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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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*
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
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