From Inside

“I was curious as to what motivated these people to walk these great distances.”  On a very hot Saturday afternoon I come across a man, who almost looks as though he is in some kind of trance.  Martin McNiff is not spaced out however he is in fact very much tuned into the steamy world of activity circulating around him.  He looks at the board with its impressive jumbled mountain of numbers and he is in awe.

“I feel that it is more than a physical thing, it is a spiritual thing that drives these people.  I feel that they are in touch with a higher power, and that is where they get their energy, and they are able to do that.”  He had heard about the race from his son.  He lives a fair distance off in the near but far reaches of Long Island but was drawn to come and see it for himself.

He reads an article about the race, posted on the fence, written by the Wall Street Journal.  It is a thoughtful informative piece but doesn’t go very far in exploring the deeper aspects of the motivation driving the runners forward or what the atmosphere is like just being there, and standing on the sidewalk.

I ask if he feels any unique inner experience by being here.  “Without a doubt I feel it.  It is more than being physically fit.  I feel they are being driven.   That it is greater than just being physically fit.”  He believes that some of that same energy inspired him to come by today.  “I believe in the spiritual.  It is a different source of power.  I believe we are all beneficiaries of a higher power.”

He has been an admirer of the founder of the race, Sri Chinmoy, for many years.  He is not surprised that such an event still takes place in his name.  He was particularly inspired by all the spectacular lifting events that Sri Chinmoy regularly participated in.  “I remember him from many years ago from the physical end of it.  I was an athlete myself.  I was always intrigued with the physical strength that this man had.  I remember reading about him.”

He recalls some of the lifts that Sri Chinmoy used to do on a regular basis by lifting large groups of people and heavy objects resting on large platforms.  “He wasn’t muscular.  He didn’t look like an Arnold Schwarzenegger.  He didn’t train in gyms, but he was able to get this strength from his spiritual, from inside.  He was able to do this.  It always fascinated me to read about this.”

“His feeling is still going.”  He gazes with such respect as the sweaty runners continue to pass by.  He wonders why more of the world is not aware of this miracle taking place on a hot hard Queens sidewalk.  He shakes his head and eventually leaves the course.  He says he will come back soon.

Martin McNiff Interview

I was drawn back to the race for a second time, Saturday afternoon.  The kids in the park were able to find some relief in the way that all kids do on an unbelievably oppressive afternoon.  The only saving grace may be that the humidity at the moment does not feel like a wet towel wrapped around your face.

Atmavir has once again taken advantage of a minute chunk of fresh New York city concrete.  The crew who had dismantled the sidewalk this morning were quick in taking it a part and also quick in replacing it.  Atmavir describes how he anxiously waited for them to leave, which did not come quite soon enough for the major work he was hoping to create.  Still the mark is clear.  Though a cup of water helps you to see it just a little bit better.

As fate would have it Dharbhasana is on the massage table when I come being adjusted by one of the regular chiropractors at the race Gaurish.

He adjusts one of his lumbars and you can hear a very noticeable crack as he puts it back into alignment.  It has been a few weeks since he was able to come back and help at the race and is always hopeful that he can make the runners condition just a little bit better.   So that there is less pain and they can run easier.  Of Dharbhasana, “he is a tough guy.  He will break through.”

He says that a proper diagnosis of a torn hamstring is not one that can be made on an adjustment table.  Only the most sophisticated imaging tools can really tell.

“I didn’t feel any inflammation at all.  That is why I think he will break through it.”  He is a firm believer in the value of chiropractic adjustments at the race, and that it can stop and prevent injuries caused by overuse.  “Sometimes it is inevitable, but definitely when there is a lack of care in such an intense environment, things can come up much easier.”

He says, “I feel that as a group as a whole everybody is doing better than in past years.  Whether they are veterans or not.  The ones coming now are better able to handle it as a rookie, than previous years.”  He adds that it is just an observation on his part.  Not based on real science.

Dharbhasana meanwhile is simply eager to be back on his feet and hopefully be able to run once again.  He will finish this day with 2454 miles.  He will not be able to run any more today and instead do as he has done for the past few days.  He will walk until there is no time left on the clock.  As he pulls himself off the table he says, “I am trying to get there.  This is the first time today that I have been able to straighten my leg.  It has been kind of locked.”  He leaves while saying a very enthusiastic, “YES.”

Gaurish Adjustment

While I am there some Ice Pop Maidens from Rhode Island show up with just the kind of cool treat, a runner, or for that matter anybody would enjoy on a hot afternoon.

Pranjal’s description for himself is simply, “I am cooked.”

Atmavir simply walks now.  He will finish the day with 53 miles.

Asprihanal somehow will finish Saturday with 68 miles.  Clearly his brother is a big help.  He is doing the little things that take just seconds, but getting a bag of ice ready can enable the race leader to accumulate many extra laps.

The cool delight of the ice maidens spreads far and wide.  Departing race director Bipin takes a break with one.  Arriving race director Sahishnu settles in for a long night with one that won’t last the 6 hours until his day is finally over here.

When the ice pops are licked into oblivion the water remains.  There is always lots of it and Purna-Samarpan enjoys it the old fashioned way.  Bipin gets some down the back which he enjoys in quite a different way.

It is now the start of day 43.  Officially now there are only 10 running days left.  The weather today will be marginally less intense than it was on Saturday.

Start Day 43

My Mind takes me out.

My Heart brings me in.

Poem of the Day

Written by Sri Chinmoy

July 25th,2007

Recited by Pranjal

Poem of the Day

Asprihanal starts the day with less than 300 miles to go.  It is like a sprint to the finish now.

Galya ran 65 miles yesterday and seems to have a firm hold on 2nd place.  He has 326 miles more to go.

Pushkar has just 519 miles left.

Baladev is struggling to find the best way to finish his race.

Dharbhasana will get a great infusion of support today when his folks arrive from New Zealand and his Mother in Law from Canada.

Surasa is at peace and her goal is within reach.

“This year something is really happening.”  Atmavir attempts to describe something that he feels is taking place within himself.  There is no simple way to describe a very subtle process that involves his ability to tap into energy and perhaps his perception as well of the world at large.

It would be convenient to dismiss what he says as being the ramblings of a man who has spent too much time out in the sun and already run more miles than most people think is humanly possible.

The compulsion or motivation to do this event has little to with outer results.  Clearly something draws people from within to be here and for most of us it is beyond our comprehension what can and does take place when you become part of the 3100 experience.  “The body looks like it is suffering.  It looks as though it is going through some really hard experiences.”  He says that it is through this intensity that a positive transformation of the being can than take place.”

He feels that this energy he is experiencing and is aware of from time to time does not come from his own human vital.  “For example many times I felt as though I had no vital.  The vital was on vacation, or somewhere.  Usually I have a very strong vital, mostly for the whole race.  This year the vital was simply gone.  It was a really interesting feeling.”  He points to his midsection and describes it as feeling empty.

“The rest of the body was more pure.  Maybe this is just a fairytale for kids.”

Atmavir Interview

Every day without fail

I pray to God,

I pray, I pray

to give me a

very special role

in His Cosmic Play

Song of the Day Composed by Sri Chinmoy

Performed by Enthusiasm Awakeners

Every Day Without Fail

What do I see

Inside the creation?

Perfect restlessness.

What do I see

Inside that restlessness?

A perfect whisper

From perfect stillness.

Excerpt from Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 59 by Sri Chinmoy

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