The Night Before Tomorrow



Last night was a wet nightmare, and no where can its misery be more profoundly felt than in the swampy confines of Flushing Meadow.  It is a place in which water is a constant factor but with the previous night consisting of a constant downpour much of the paths and roads are floaded.  Where most would simply head for higher ground the workers and runners preparing for the 6 and 10 day race think of it as just another day.

Bipin and his team have been in almost constant motion building a village that will come to full life tomorrow when the 10 day race starts.  I ask him if he is on schedule and he replies, “there is always work to do.  Let’s put it this way when tomorrow comes we won’t be sitting around drinking tea.”



Dipali had set up her tent yesterday and has arrived a short while ago to an unpleasant surprise.  It rained so much that the covers over most tents have collapsed and all the contents of her tent were soaked.

Instead of being frustrated she seems amused at natures little trick.  It will take her several hours to dry everything off and put it back straight. Her race does not start until Sunday.


Padyatra and Rasto from Slovakia will run tomorrow and they are pleased to have missed the bad weather.  They have a prime location for their tent and are enjoying their precious free time before the real work starts tomorrow.


Kaneenika’s tent was next to Dipali and was also caught up in last night’s deluge.  Kanala who is helping told me I should have been there earlier to see the 5 star hotel room with its own pool.  The sun has come out bright and everyone seems thrilled that the weather has turned for the better and the weeks and months of training will soon be put to the test.


Bigalita has told me that she has been forced to abandon her tent and head for the safe confines of the dormitories.  She has not made her back to this race in Queens for many years.  She has hinted that a strong inspiration has drawn her back to this race.



Rupantar who is the race director is a whirl of activity.  I am here for just a few hours but he has been here for days.  When the race starts he will be the one who shepards the race through the long night hours.  Never complaining.  Always cheerful, and always more concerned about the runners more than himself.



There are many who have spent long hours bringing the little village into shape.  Nick from New Zealand has been a regular contributor for many years.  He seems to know how to fix and build just about anything.



Ed from Bristol has volunteered for the first time this year.  He is an artist and finds music and amusement in his work.

There are just so many jobs and things that need to be done it seems miraculous in so many ways that it all will eventually work.  On time and with almost flawless perfection.




The course however appears at this moment to be more lagoon than path.  At least the lower portion in which water seem to constantly spill off from the nearby Grand Central parkway and mysterious springs which seem to always trickle.

Pranab has been placed in charge of three pumps in various states of efficiency.  The flood will be staunched and the race will start at noon without the soggy conditions now present.


The ducks of course might object to this renovation of the watery paradise



In just a few hours from now these quiet scenes will be replaced with people and things and energy and just the extraordinary pulse of life which is the incomparable 6 and 10 day race.


The banner has yet to be stretched taut and firm across the path but the welcome mat of sorts has been laid.  Some of the 46 starters have arrived and moved in but all of them will eventually be here and whether nervous or joyous at noon tomorrow their long journey will commence.

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