July 22: Happiness Has To Come

Do you remember how your mother used to wake you up on schooldays.  My Mom had just that special kind of tone to her voice that I assume most mothers just naturally use with their children.  It was a blend of affection, tireless support, and just the right hint of the much tougher parenting material.  Every morning here for the past 40 days Rupantar has had a similar kind of tone to roust exhausted runners out of chairs and gradually get them shuffling towards the starting line.  Today he was using some of the tough love talk that I have rarely heard him use before.

Conditions, not just in New York, but across the entire east coast have now dramatically shifted from intolerable to dangerous.  When people from other places suggest that it can’t be that bad because they regularly experience temperatures  which are just as hot. People here resort to an age old mantra, ‘It is not the heat it is the humidity.” Rupantar was going around to all the runners and asking them to be extra careful.

He said to Atmaivr, “Start drinking now.  Don’t be afraid that you are not going to finish the race.  If you have to, slow down.  You know what you have to do.  You are going to finish the race.  Today you just want to survive.  If you want to take a long break it is okay.”

“It is hotter than the hottest.  This is as hot as it gets.  Some of the runners are new, and they haven’t experienced it.  If they are not careful I will pull them out of the race.  It is as simple as that.”

click to play clip



Day 41













He has been the race leader for 2 days now.  The 70 mile days have vanished as quickly as water drops on a hot grill.  Yet Sarvagata is responding to the weather with what appears like a full press to the finish line.

He now has just over 250 miles to go and seems to adapt to whatever experiences the race has put down on the path in front of him.  It seems that it is not just his capacity that helps but also by simply having a support crew.  Usually his friend Dimitry has to leave for much of the day.  Today Sarvagata is very aware of how treacherous the conditions are and has asked him to stay.  This will be a real boon not just to Sarvagata but also to Igor who is helped by him as well.

Igor starts the day tied with Ashprihanal but it is clear that at least for today Ashprihanal cannot respond to the challenge.  Almost immediately he moves into 2nd place.

Dimitry’s services have never been more crucial to his 2 runners than now, the last few waning days of the race.  His expressions shifts from one of utmost concern to in the next moment keeping them cheerful in the absolute hell like conditions.

By early afternoon the little thermometer in the clock says that it is now 40 C.  In the jargon that forecasters like to use they say that it feels in fact 10 degrees hotter than that.

To add to the stew is an advisory that the air quality is bad due to excessive ozone in the atmosphere.

For Atmavir it is cause for celebration. Right click to make any picture bigger.


“That’s how it goes.” Ashprihanal of course is being watched very carefully now.  He is being constantly encouraged to not push too hard.  Yesterday he ran just 41 laps (22 miles.)  Rupantar suggests that he take off the hottest part of the day and come back in the early evening.  Yet when I come back in the afternoon he is still out on the course.  Not running certainly but steadily walking.  He still has 286 more miles yet to go before he can really take a break.

Last night he stayed till 11:20.  “It was good.  I got some laps.”  He describes the  conditions now as, “still okay, especially because I am walking.  But if feels like it is going to be a hot day.”

“Last night I woke up again breathing heavy.  Being cold, and headache.  That is when I decided I would do the same today as yesterday.  Without that I would have a different attitude.”

“I always have the feeling that I should stay here as much as possible.  Even if you go in the van a lot.  But it is not smart if it is so hot.  If I really need to be out of the sun.  So otherwise I would probably stay all day. ”

“In life we always have ups and downs.  Especially in this race, you always have some expectations, than they get shattered.  Than you have new goals.  Life goes on.”

“It was sad, because I was going to do my personal best, and it wasn’t far.  Just 4 days away.  But now, who knows.”

“This race has been a lot of pushing I felt.  But I am happy often here.  Definitely happiness has to come .”

Click to play Interview


I ask Pradeep what Rupantar had told him in the morning before the start.  “He started nice, and said how are you keeping up?” He was clearly concerned because Pradeep’s laps had dropped from 115 to 85 laps in just a day.

I joke that the weather cannot be much like it is back home in Holland.  “It is funny, because it doesn’t actually feel so hot yet.  With the humidity it feels as though some switches are off in my body.  My upper legs don’t want to work.”

“I think for me it is all a new experience.  We all knew these hot days were coming up.  So I thought, let’s make some extra miles the days before.  So I will have some miles to loose on those days.”

“But in a way looking back maybe that wasn’t the smartest thing.  Because on those 3 days I pushed it a little.  So yesterday morning I entered the hot day fairly tired.  Maybe that made it worse?  I just couldn’t get the energy together somehow.”

Yesterday when I came back he was being treated by Kausal who is leaving today.  He wanted to get a general checkup before the opportunity disappeared.  “The days before I was feeling a little dizzy in the evening.  Also the last one and a half hour it was hard to run straight, and to think straight.  So I asked him about it.  But basically I am pretty good.  It is just dehydration and getting used to the heat.”

“He said I had the best liver on the course.  Generally I am really good.  My digestion is good.  It just might be the first time that I have tried to exercise in this kind of weather.”

“We get a few days over 30 degrees, but usually it is not a humid heat.  It is never over 35, never.”

I ask him what his goals are now.  “I have done the calculations but my first goal is to get through the heat.  Then I will bother again.  But before the heat I had to do 63 miles a day to finish.”

“It is great to be here.  It is just a very deep experience.  I read one of the morning prayers where it said something like, happiness is strength.  So I will stay happy and see where it ends.”

Click to play interview



Kausal comes for the last few hours that he has left before having to head off to the airport and then back home to Italy.  “It is so hot, so humid.”

Two years ago Kausal had come to the race to try and help briefly, instead he stayed for a long time.  “I got inspiration, and I felt that I could be of service to this incredible task and so I stayed.”

When I suggest that it certainly must have caused some problems for his full time practice back home, he laughs, “of course.”

“It is not easy for me to take 10 days off, or 2 weeks off.  I also have to decide, to either come to the 3100 mile race and help the runners for 10 to 15 days.  Or come later for the celebrations in August.  My heart tells me to be here.”

Then in an instant a runner shows up and he stands up and goes about doing what he does best.  What he is meant to do.

click to play interview



Poem of the Day

Recited by Harita

[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/harita-poem.mp3|titles=harita poem]



Enthusiasm Awakeners

Click to play

[audio:http://perfectionjourney.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/07/Enthusiasm-Awakaners.mp3|titles=Enthusiasm Awakaners]





Those who run after happiness
Will never be happy.
Happiness is something
That has to come to the fore
From within.


Sri Chinmoy, Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 41, Agni Press, 2004.




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