It is self evident that there are some things in this world of ours which we judge to be eternal. They may be man made monuments forged from the sturdy elements of the earth, and it also might be the grand inspiring works of nature itself. Most often we connect to them spontaneously and deeply. We need make no mental note or comment, for they touch us from within, and immediately remind us that on the scale of eternity our lives and accomplishments, will unlikely be long remembered in any way whatsoever.
Yet the minute speck which is our life is ours to cherish while we can. We can find ways to make the tiny spark of our life glow as if it was heaven’s sun itself.
Last night Dharbasan’s and Nandana’s daughter Shakti drew a large cat on the sidewalk in front of the support vehicles. It took her quite a while to make it and while doing so she had to keep her eyes out for the runners and other pedestrians who passed over it regularly. Almost from the moment it was created it was already starting to fade. When Dharbasana arrives this morning he is quite surprised to see that it is still there.
He in particular will still be inspired by it all day and eventually there will be no trace of the cat or the words, ‘Good Luck,’ at all.
Most, if not all of the runners, if they are fortunate will finish the 3100 in a little more than a month in and a half. Those millions of individual steps they took along the way will ultimately end up being but a blur of motion in their minds eye. Those countless days of sun and heat and cool and rain will just become part and parcel of a gigantic embrace of a New York summer.
One can hope that the tough cruel days of pain and fatigue will be quickly forgotten but most likely they will not. Aches and pains will haunt them for a long time after. But what should endure are those divine moments in which their hearts rose up and they were no longer bound by the earth or even their own humanity. When they recognized that tantalizing thread that connects us all with the divine. That they see that God himself is ultimately acting in and through them, and through us all.
This morning for a brief while there was just a pair of Surasa’s shoes sitting by themselves under a plane tree. Eventually she reveals herself and with the help of Ashprihanal attempts to move one of the trees off the course. They had not checked the memo as to which direction it should go and so there was some confusion. Apparently the tree didn’t mind much anyway.
The board this morning reveals one of the tightest races on record. For a couple of days Petr was closing in on Ashprihanal by doing the most miles for 2 days straight. Last night Ashprihanal broke out a 72 mile day. He had said earlier yesterday that he felt like he had at last adapted to the race.
It is impossible to know what Pavol sees as he looks at the board this morning. On this his 3rd year he is having his best results ever. Maybe he is just looking at the name of the man who is just one mile in front of him. It is however quite easy to know what is going through the mind of Purna Samarpan who is proudly wearing his German team’s football Jersey. Sadly for him his team will loose later in the morning to Serbia. Nikhad who helps at the race was the one who probably celebrated.
Start Day 6
“I feel very good, but when I got sick before the start of the race, I also I knew I should be very careful about running on the edge.” Every year Petry Spacil 32, Brno, Czech Republic, has run the race he has improved. Last year, which was his third, he bettered his previous best time by 3 days. Now he may have even caught the tantalizing scent of a possible victory but for now there are too many miles left to run to be overly concerned with such things.
His schedule now dictates that every day he needs to leave at 11pm. He is aiming to try and run 70 miles a day but if it doesn’t happen his plan thus far is to leave according to the time no matter what. “It is smart to be patient at the beginning.” He knows that it will take time to adapt to the hard course.
As he talks his voice sounds a bit raspy and rough. He tells me he has a sore throat and also there is small problem with his sinuses. The cooler temperatures have not been good for him thus far. “What can I do. I was expecting a little bit warmer weather at the beginning.” When I mention that the temperatures in NY are supposed to soar in the next few days and he is delighted. “I like more hot than cold weather.”
He was very satisfied with his race here last year. He felt that it took him 2 weeks to get into the flow of things but after which he was able to maintain a high standard. When asked what his feelings were about coming back again and running he is unhesitant in saying, “I love the race.”
There is always a slow period of adjustment which for him takes about 3- 4 days. This adaption also includes, besides the rigid schedule, and the hard loop, but also all the noise, cars, and the general chaotic NY environment. He lives in the countryside in the Czech republic and it is a world of difference.
On the plus side are the many friends he has made around the loop, which includes the caretaker of the local park and some of the guys who regularly play hand ball. More importantly though are those who come and inspire the runners. He feels that those who love the race and are eager to serve it in some way carry the energy and ideals of Sri Chinmoy the creator of the race to it, each and every time they come. It is those moments of unexpected inspiration and dedication that for Petr turns this race into something on a whole different level.
He recounts that yesterday at the race, “I felt really bad. It was really tough. ” Miraculously, Parvati,whose group Enthusiasm Awakeners sings here every morning told him that it was the 3rd anniversary of when Sri Chinmoy composed the song, “Long, Longer, Longest Self giving journey.” When he heard this he had a revelation of sorts. “Then it came to my mind the reason that I am here is self giving. Very simple but there is everything inside. And if any of us can inspire a few people around the world, make them happy, than that will be more than enough for me.”
I had mentioned that Surasa had a wrap around her leg but never knew why. Today she said, “I have a little bit of shin splints, but it is not so bad.” Asked how she is liking the race so far she laughs with enthusiasm, “especially the first 3 or 4 days. They are really really nice. They are just wonderful, but especially the first 6 hours. They were delight.”
She tells me that yesterday was the first one in which she encountered some problems. “Because I did not have enough sleep.” Unlike Purna-Samarpan she is not much interested in what is happening with the German team at the world cup, so should have no further setbacks today.
“When I take my heart to God for repairs, he gives it his immediate attention.”
Song composed by Sri Chinmoy
Performed by Enthusiasm Awakeners
Self-giving is, indeed,
Excerpt from Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 249 by Sri Chinmoy