For a few visitors to New York City Saturday night most likely was a restless one. After months of anticipation and training, for the 11 runners in the world’s longest race, it was all now swiftly draining down until the scant few hours before they would actually start the Self Transcendence 3100 mile race. Even for the veterans, who have toed the line many times, the race marks a most significant and challenging undertaking. Each step forward in turn accumulates then into laps and then again into miles until somehow miraculously the journey has been completed.
Eventually the summer and the distance will seemingly have swept by in no time at all. In comparison to their entire life’s journeys but a heart beat in time. Paradoxically, at the end of the road, after running 3100 long hard miles, the runner physically finds themselves in precisely the same spot from which they began months earlier, and yet within they have traveled far far beyond their expectations.
As they move forward plastic numbers temporarily show the measure of their efforts. To the runners they are as ephemeral and illusive as fireflies dancing in the air. They go up and down with a tell tale rip of Velcro. The clipboards at the counting tables tell a more permanent measure of their journeys but in the end they are but mere pencil jottings on paper.
Something happens here that cannot be measured or marked or photographed or questioned or reasoned with in any way. There are days in which you could be standing right beside it and be blind to it. On other days you could be on the far side of the world and yet still feel the inner thrill of what is taking place here and be as much a part of it as if you were entered in the race as well.
The 3100 is not for the masses. It is just for those who believe that life is not just about muscle and mind. It speaks clearly to those who believe in the unlimited capacity of heart and spirit and who believe that Self-Transcendence is not just for 11 brave runners. Self-Transcendence is the inevitable destiny of us all.
The first morning is always special. The enthusiasm and energy that has been building for days and weeks at last finds a way to express itself. Most runners will come a little earlier than normal. Find their spots and do the last few things in order to prepare for a long day of running.
Surasa arrives as if she has done the race many times before and yet it is her first appearance here. She shows her crew her space and the team quickly and efficiently slips into gear.
“I am very happy to be here and very happy that Surasa is running.” For many, it is somehow shocking to see Suprabha on the sidelines. From the race’s earliest days she was part of it each and every year. Her performances were both inspiring and record breaking. She says that she will come back often to support the runners.
She admits that a part of her will miss being here but she is content with her decision no to be a runner this year. In so many ways she is still able to inspire those who carry on the journey. Not just those that are here now but also those in years to come will be following in her footsteps.
“I am going to be a part of it in another way,” she says.
Igor Pokojny is the Counsel General for Slovakia and he has come to support 3 fellow citizens of his small country. He and his wife say that they have not come in any particular official capacity but merely their appearance here is because the runners are friends.
Over the last few years they have come to several of the ultra distance races held in Queens. He admits that neither he, nor his wife are runners themselves but yet they always find the races to be a wonderful experience and are happy to be in some small way part of.
“To run 3100 miles is something unbelievable.”
They know the magnanimity of this fantastic event but they also know how difficult it can be. For those who have never run it they are on a new journey.
The main thing is this is a most difficult race. They are true warriors, true heroes. Not only in the outer world but also in the inner world.
So in honor of Sri Chinmoy the founder of the race, the inspiration behind the race. He used to come to the race even 4 or 5 times a day. So as in all of our multi days we are dedicating the race to his memory, and to the memory of all those who have trod this sacred ground. There have been 95 performances from 27 people, and we are hoping we will have another 11 finishes.“….remarks by Sahishnu.
Only they will really know the depths and heights that are the 3100.
The world at the course has its own distinct urban patterns. Most of those who pass by on a regular basis will become all too familiar to the rhythm and flow that is all part of the 18 hour cycle of the race.
“Long longer longest in the world history race. I have just covered 3100 mile race. I have cried and I have smiled, during my self giving race. I now proudly enjoy God’s compassion eye and his heart embrace.”
Song and lyrics composed by Sri Chinmoy performed by the Enthusiasm Awakeners.
Today also happens to be a beautification day for the course. A number of green thumbed girls are out planting flowers that may not make it through the entire summer but for now bring brightness and joy to all who will pass by.
There is also the less glamorous, but very important job, of counting that takes place at every moment runners are on the course.
My dream has now come true.
I am seeing my beauty’s flower.
I am scanning my duty’s tower.
I am smiling with divinity-hour.
I am enjoying perfection-shower.
Excerpt from From The Source To The Source by Sri Chinmoy