July 11: Just Beyond

It is a place where anything can happen.  The moment you get even the tiniest bit complacent than of course that is precisely the moment you will find yourself being suprised.  Taking any aspect of the race for granted is never recommended at any time, not even up until the very last lap on the last day.  There are never certainties,  not for the runners nor as well for those of us keen observers of all its ebbs and flows.  I like to think that a miracle can happen here in a heartbeat, that in an instant the sleeping giant will awake or the champion can potentially tumble off his peak.

Today however I saw something when I picked up the morning lap sheet that was almost incomprehensible.  I discovered that Sarvagata had run 147 laps yesterday which is the most anyone has done in a day, not only for the race this year, but perhaps even going back a few years.  In human speak he ran 80.63 miles which is 17 more than he had done the day before and 3 laps more than he had done on his previous best day.

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It is always troublesome to try and examine the experiences that happen here by attempting to analyze the numbers.  But put into a broader perspective the kind of mileage he covered after being here steadily running already for 29 days is astounding.  I had spent quite a bit of time with him yesterday and not for a moment did he indicate he was about to blow the doors of the barn.  It was only after I stopped running with him and started puffing on the sidelines that I realized that he was running really fast for a multi day runner.  He is a quiet and serious guy at the best of times.  He feels a deep spiritual, if not mystical connection to the 3100 that defies any typical sport page breakdown.

This morning he tells me that yesterday he woke up in a very good mood and had a number in his mind.  He felt that he could accomplish 150 laps by the end of the day.  He seems more than a little disappointed now as he discuses the previous days events.  “I was very close actually.”  He then describes how he believes the reason that he was unable to accomplish this tremendous goal was simply because at some point during the day he got into a bad mood.  Sunday of course there are many pedestrians moving here and there along the course and at some point he got frustrated by traffic of human bodies.  “This blocked everything.”

“It usually happens if you are in a wrong consciousness.  Then the right consciousness can’t come through.”  This is a place where every feeling, either good or bad can be amplified out of their usual proportions, by all the stress and intensity of the race.  Unless you happen to be a saint than it is difficult to stay in good mood even for an entire day little alone accomplish this thing without interruption for 2 months.  When asked if he will try again today, he answers, “I don’t know.”

A moment later I ask Stutisheel what running 147 laps actually means.  “Well frankly speaking, it is hard as well for me to understand what that number means.  Because it is just beyond.”  He tells me that this kind of level of running the race hadn’t seen since Madhupran set the course record here in 2005.  “It is extra, extra, extra, extraordinary.  Although Sarvagata is quite a silent runner.  I do admire his style, his everything.  He is doing a great thing. These things are possible only from extra blessings from above, and of course receptivity of some runners.”

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Sarvagata’s performance yesterday was like a strong breeze that swept over everyone.  In particular though Ashprihanal has felt a renewed intensity and inspiration to push his own level even higher.  He was of course aware of what was happening and ran a remarkable 141 laps himself.  This was 8 laps more than he had run the day before.

As they start day 30 they are now only 31 miles apart.  It is hard to imagine how their human bodies, as strong and conditioned as they are can possibly maintain such a tremendous pace.  If either starts to focus on what the other does than that is the runner who blink first and likely stumble.  If each however still listens to the others approaching footsteps and yet listens even more intently within than the next 2 weeks will provide a very glorious race indeed.

It was just a year ago at this same point in the race that Pranjal was leading.  His consistency and incredible discipline meant that going into day 30 then he had a 1 mile lead over Ashprihanal.  To be fair, Ashprihanal had lost an entire day to being sick and by day 35 had taken command of the race once again.  Pranjal of any of the runners here is never buffeted by any winds whatsoever.  He is the quiet master of his own race.  This morning, as he has now for the past couple of weeks, takes care of his blisters.  A foot doctor came yesterday and advised him and a couple of others of some options about taking care of their feet.

Yesterday Pranjal ran 110 laps, just a little low for him.  You can see now in his stride that he must be in some discomfort if not pain with each step he takes.  Despite all that swirls around and about him he is ever calm and contained.  He is 24 miles ahead of last year.


Day 30













The great surge that was spinning furiously around and about at the top of the leader board was clearly felt by the back of the pack guys as well.  Speaking with Pradeep this morning, I say to him, ‘122 laps.’ His simple answer, “Isn’t that great.” (laughter) He ran 67 miles which was almost 22 miles more than he had run the previous day.

“I have to say the weather was really good.  Somebody said to me that it feels like a Spring day.  It is strange because everything looked the same, but somehow it wasn’t so hot.  It was a nice Sunday atmosphere.  I liked it.”

When asked what has kept him from doing so well on other days he says, “I had some hip problems for a little while.”  On the afternoon before, Mitch the chiropractor had come and fixed it.  “I already felt like it was getting better, but I guess it needed some time to sink in.  Sunday I felt as though my hip was much better.  I was really happy to be running without that problem.”

He also came to a revelation when running with Purna Samarpan in the morning.  He realized, “that somewhere inside me I didn’t think I could finish the race, and it was really preventing me from doing well, or as well as I could.”

“I was kind of downplaying myself a little bit or being satisfied with less than I should.”  This for him and like many other first timers is a fundamental adjustment to what their goal really is here.  As someone who had never even run with this kind of daily intensity he had been from the start encouraged to not push too hard less he be sidelined by injury.  From the start he felt content with the certain option that as a minimum he could learn as much as possible in his first year and then be  able to come back the next year and really do it.  For him he described actually setting his sights on a distance much shorter than 3100 and being satisfied by that.  “Well if I do 2900 or 3000 it is also really good for the first time.”

“Then I realized at some point that it was going to be more important for me to conquer the feeling that I was actually going to whether or not finish the race as a person.  So I decided I should really try and go for it, and if it doesn’t work it doesn’t work.  At least I can feel as though I have tried to conquer that feeling of insecurity, that I can also see in other parts of my life.”

I wonder if he realized that he would be tackling such important inner obstacles rather than just concentrating on running.  “I think that many things about this race didn’t occur to me.  It is such a big thing you never know what you are really getting into.  It is easy to say after one day.  Let’s see if I can keep this spirit up.”

He spent many hours and miles with Purna Samarpan yesterday.  Both have a daunting task in front of themselves in order to finish by the cut off.  He can’t really afford even one off day until the very last day.  He still has more than 1400 miles to go.  Purna Samarpan is 50 miles further back than Pradeep and he says, “he was confident that he can do it.  I am 50 miles ahead of him and I wasn’t.  What is wrong with me?”  After various some back and forth banner he realized, “I am going to try.”

“He is usually a little bit faster than me, yesterday we had the same speed, so it was really enjoyable.  It was really good to run together.”

He had the help of Rabinath for more than a week.  “It definitely does make a difference if you don’t have a helper.”

He gets real encouragement as well from his many friends and family back home.  “I can see they are really happy for me.  I am doing really well, much better than I have run before.  I think when they see yesterday’s mileage come up I will probably get some more messages because they will be congratulating me.  I mean it is really touching me.  Especially here at the race because your mind and ego become very soft.  These kind of things touch me much more than they might usually do.”

Just at this moment we run by the board and see that he has 1427 miles.  He laughs and says, “some people say it is down hill from here.”

A moment later we come upon Purna Samarpan.  He says of their running the day before, “it was a very good combo.”

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Poem of the day

Recited by Mahatapa

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Dr. Mitch Proffman came out to do some chiropractic adjustments this afternoon.  On the table is Pradeep who was helped so much a few days earlier.

A card sent by well wishers in Italy for all the runners to be encouraged by.

Kodanda playing music early in the morning.

Sushovita came by later with a few well wishers.









Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Not beyond man’s possibility
Is God-realisation.
Not beyond earth’s possibility
Is earth-transformation.
Not beyond my possibility
Is self-transcendence.


Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 1, Agni Press, 1979.

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