Lions Under the Trees

cimg2418There are lions under the trees in Flushing Meadow, but they are not the dangerous kind.   The sun has chased them off the burning paths and they lie in the deep fresh grass and just loll and pant.  They wait patiently for the sun to fall down out of the sky so that they can once again run out under the cool night stars.

Brian & Brenda Marshall

click to play interview

p1030063It is of course not true, but the image somehow fits Brian and Brenda Marshall.  They are relaxing in a cool patch of green not yards from the bustling Grand Central Parkway.  Someone comes by and says, “Brian you look like an African lion.”  And for a moment he really does.

He tells me, “its too hot to run during the day.  I will spend the night on the road.”  He and Brenda seem content with their situation.  There is no roaring or baring of fangs.  He has completed 300 miles in 6 days, and is happy with that amount.

p1030036cimg2433After coming across 2 lions I was then not surprised to see two more seeking shelter under the trees just down the road.  But since Joe and Jane are not from South Africa but from the cooler climes of Canada the Lion analogy is probably off target.   Joe is having a bit of stretch and will soon hit the road again.  He has completed 95 miles in his first day and is well on his way to having a great race.

p1030053p1030040When I ask Pam Reed why she has come here to the 6 & 10 day race her answer is, ” I am nuts,” and then laughs in a perfectly sane manner.  She is on the verge of running into new and uncharted territory for herself and she is doing so with heart and courage and a genuine commitment to giving her very best.

Her appearance here, in retrospect, seems very sensible and predictable in many ways.  This 48 year old runner from Tucson has national records at 24 hours and 48 hours and the step up to 6 days, though a long one, makes all the sense in the world.  She is a talented athlete who is simply trying to test and push herself, to be able to achieve her very best.

For Pam there is a goal here that is very tempting.   For one who has just completed 300 miles it is the logical next challenge, and without question it is a big one.  To run 512 miles in 6 days.  When I ask her what her perception is of self-transcendence she answers, “actually p1030051to get here I had a lot of that.  Just trying to prepare for this thing.”

She has also listened to many of the runners on the course and was impressed about the idea of just letting go.  “You just have to let your whole body relax.  I haven’t got there yet.  I still have 4 days.”

The presence of Dipali in the race is a major inspirational factor for her and she is genuinely impressed with not only Dipali’s lengthy race history but also how she carries herself out on the road.  “She is an amazing runner.”  She is also impressed with anyone who enters this kind of event.  When I ask what she would like to see on the board after 6 days, she says, “It would be really cool to see Dipali and me at 512.”

Pam Reed Interview

click to play interview

cimg2421Pam has a large and enthusiastic support crew.


John Amihud & Artif Crawford  click to play interview

John Amihud & Antif Crawford

cimg2404cimg2434For some runners it is enough to spend relaxing time in the shade.  Dipali does not have this option.  She and Pam are in a real contest, in which each is inspiring the other to reach for new and greater heights within themselves.  At this moment.

Dipali has 202 miles

Pam has 199 miles

It is but a blade of grass separating them and there are many days and miles yet to go.

cimg2412Luis Rios had a very quick birthday party today.  He has had a lot of birthdays here over the years and this year it was number 61.  Not one for ceremony he was soon back out on the course with carrot cake in hand.  He is in 8th place in the men’s 10 day with 353 miles.

Main chef Sushovita made him a special cake.

Luis’s Birthday party

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cimg2432Of course in a race like this there is always something to celebrate.  Here Jayasalini has just completed 400 miles.  Her running friend Kateryna congratulates her has 312.


The board has so much information changing almost at every moment of the day and night.

p1030064“He has run more than he planned,” says Daniella Milev from Bulgaria.  Her 60 year old father Radi has been magnificent.  He has 413 miles so far and is in 3rd place.

Daniella Milev

Click to play interview

cimg2426Andrey Andreyev from St.Petersbur Russia is a remarkable athlete.  He is currently in 6th position with 378 miles.  He speaks little English so he speaks to me in Russian which I have translated later.  He says, “It is a beautiful day.   It is a very good opportunity to learn about friendship.  About good qualities in others.cimg2410


cimg2427Mkhail Vasilchenko is 43 from Omsk Russia.  He is currently in 5th place in the men’s 6 day with 135. 

Andrey Somov who is running his first multi day has 134.



Elena Sidorenkova 42 from Smolensk Russia is running her first multi day race and she has picked the hardest. But she is well suited to it.  She is in 4th place in the women’s 10 day with 382 miles.  She has currently run more than double the distance she has ever run before. Her spray bottle is well appreciated in today’s heat and she sprays others as well as herself.

cimg2425cimg2423“I have been making jokes that next year I will talk for 6 days straight.”  Shishaldin Hanlen 28 Brooklyn was attempting to go for 6 days without talking.  Life in such an active and vibrant community conspired against this goal and she has been forced to readjust.  Her new plan is to run more by herself, “and be a lot quieter.”

Shishaldin Interview

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p1030060“I got a lot of joy and a feeling deep inside.”  Petra Missbrenner 39 from Vienna Austria is running her 3rd multi day race here describes the experience of running this race.  It will be the first time that she has run 10 days and she will by this evening run further than she has ever run before.    Of this race she says there are unique and fulfilling experiences to be had.  She says, “Every time it gets stronger.”


At this moment she is running with 62 year old Karnayati Morison from Canada, who has 336 miles.

p1030066I hope to come back this evening but I am a little concerned about the lions who I know will be running around and around under the clear night sky.  The guards who patrol and watch over the sleeping runners are not to be taken lightly.


Two of the many helpers extraordinaire.


Life is a long road.

Along the road at every moment

We must remain cheerful and


Excerpt from Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 19 by Sri Chinmoy.

One Comments to “Lions Under the Trees”

  1. Petr says:

    I really enjoyed listenning to Pam Reeds interview, that was really good idea! Looking forward to Sushovitas report from her birthday on the 1st of May 🙂

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