Day 6… New Life (June 23)

Of the 10 runners attempting the Self Transcendence 3100 Race this year, 4 are doing so for the first time.  It is such an imposing challenge for even the most experienced runner that for one who has never run that long and that far the courage and commitment to do it has to be unparalleled.  Sergey Kuzmin is one of them.  He is just 44 years old and is from Novgorod Russia.  He has run a number of multi days but entering this race is by far the most difficult thing he has ever attempted.

*translation courtesy of Lyalya*

“Fate and destiny have brought me together with a lot of people that have run this race and when I saw their spirit and will power I wanted to do this race as well.”

I joke with Sergey that he could get almost as much satisfaction from running the 10 day race as he has done before.  “These are 2 completely different races.  True the 10 day race has had an impact on me forever.  But this 3100 mile race is a totally different race.”

“Besides my goal of running the 3100 miles I want to have the inner experiences that give you new life.  Ones that give you new inspiration and new energy inside.  Sergey did 59 miles yesterday and has 271 miles.

For Sergey as for many others who not familiar with a New York summer, getting used to the heat and humidity is a whole new challenging factor.  “For me this is a completely new environment.  For me to overcome these conditions is also self-transcendence.”

“The race has touched my heart already.  Especially the organizers who are doing so much.  I am running and they are doing so many limitless things.  They do this just so that we can run.  It is such selfless service on their part.”

“This race has a name, Self-Transcendence.  For me this is the main goal of mine to make even small steps of self-transcendence.  So this means that I really want to do that extra lap, that extra mile each day.  In that is my self-transcendence.

May my life long for
A new beginning,
A new hope
And a new promise!

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, part 252, Agni Press, 1998

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Day 5…Just Do It (June 22)

She is the Diva, and according to the Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race brochure, she is as well the fastest female pedestrian in the world.  It seems that for a couple of years now that she would eventually make her way to Queens to the home of the longest race in the world.  In this its 21’s year Yolanda’s relentless footsteps in fact did intersect with the half mile course around Thomas Edison High School.

Yolanda starts her 5th day of the race with renewed energy and confidence.  After a shaky couple of days she has found her groove and has adapted well to the sometimes not so user friendly New York summer heat and humidity.

“I am feeling good.  Good Morning America.  Good Morning World.” Yolanda greets our little interview with her world class smile and her unparalleled superb enthusiastic attitude.

“I am feeling great the first 2 days were not good.  I almost thought I was going to drop out.  I had heat exhaustion really bad and now I have it under control.  I am getting my nutrition and hydration under control.  I am back.”

Asked why this race, “One I like to challenge myself and this is a huge challenge.  With this race I am hoping to have an outer body experience.  I have done over 500 marathons and ultras and I have never cried after any of them.  I hope that I can feel something…..besides the pain.”

“The people here are so beautiful and warm and welcoming.  There is so much love around. I believe in Sri Chinmoy’s philosophy of transcendence both inner and outer.  I hope to experience that.”

“I thought in my head that 60 miles a day was going to be really easy.  That I could be fabulous and have fun.  I am having fun now.  Yesterday was my best day (62 miles)

“But this is hard, really hard.  I don’t get much sleep.  We have 6 hours off, you have to be done by midnight.  But that time off is not really enough.  By the time you have showered and try to get some sleep.  This is really hard and challenging.”

“I am finally getting my groove.  I am feeling much better.  I am nutrition and hydration together.  That is the key.  You have to have that.  I have a problem with water.  It just really upsets my stomach.  So what I have been doing is putting fresh fruit in my water.  That has been really helping me get the water down and stay hydrated.  That is the key.”

“I am working really hard.  Yesterday was my best day and I was able to pull off the 62 miles.  Get into my groove and be happy.  I didn’t come all the way out here to be miserable.”

“Why sign up for something and be miserable.  Life is all about being happy and finding your peace.  Also just getting healthy and fit.  I am truly blessed to be here every day.  This course I thought was going to be boring.  I have met some of the nicest people through smiling.  People are looking for my smile and it is only day 5.  They look for me.  Where is that lady who smiles? She waves at me she smiles.  That has been really keeping me going, seeing the same people every day.”

Yolanda has some regrets about keeping up all her social media commitments but knows that getting in all the laps each day is her first and foremost priority.

“I trained really hard for 4 months.  Yesterday I felt the benefit of the training.  I felt in control, and I think I am going to do okay.  Every day is a new day.”

“Everybody has challenges in their lives.  I truly believe that if we let go of all the thousands of excuses of why we can’t get healthy and fit.  Just do it.  Move your body every single day.  Some say, o my doctor says I should move my body only every other day for 15 minutes…..no!”

“Do it every day for 15 minutes.  You will get stronger.  You will get better at it, and you will enjoy life more.  That is my thing for the day.  I don’t want to start preaching on that.  You know I lost both my parents to type 2 Diabetes.  They would tell you as well……move your body every day.”

If you want to succeed
In your outer life,
Then keep moving.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 9, Agni Press, 1998

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Day 4… A Miracle (June 21)

Vasu has finished the 3100 Mile Race 5 times.  Since his first race he has been a consistent and relentless competitor.  Qualities that don’t first come to mind when you first meet him.  For in person he is all gentle sweetness and untiring soulful devotion.  But mixed in there with his joy and brightness is determination to fulfill this impossible task of running the longest race in the world.  All done with a dedication to transcend whatever he has done before.

Now Vasu has been running for 3 straight days in his 6th race.  He leads the field with 211 miles and yesterday ran 69 miles, the most of any other runner.  What is not so obvious from the almost effortless way that he runs is that it is a real miracle that he is here at all this year and able to run even one step of the way.

“I have a story about a miracle of Sri Chinmoy. Last year after I ran this race I wanted to come back and run again this year.  I tried to recover and also do a little bit of training.  But on the 7th of January I fell down and broke a bone in my back. (He describes that it was not his spine but most likely, as he demonstrates with his hands, quite possibly ribs.  He also shows me how his diaphragm was hurt as well)

“I could not laugh or cough it hurt too much.  My first thought when I fell down was how was it going to be possible for me to run the race this year.”

He was quite anxious and concerned that his injury would keep him out.  One of his Doctors told him, “Vasu we love you, and we will pray for you, and everything will be good.  He gave me so much positive energy.”  He describes that he then went back to his home in St Petersburg and many of his fellow disciples tried to inspire him.  But I was only able to lie down on my back.  If I needed to stand up to eat or do something else I had to put on a back brace.  Many people helped me.”

Because of inactivity he started to gain weight.  He says that he got to be as much as 10kg over his usual body weight of 70.

“Sri Chinmoy inspired me to do everything.  To be healthy and ready to do this race.”

Vasu describes going to a joy weekend in May and that he had a very good experience.  “There I got the inspiration to run this race.  After this he contacted the race directors and asked for an invitation to run.”

“I have done everything possible in order that I could be able to run this race.”  A friend heard him say this and answered, “You did not do it.   Sri Chinmoy did it in and through you.”

Besides put in some very good mileage Vasu continues to do strengthening exercises for his back.  “I am trying to be in a good consciousness and I am grateful to everybody that helped me get here.  Thank you Sri Chinmoy for this experience.”

I know
How to run and run
And run.
My Lord Supreme
Knows
How to love me
With His
Blessing-Pride.

Sri Chinmoy

June 21st, 2006

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Day 3…Follow Your Heart (June 20)

After 2 days of running Harita Davies has more than proven she belongs with this extraordinary group of distance runners attempting to complete 3100 miles.  Among the women athletes she ran the most laps on day 2 and is currently tied with Kaneenika and Nidhruvi for 2nd place (4th overall).  She starts her 3rd day here looking great and showing no obvious wear and tear from just running 128.9 miles.

“Ever since I started meditating I started running.  So since I began my spiritual life, it was always really a part of it.  I was very fortunate to have it instilled in me by Subarata who was a great runner and one of the center leaders of the Sri Chinmoy group in New Zealand.  She had done many ultra races she really really encouraged us and showed how meditation and running go really well together.”

“I grew up playing sports, my parents are really into sports so for me it was something that I was brought up with and I know that it saved my life in so many ways.  As a teenager when ever I had a hard time and went into sports it made me feel that everything was going to be okay.”

“So my running is like that in so many ways.  Whenever times are difficult or challenging I can just go out for a run.  You feel like everything is taken away.  You feel clear and you feel light.  It helps you to stay much more positive.”

“A lot of people say that I seem like such a happy person and that I am really lucky for that but I would say that is something that I have worked at very hard.  Running is a big part of what helps me to be able to do that.”

“Ever since I first saw the 3100 mile race I just had the feeling that it was inevitable that one day I would do it. But I had no idea when and I always thought maybe in 10 years time.   But last year I realized, I am 42, and 10 years more?

“Last summer I got the inner inspiration and at the time and hadn’t been thinking about doing the race at all.  I was always projecting it into the future.  So I was really surprised that I got inspired to run the race this year.”

She describes her position as one that she would never attempt the race at all unless she could be happy while doing it.  “But every time I looked at the race it just looked like torture.  I couldn’t conceive of how I could do it and be happy.”

“After I ran the marathon and the 47 mile race in August I had an experience.  Even though my body was really suffering.  On a deeper level I felt so much joy and happiness.  Then a couple a weeks after those races I was handed a book on the 3100 mile race, and I suddenly went…..O NO!  Now I can see how it is possible.”

“The more I meditated and thought about it I felt, if you have the inspiration to do something, you should follow that inspiration.  Sri Chinmoy said that inspiration is like a bird.  You should reach out and catch it and not wait for it to land.  If you really feel as though you are following your heart, which I really try and do in my life.”

“I really try and follow my inspiration.  I feel Inspiration is a most powerful blessing.  If you have an inspiration to do something you have to see it as a tremendous blessing.  I felt inspired and that is why I am here doing it.”

“Whatever experience I have doing this race is what I am meant to have and will make progress from it.”

“I am grateful so far, but it is still so early.  Everybody knows that the race is a tremendous opportunity to just live in the moment, and that is a thing that we all have to learn how to do……..and be happy.”

You follow
Your heart’s love.
Your life’s happiness
Will follow you.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, part 83, Agni Press, 1984

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Day 2…I Want To Have More Joy (June 19)

Smarana is running the race for the 8th time.  It is a great achievement for any runner particularly when you consider that he completed the race each of the 7 times he has run before.  What makes Smarana’s story so unique though is that it has been 9 years since he last ran.  I, like so many others was inspired to see him return after such a long absence,and yet curious why it took him so long to run again.

On his first day he had a great start with 72.4 miles.  His mileage was only bettered by Vasu.  He is running well this morning, “I am happy about that you never know.”

“The last time I ran here was 2008 but back then I had the wrong consciousness for the race.”  He points to his forehead and adds, “I really, really……really suffered.” (Laughs)

“It took me 9 years to be happy to be back here again.  Since then I have changed my attitude quite a bit.”  Smarana tells me that he had grown distant from the race both physically and mentally.  He says though, “If I had the feeling to come back and do it again I would be the first one to be there.  I hadn’t had this feeling in 8 years. Then in August it was just there.”

“It took me a day to examine it and feel whether or not it was a solid call.  Then I just made the commitment.  Then I said, if the Supreme wants me to run then he has to get me there.  Attitude wise, physically wise.   With shoes I had big issues.  There was a real journey to get me to the starting line, but it was also so rewarding.”

Smarana describes that now that he is actually running this is he says, “the icing on the cake.”

As for the race he says, “it is a privilege to have almost 2 months time to let go of my daily routine, my daily business.  Just to launch into the experience of just running and being taken care of.  Just to let go and dive deep within.”

I pursue the clarity of this call to come and run, and how all of us can listen and understand when such an inspiration comes to us as well.  “There is a voice inside of us.  Which is not like foam floating on a river, it is something solid.”  He said if it is like this then you should follow it.

“In the beginning when I was inspired by the call I was nowhere close to being able to do it.”

“I used to always have this motto, no pain no gain.  After suffering so much the last time I ran here I have learned my lesson.  I now know I can change my belief system.  Now I believe I should have joy and more joy, go to delight.”

“So this is like my new attitude.  We are the creators, if I want to suffer, then suffering will be provided.  But I want to have more joy.  So I hope I can prove this stupid theory in this race.”

When we get joy,
Let us sleeplessly continue
Doing the right thing
To receive
More joy and abundant joy.

Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, part 15, Agni Press, 1999

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Day 1… Transcendence Is Perfection (June 18)

It was a foggy warm start for the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race this morning

For Harita this will be her first race

Nirbhasa is back at the race for the 2nd time.  He ran last in 2015

Nidhruvi making a last minute call

It has been 9 years for Smarana since he last ran

Harita being appreciated by Snehashila and of course mutually

Sahishnu makes final introductions

10 runners

Turning the clock back to the start of the race in 2006

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The Day Before the Start of 3100 Mile Race 2017

At the end of the very first 3100 mile race in 1997 Sri Chinmoy the founder of the race said”

“These 3,100 miles remind us of one divine and supreme reality: we can and we must do everything at our command to transform the world of lethargy and unwillingness to be dynamic. Unwillingness we do not leave behind us. Therefore happiness remains always a far cry. Willingness to give, willingness to achieve, willingness to grow and glow should be the message of our souls. With our souls’ blessings we can and will fulfill our earthly life.”

On a cloudy Saturday afternoon the runners and their crew assembled for one last meeting before the start of the race tomorrow at 6 am

A picture of the whole group

Yolanda is running for the first time

Sandhani

Smarana has 7 finishes but it has been 9 years since he was last here

Kaneenika here for the 3rd year

Ananda-Lahari has a long streak of participating in the race

Harita is running for the first time

Andrey is running for the first time

Nidhruvi

Bahula

Nirbhasa and Sergey

Rupantar

Sahishnu with some instructions

Mario

Bipin

Vasu

Nirjharini

Veeraja with auyervedic gift bags for all the runners

Sahishnu

Sri Chinmoy in an undated photo running on Jamaica high school track

“This 3,100 miles is an unprecedented journey in our world-peace-manifestation-dream. World-peace can come into existence only when we are inundated with patience and perseverance. Infinite patience we need in our inner life and perseverance we need in our outer life.”

Sri Chinmoy, Pioneer-runners of tomorrow’s world-peace-dawn, Agni Press, 1998

The outer running
Begins on the road
And ends on the road.
The inner running begins
Inside the silence-heart,
And it continues
Along Eternity’s Road.

August 9… To Beautify The World

Her story is almost perfection itself.  Or at least one that most accurately reflects how we mortals struggle and strive against adversity.   Then when we least expect it we accomplish that once insurmountable task that had risen up in front of us.

Click below to hear the sound of Kaneenika’s finish:

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In turn we are rewarded or we find the true meaning of just how precious the goals that come to challenge us truly are.  Hopefully we  learn and grow stronger.   Understand just a little better what we must do in order to reach up and draw ourselves closer to our own perfection.

Last year Kaneenika in her first attempt at 3100 miles made it to 3014 miles.

A result that some might call a defeat.  But in the peculiar divine world of the Self Transcendence Race it was another kind of victory. One that does not step up onto a visible podium, but instead shines brightly in the summit of the heart.

When we meet this morning I joke with Kaneenika that tomorrow she will not be here

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“It is true.”

“It is always very inspiring and encouraging to get messages from people.  Quite often I get messages from people I don’t even know.  It reminds me that people really follow this race and appreciate what we are doing here.”

“It is so special.  When I read these messages they are like a joy pill and a pain killer in one.  Also an energy boost.  It is so nice to know that people have so much oneness.  I am so grateful.”

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“This race may look like an individual sport but we have all these supporters and all these helpers.  They just carry us along.  The race wouldn’t be possible without the helpers and everybody around the world who follows the race.  All those who send good wishes and pray for us.  That is the beauty of this race.”

“When I was a new disciple.  I was watching the race for the first time.  I was here in New York for the summer.  At the time Rupantar asked me if I would think about this race.  But I couldn’t think anything.  It was so beyond.”

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“Then he told me that Sri Chinmoy once said that when we are doing races like this.  Something good happens somewhere else.  So I believe that something like that is happening.  I don’t believe that Sri Chinmoy created this race just for us to go around and around.  That it is really for humanity to make progress.”

Later at the finish line she shares another story.  One that took place when she was really having a tough time.

“I was running on the far side of the course and I met a girl who was running in the opposite direction.  Then she smiled at me and said you are amazing.  I didn’t know her and I didn’t even know if she even knew about the race.  So I just smiled back at her out of my misery.  And it felt good.”

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Click below to hear Sahishnu’s speech and Kaneenika’s speech:

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She says that she then came upon a mother walking with her little girl.  “I smiled at them and they smiled back at me. I thought wow.  I am feeling much better than I felt before.”

Just after this she came back into the camp and noticed a banner with Sri Chinmoy’s smiling face on it.  Also on it was the aphorism

Just one smile
Immensely increases
The beauty of the universe.

Sri Chinmoy, A God-devotion-teardrop, 2006

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“And I thought, is this the answer to my question.  This is why we run these races.  To beautify the world.  Wow, that is really powerful.  I was reflecting on this afterwards.  I thought Sri Chinmoy is so smart.”

“He gives us this incredible race.  To help to make this world more beautiful.”

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*Editors Note:  This will be my last post for the race this year.   My last attempt to document this incredible event, called the Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race.  It is with deep and humble gratitude that I have offered these daily posts to all of you who have both dipped and dove into my little creations.  The race is well beyond what my words, pictures, and sound can do.   Hopefully you have been inspired and will also be able to accomplish in the near future your own self transcendence task.*

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August 8… A New Experience

This morning when Surasa ran by me she asked if I wouldn’t mind taping a message for her.  Of course I considered it a great honor to be able to to record this for all her friends and admirers.

“I have a message for my friends.”

“Dear friends all over the world.  I just want to tell you that you don’t have to worry about me.  I am really fine.”

surasa-1410868

“There are other more important things and the world to worry about.  For me this is just about missing  a few miles, and what is that.   Of course it is a new experience for me.  Because in my other races, the last 2 were so good.”

“It is a new experience to walk for more than half of the race.  But I think new experiences are needed in life.  They are good in order to make inner progress.  And inner progress is of course what we want to make.”

golden surasa-1370423

“So if everything stays like this then I will be able to do more than 3000.  I am more than happy about this.”

“So I am not at all disappointed or sad.   I really feel happy and peaceful inside.  I think this is important.  This makes me very happy.”

“But I want to thank you again for all your support.  Very soon it will be the end of the race.”

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At the start of the race in 2007 Sri Chinmoy spontaneously composed a poem about his beloved 3100 mile race.  The runners were standing in front of him. At first he was meditating silently and powerfully and then began to speak these words.

Photo by Jowan

Photo by Jowan

Longest self giving journey

Heaven’s brightest smile

Earth’s proudest embrace

God’s Newest Victory Discovery

Self-Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race Songs

Photo by Jowan

Photo by Jowan

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August 7… How Can I Stop

When I meet with Baladev this morning he has just been reading a page full of poems that Sri Chinmoy wrote on the topic of never giving up.

I ask him what that means to him and he says, “right now I am not in a talking mood.”

Instead he uses the time to read them all to me.  In a thoughtful and compelling way. Sharing with me, that when he read them moments earlier they had made him cry.

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Each one a powerful message.  Each one adding another insight into humanity’s deep need, if not obligation to always continually attempt to move forward, even in the face of relentless resistance on all levels.

Baladev is an incredible example of never giving up.  This is his 8th summer here and as of last night he had completed 2664 miles.  A distance that would take him from his home town of Komjatice Slovakia all the way to Tajikistan.  With still 3 days left Baladev will accumulate well over 2700 miles.

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He has worn a special shirt this morning.  One that was custom made for him a few years ago.

“On my back is ‘Never Give Up,’ and on the front is, ‘Go Forward.’

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“When I have never give up on my back I feel as though it is pushing me to go forward, and I am between these 2 secrets. So I am moving.  How can I stop?”

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Never give up, never give up!
Even if you lose your way
A great many times,
You must realise that your destination
Is sleeplessly expecting your arrival.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 224, Agni Press, 1995

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