August 5 Go Forward

p10Today Pavol is wearing a T shirt that says, ‘Go Forward.’  It is written in the gently flowing handwriting of his late spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy.  The letters are a bright bold red and around it are a collection of four of his bird drawings in soft blue.

On this, his 53rd day on the course, Pavol is just 161 miles from completing his journey.  Just like Pushkar, his race in many ways began one year ago when he entered the 3100 for the first time in 2008.

His race last year was an epic struggle almost from the beginning.  An injury prevented him from ever really being able to run.  He courageously stayed on the course however for 56 days, at which time he reached 2700 miles and was obliged to stop, 400 miles short of his goal.  On the following day Suprabha finished her 3100 miles and the race was officially over.

5 days ago Pavol crossed a self-transcendence threshold that has weighed upon him for the past year.  Late friday afternoon he past the 2700 mpavol goodile mark and then just kept going without a pause.  Knowing full well that not only was each step, one step further than he had ever gone in a race before, but also that his goal was now most certainly and assuredly fast approaching.    It now appears that on Friday, sometime in the evening of his 55th day on the course he will complete running the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race.

From time to time Pavol has written some short poems about his experience here.  Today his poem is:

No Mind

No Form

No Break

I am only running.


If your heart has climbing aspiration,

Then you cannot go backward.

You can only go forward.

Excerpt from Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 84 by Sri Chinmoy.


For many of us a break is often a gentle refreshing pause in a hectic day that seems without end.  It may mean stepping out of the office, having a coffee, reading a newspaper, or just staring out the window and wondering where the day has gone.  None of these things are even remotely possible to the runners here.  At least not until after they have completed the race.

p34Of course our idea of a busy day pales into shadowed insignificance, when compared to the 18 blazing hours a day of almost continuous movement that the runners have put in here at the 3100 mile race over the past summer.   For them taking a break may be a fleeting 20 minute pause.  To lie down and be so briefly reclined that they cannot even come close to the soothing world of dreams.  Then immediately pull themselves up and tie on their shoes once more.

Eating is no excuse to stop either.  Food is pushed into plastic bowls and cups and snatched from a table where it has probably already gone cold.  Stabbed with a plastic fork until it is gone and all the while moving, moving, and more moving.

Pavol tells me this morning that he had a hard day yesterday.  “My feet were very painful, I could not run, only walking.”  He has noticed how often others have taken breaks and he was impressed that Diganta, on his last four days did not take any breaks.  Also he says that Diganta ran almost until midnight each night at the end as well.  He tells me that on his last two days he will also not take any breaks.

p25He says that when he passed the 2700 mile mark he still saw a real challenge in completing the final 400.  He says now however that with less than half of that distance remaining it is just getting easier.  Tomorrow, when he passes 3000 miles he says will be his joy day.  He tells me that today also is for him is a joy day because he is able to run very well.  Yesterday was so hard, I could only walk.”

He says that he is not bothered by the fact that there are so few runners left on the course.  He tells me that he stayed here almost until midnight last night.  Suprabha had left much earlier and Ananda-Lahari went home at 11:30, when out of nowhere 3 runners came and started running around the course as well.  He says, “wow, it was very nice.”

He says for him everything about this year is different compared to last year.  Where last year he was forced to walk most of the race this year he says, “I am running nearly every day.”  Only a couple of days this year has he been only able to walk.  Last year he says, “was pain, pain, pain.  This year, not too much pain.”  As he says this, smile brightens across his face.  “Running is a special thing.”

p8He tells me that when he was young, “I hated running.  O my God, it was so hard for me.” He recalls how difficult it was for him to run 1500 meters at school.  He describes having to run for just 12 minutes and how difficult it was for him, “absolutely hard.” He tells me that despite this he loved all sports.  He enjoyed hockey, volleyball, table tennis, soccer, and others.  His first sport was soccer which he started around the time he was 8 or 9.  Yet inevitably running was part of the training which he resisted.  He says, “I came to play football not to run.”

p4Subsequently because of his trainer’s urgings, he eventually started to run a couple of times a week on his own. Initially he was inspired to just go out on his own for just a few kilometers.  He says, “this is when I started to really like running. I had a new feeling.” As he continued to play soccer the training became harder which also included more and more running.  He says it was hard, but afterwards he would feel good.

When he became a student of Sri Chinmoy he noticed that many in the group where running every day and this gave him even more inspiration to explore the possibilities of running.  “I started running every day.  In the morning I would run 3km, 20 minutes, every day.” He feels that his body was not ideally designed for running, but never the less he had a positive experience by running every day.

He hadn’t been with the group long before he took a trip to a 24 hour race in Germany in the fall and helped as a counter.  He was impressed to see a man in his 50’s just running and running and running.  Even the rain came and did not slow him down.  He was so impressed he said, “wow, I must try this.”  The following spring while listening to a recording of Sri Chinmoy’s music he got inspired.  “I will go to Basel and run the 24 hour race.”

p19What makes his decision to enter a 24 hour race so remarkable, is at the time, he had never even run a marathon.  The furthest he had run was 20km.  His friends in Bratislava Slovakia were perplexed.  He told them, “I feel, I like, I go.”  He describes the experience in Basel as, “It was a funny race.  It was cold.  At night it was 4 degrees C., and rain.”  He tells me that just one hour after the noon start the rain came and did not stop.  To compound his problem he had only brought two pairs of running shoes.  One pair was old and the other pair were too small.  “After 6 hours I could no longer run and my legs were dead.”  There was a pain in his knee so he could no longer run only walk.”  In the end he switched to wearing a pair of sandals and walking in the rain and carrying an umbrella.  He overslept that night when he took a break at midnight and did not get up again until 5 the next morning.  In the end he covered 103km.  “It was a very nice experience.”

p30For the following week he was in pretty bad shape but still he feels that the inner seeds of inspiration to run long races had been firmly planted within him.  “I was very happy.” His interest in the sport of ultra running has gradually grown in importance.  Where at first he felt his body was not suited to it he has gradually learned to adapt and find solutions to the pains and problems associated with this ultimate endurance sport.  In just two days more he will climb for the first time to the top of the multi day Everest.  Each new step taking him forward.  Each one transcending the last.  Each one bringing him closer to a goal both within and now at last just 161 miles away.


Go forward!

Go forward with the foundation

Of the past

That gave you simplicity,

Sincerity, humility and purity.

Excerpt from Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 5 by Sri Chinmoy.

One thought on “August 5 Go Forward”

  1. Go forward!! Go forward!! Go forward!! Go forward!!

    Guru’s words so simple, thanks to this platform.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *