June 14: I Have To Run

Whenever we attempt to fully describe others we quickly begin to realize that each and every person is multifaceted.  That no one label can ever begin to adequately describe someone.  We are all composed of so many different qualities and capacities.  Most of us perhaps would like to picture ourselves in the, ‘jack of all trades, master of none category.’

Perhaps as time goes on we develop new skills and expand our horizons in many different realms such as sport, creativity, and other practical endeavors.  Rarely, very rarely do people come along with whom you cannot help but describe them as being a master of something.

There is at least one runner here whose capacity and talent, combined with their perseverance means that they really and truly are a RUNNER.  Surasa Mairer, a 52 year old athlete from Vienna is without question  one of the world’s greatest woman ultra distance runners.

Last year at age 51 she attempted the Self Transcendence 3100 mile race for the first time and was only able to complete 2760 miles of it.  Very early in the race nagging injuries held her back and yet she continued to run on cheerfully and devotedly until the very last minute that it was possible for her still to run.  She told me then that she was happy with her effort and glad that she could fulfill a long held goal to run here in this the longest race in the world.  Her resume as ultra distance runner is astonishing, and with all her previous achievements in ultra races no one would have been at all surprised if she had simply decided not to come back and tackle her Everest once again.  Yet she did.

So much about the Self Transcendence race is undefinable and this applies particularly to the runners themselves.  How can we begin to grasp why and how they do this thing and even more, come back and do it again and again.

Vishvarutpani is one of those helping Surasa and when she begins to describe her friend she simply glows with appreciation and respect.  Of her friend she says, “she is very amazing.  So cheerful and very in the moment.” Then she added the word, “surrendered.”  It is a perfect description.

When you see her arrive here each and every morning, looking so bright and full of energy and promise you just know that this is her world.  To be someone who simply has the unique capacity to run all day long.  And all the time propelled by such a positive attitude that any negativity simply does not touch her world.  To the point, she is simply an amazing woman athlete who is defying age with every step.

She has incredible strength and endurance and when this is combined with such a determined and positive attitude she is nearly unstoppable, and yet there is more.  It is in her running that she becomes aware of her spiritual potential.  It is on this course in a race created by her late spiritual master, Sri Chinmoy, that her inner and outer world draw so perfectly together.  For her to run here is to go beyond, to self transcend, and find herself drawing ever closer to her own perfect perfection.

The board is what I look at first thing every morning.  After a typically strong first day most runners begin to settle down.  It has been said that it can take up to 3 weeks before these runners are running with their ideal pace and rhythm.

When you arrive before the runners you can feel as though you have just wandered into someone’s home and they are not at home.  The chairs are empty the course is bare and the energy is slowly begin to build.

Then the runners arrive, sometimes with just minutes to spare before the start.  Most often they are more awake and alive at this ridiculously early time than I will be at any time during my entire day.

 

Rupantar is now conducting daily short video interviews, available on the 3100 mile web site.  He also spends a little time checking over the runners totals and gives encouraging remarks to the runners near by.

 

 

 

Start

Day 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atmavir has taken the lead going into day 3. With a first day of 80 miles and second day of 75 his total is now 155.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashprihanal of course is never far behind.  Today he has 150 miles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New comer Igor Mudryck has had a very strong start.  His 2 day total is 145 miles. Pranjal is now in second with 152 miles.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The course is shared by many others through out the day.  Alfredo has been a constant presence on the corner every morning waiting for his ride to work. The runners weave their way through the kids every morning as they head to school.

To do it once at my age is enough.”  Surasa laughs as she speaks these words.  Clearly this is not a concern for her as she attempts this race now for the second time.  She admits that after last year she had some doubts that her body was indeed strong enough to do it.  However she says, “the inspiration was very very strong.”

She imagined often that she was running here again and says, “I got so much joy, and when I was imagining that I was not running, and that I was in Vienna, there was no joy.  So there was no option then. It was clear there was no option. I have to run. I am very happy that I am here again.”

This decision to come back amazingly enough came quite late.  It was only by the middle of May that she saw clearly that destiny was calling her to come back.  “It was always on my mind, but I applied very late.”

I ask her pointedly whether she carries with her any lingering doubts and she states emphatically, “I feel confident.”  When she thinks about last year she pushes aside any bad experiences that may have happened to her.  “Only good things are in my mind.” Of any negative ones she say she forgets these things very fast.

“I am very very grateful that I was able to stay in the race until the end.  This was the most important thing for me.”

She also appreciated all the support and camaraderie she experienced here.  “These things you really value.  It really helps you.  It is so nice.”

This morning is perfect.  It is bright, the air is fresh and cool and when I ask her what she would be doing if she wasn’t running here on this glorious NY morning.  She tells me that she works as a secretary in   an office in Vienna.  She laughs and describes that sitting in a chair all day long is not as appealing as being able to run instead.

Last summer it was the hottest on record and though she was not overly concerned about the heat and humidity back then she says days like this are much easier ones to run in.

She tells me that she has no other goal her this summer than to do her best.  “Everybody is trying to make the cut off but it is not in your hands.  You have to try your best.”

Click to play interview

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

 

Enthusiasm Awakeners

Click to play song

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

 

 

 

 

I know what I shall

Have to tell the world:

“I have cried.”

I know what I shall

Have to tell myself:

“I have failed.”

I know what I shall

Have to tell Heaven:

“I have smiled.”

I know what I shall

Have to tell God:

“I have succeeded.”

 


Sri Chinmoy, Giving And Becoming, Agni Press, 1974.

No Comments.

Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)