Over the past 10 days the constant drone of grumbling amongst the populace of New York has swollen ever larger with each new cloud burst. Each damp day has been consecutively followed by another and still another.
For the runners, as long as their feet stay dry then they seem to appreciate the coolness and cloud that are the collateral comrades of rain.
Vlady, one of the first timers has fit in remarkably well. He has only had one day since the start of under 60 miles. He has long been in admiration of those who have come here. Now there will be those in distant parts of Europe who will be much inspired by this man who runs so well from the Ukraine.
I am not sure why at this moment Vajra is looking so serious. He just cut up some melon like nobody else. He one of the first to arrive in the morning. He drives a van to this dark desolate street and may be the first to turn on the light and love for the runners when they slowly start to peddle to this, their home away from home.
Petr is second overall. His mileage of 660 puts him second and just a raindrop between himself and Grahak in a hard charging 3rd.
She has stood here, for this brief moment of sweet silence hundreds of times. The numbers of laps and miles she has run here are an unprecedented flood tide that surges through the multi day record books. Yet she is not really for any of these things that are recorded, analyzed and examined by the mind. She is all about this silent moment of her heart’s dedication, in which she offers all of what she has and what she does to the inner brightness that guides her every step.
There is nothing hurried or ever rushed about Suprabha. Her words flow soft, clear, and heartfelt, just as her feet continue to relentlessly stride step after step. The light shuffle of her feet on the concrete is in stark contrast to the cars blasting by on the Grand Central Service road. Yet them, and their speed, and their thunder are a world distant and separate from the calm and silent strength that flows in and around her. There is no confusion, no doubt, and few cares or worries in the Suprabha experience at the Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race. As delicate as she looks she is fearless and the strength that has called her back, for this her 13th summer, is a power more formidable than can be measured by man. For it comes from her heart, and this heart power is that which, if it can not move mountains, will at least allow her to run on and on. Long after others have given up and fallen by the wayside. One can safely imagine that this journey will only stop when she at last arrives at her goal, both within and without.
“I like the cool weather, ” she says. “I am really lucky this time. I don’t have many
blisters so far. It is fun to run in the rain.” I am matching her steps as we proceed around the course. It is, on the surface, a gentle pace, but when measured against the staggering number of miles run here it becomes incomprehensible how tremendous her performance has been around this concrete block, which she calls, “the sacred loop.”
She tells me about some swollen ankles that had bothered her the past few days. She was surprised because she says, “It doesn’t usually happen until the end of the race.” She was a bit stymied as to why it was taking place when the arrival of Niharika, a physiotherapist visiting from Finland sorted it out almost at once. “That really felt like divine intervention.”
I had last seen her at the 10 day race in Flushing Meadow that took place this past Spring. She had run many of those races before starting her long journey as a 3100 mile specialist. Surprisingly, she describes them as almost being more difficult that this race. In them she says, “there is no relaxation.” There is no scheduled break as there is at the 3100 and she says at times, she would loose track of the days.
For this race, besides preparing her gear, she says, “there is not a whole lot you can do except get as strong as you can.” I mention a conversation I had with Ashprihanal in which we talked about not paying undue attention to the mind. She says, “You have to satay so focused on the moment. The moment you get stuck in one thing the mind definitely slows you down. You have to focus on the job at hand. At the same time you can be relaxed and function in a natural way. In the end it all comes down to staying in your heart.” She recalls how her Spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy was able to accomplish so many things but was able to do so in a relaxed unhurried fashion.
She remembers so many experiences that she had with him here over the years. As we go along she points to places here and there that he stopped and offered her prasad and encouraged her. She laughs as the sweet flood of memories sweeps over her. She realizes that his presence is in, “practically every inch.”
She recalls an experience that the late distance great Ted Corbitt once had here. He used to come out from Manhattan from time to time by taking the subway. Not an easy trip for an elderly man but he loved running so much, and those who did these events were special to him. He also had run several multiday races in his later years and set age and distance records in them. He was also very special friend to Sri Chinmoy himself.
Sri Chinmoy had always encouraged him to continue to run. When Ted arrived, Sri Chinmoy came over to the race to meet with him. He asked Ted why he had not run in the race that had been held that spring and Ted mentioned some injury he had that prevented him from taking part. He told him, “This is not something you are doing for yourself. This is something you are doing for the world.”
As Suprabha recounts this she is awe struck by the inner forces clearly at play during these events. She says, “You do wonder what impact it has on the world. I am really glad to be here now.”
I spoke with some other runners about Suprabha later. Ashprihanal said jokingly, “she is tough, rough, and hard to bluff.” More seriously he added, “I am so happy that she is always here. She makes it very special.”
Grahak said, “she is amazing. She is just so strong and consistent. Just the devotion she shows year in year out during the race. The strength she emenates out around the course filters into a lot of the runners. She is so tiny and yet she will go pass you on all the hills. She is always running. She never walks. She always sees the positive side of everything, even when she has problems and doesn’t really tell anyone. She just battles on. It is really inspiring.”Grahak comments
Grahak and Stutisheel performed for Parvati in a story in which Sutisheel confronts Grahak. He accuses him of eating all the oranges. Parvati performance
And yes the race exists over many hours and not just at 6am in the morning. Many people put in long hours to make sure everything runs smoothly. Asankita rightly pointed out what keeps Bipin and the race going so well.
My mind shall run
My heart shall run
My life shall run
Excerpt from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 87 by Sri Chinmoy.
2 responses to “June 24 Staying in Your Heart”
This is so beautifully written… I immensley enjoyed reading all, but especially about Suprabha – brought tears to my eyes and strength to my heart — Thank you!!!
You are all amazingly amazing; runners , helpers, singers…a real inspiration.
All the best!!!