportunity and can think of nothing he would rather do.

In this his 7th year at the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race, when asked if he is happy he says, “of course.  Everybody is happy to be here.  It is paradise.”

Last year Vasu won the race in 46 days but his best time to date has been his race in 2015 in which he came in 3rd place with a time of 44 days.  This year he is in close competition with Kobi, who starts the day just 10 miles in front of him.  Vasu sincerely feels that presence of Kobi in the race is an inspiration in order to help him transcend himself.

“Sometimes it is very hard but inside it is very very happy, and very inspired.  All the best people are here.”  In this he refers to, not just the other runners but also all those who contribute to the race in any way.

Vasu says that his friend Igor who ran the 3100 in 2011 first talked to him about the race over the course of 2 hours and inspired him to come himself in 2012. Igor told him he would gain inner and outer purity.

He thinks that by taking part in the race he is in a unique way serving the evolution of humanity and the universe.

The board at the start of Day 11

The camp is quiet

Kobi getting an early adjustment and advised to stretch more

Read the rest of this entry »

Day 10…Closer To My Soul (June 26)

Coming back to the race this year for the 4th year in a row Kannenika has a hard act to follow.  Last year she set a new women’s record for the distance at 48 days and 14 hours.  She broke the previous record set by Surasa by 17 hours.   At age 48 she could easily have retired with her phenomenal record.

That of course is not what thr self transcendence 3100 mile race is all about, nor is it in the heart of Kaneenika not to keep trying to transcend challenges with every effort of her being.   It is not for nothing that she just so happens to be wearing a shirt today that has lettered across its front, Never Give Up.  When asked whether she struggled to make up her mind to come she replies, “It was the clearest decision in years.”

Of course that is not say that little doubts didn’t nibble around the edges as the race drew near.  “I feel those moments.”

After 9 days of running she has accumulated 535 miles.  When asked if she has got into the flow of things just yet she laughs and suggests it will take as much as another week to toughen herself to the hard concrete sidewalk.  She says however that recovery from the race last year was not too bad.  “I think it was my best recovery.”

Her training over the past year she says was interrupted by illness now and then.

Asked about setting the course record she humbly replies, “I don’t think that it was me who broke the record.  I don’t claim it.  It was given to me.”

She says the most important result of taking part in these incredibly difficult endurance races is, “I feel that I am getting closer to my soul.  Closer towards what my soul wants me to do, or what my soul wants me to become.  This is the way for me to make spiritual progress.”

“When it is hard it forces you to go within and ask for help.  This is the opportunity to rely more on your inner source.”

The board at the start of Day 10

Aharan

Kobi and Yolanda share a selfie

Read the rest of this entry »

Day 9…Decision of the Soul (June 25)

Smarana’s story is unique in the now 22 year history of the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race.   He is 47, but started his multi day running career a long time ago.  The 3100 mile race was the perfect distance event for him.  He was so motivated by the race that he came 7 times and completed the race each time.  2007 was his fastest timing, done in 48 days and 4 hours.   He came again the following year in 2008 and though he made the distance he struggled.

9 years pass and a now 46 year old Smarana shows up at the starting line last year.  He had health issues early on and struggled for a long long patch.  “Last year was a very very very very very special race.  I am very grateful for the experience.”  His affection and respect for the 3100 was so strong he says that in any other event he would have given up and not continued running.  Instead he stayed and ran the best he could for the complete 52 days.

“It was very rewarding on the inner world.  It is very transforming for your ego and many different levels of your being.”

When I gently ask whether or not the decision to come again this year was a hard one he immediately says, “It is more a decision of the soul.  I hear the knocking deep within and I just follow it.  It is not a difficult thing to follow when I have the feeling that it is the right thing to do. ”

Smarana says that after coming back from the race last year he was amazed at all the transformation that had taken place within him.  “What I had gone through I had made a new step and that is why I am coming back here.  This is my main motivation to come here.”

Smarana quoted one of the great multi day race veterans from a bygone era, Al Howie.   “Every time I come to one of the Sri Chinmoy races I leave as a better person.”  He says it happens in particular in this race.  “It is so long.  There is no way you cannot change.”

The board at the start of Day 9

Aharan working

It is going to be a great day

Read the rest of this entry »

Day 8…Inner and Outer Go Together (June 24)

Sopan is running the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race for the 8th time.  He is now just 37 and it was as a 24 year old in 2005 that he set the record for being the youngest competitor to complete the race.

This morning on day 8 he says it takes at least a couple of weeks to get into the rhythm and flow of the race.  “The body always takes time to adjust.  We are constantly pounding on the hard surface here.  You cover a lot of ground which makes it extreme.  It takes time to get used to that.”

Sopan likes to give talks about his experiences at the races over the years.  “I like to talk about Self-transcendence.  How outer self transcendence helps to inspire us to transcend ourselves inwardly.  Also our inner self transcendence helps us to outwardly transcend ourselves.  They go together.”

“This race is a perfect representation of how the inner and outer go together.”  When asked if it is possible to transcend yourself when you are in pain and tired.  “Absolutely, this is the best time.”

Asked how he can stay remain positive and motivated.  “I just try and stay in the moment and enjoy the moment.  Not think too much about tomorrow.  Just enjoy the race and enjoy being here.”

The board at the start of Day 8

Jumagul ready to count

William’s birthday card for William on display

Aharan getting the food table prepared

Kobi getting a little body work done to him by Vajra

Rupantar fact checking for his daily video

Read the rest of this entry »

Day 7…To Transcend Ourselves (June 23)

Yolanda had a great Day 6.  She walked 63 miles 115 laps.  She doesn’t want to get behind the pace as she did last year when she at one point had fallen more than 40 miles off the pace.

She says of her many supporters who have dedicated themselves to her 52 day challenge, “It motivates me to know that you are doing it too.  Stay strong and stay positive.”

 

Please note that though the day number shows a 6 this is actually the board for the start of Day 7.

Vajra working on one of the 2 broken generators

Yolanda putting on her shoes

Her hat is accurate

William reading who has sponsored the race for the day. It turns out to be Alan Young his handler who’s 65th birthday is today

Surasa arrives

Kobi

Head stand

Read the rest of this entry »

Day 6…Goal Is To Be Happy (June 22)

Ananda-Lahari is here for the 14th straight year

The board after 5 days

William working on his shoes.   He had another superb day and moved well up the board

A waiting laundry bag

Aharan preparing an apple

The clock early

Kobi

Yolanda on the way to a perfect head stand

Read the rest of this entry »

Day 5…Enjoy the Journey (June 21)

Long time friend and alumni of the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence race showed up just before the start of day 5

Vasu extended his lead after 4 days

Yolanda always early

Aharn setting up

Nisanga will be here a few days more

Rupantar surveying the course

Alan set up some Scottish flags

Read the rest of this entry »