“Today I am feeling a little bit tired. But it is okay.” If you ever want to take a real look at somebody with a calm and steady mood and temperament than try and spend sometime with Surasa. And yes add to those qualities as well her extraordinary ability to remain cheerful and positive when confronting a monumental physical, mental, and emotional challenge. One that most of us would never even consider little alone attempt even once in our lifetimes. Surasa has taken on one of those mythical but very real battles not just once, but now this 55 year old champion from Vienna is enduring it once again for the 3rd time.
“I have some blisters, yaaah, my dear friends. But they are not so bad. But I think I didn’t sleep enough.”
There are some runners who when looking at the daily schedule of the race might just think that the break between midnight and 6 am would offer all the rest and comfort an exhausted body would need. Just enough to then be able to get up and face another day. It doesn’t.
The cruel mistress Time often makes false promises of relaxation but they never come true, at least not here. Surasa, like all the runners tried to snatch a handful of hours of sleep last night. What she probably ended up with was something that was more like a miserly 3 grim hours.
It was also the kind of rest that was not anything like good solid hours of peace. More on the other end of the spectrum, just miserable desperate ones. A throbbing moment of time in which her restless aches and not so phantom pains pummeled and pinched at her relentlessly throughout a few dark hours.
Who knows how much sleep is really enough. How much is enough on an ordinary day, when the sole tasks confronting you are a few hours of work or school. How much do you need to run 60 miles? No, excuse me, 3100 miles in 52 days.
There could be some good practical science which could predict accurately a lot of things about the race. Calculate and then map out the optimum amount of training and experience. Introduce a proper course of nutrition. What should be done in preparation of the feet and how to stretch and how often you should do it as well. Technical details that make a lot of sense on paper but are as useful to Surasa now as being invited out for a coffee and a strudel at a cafe in Vienna.
What counts only now is just the 470 miles ahead of her and that she go about making those miles as best she can. All of her life is focused on the course right here and now for the 3rd time. It includes everything of who and what she has and is. Whether it is her tiredness, her pain, as well as her strength and her dedication. All the forces and qualities she has within mixing moving and manifesting in and through what she is as a runner and who she is becoming as a spiritual seeker.
Yesterday she felt her mileage was not so good, just 109 laps or 59 miles. “It was because I spent too much time with the Dr. and couldn’t do my mileage. I had a little problem. (One her helper Irena considered to be quite a bit bigger) In the late afternoon I was sometimes a little bit dizzy, I couldn’t do so many miles anymore. But it is okay. I am quite happy with this mileage. If I can do this until the end than I will finish fine. I am just trying to do what I have to do which is 109 laps. If I could do 110 it would be wonderful.
“But I know if I also do not so many I can also finish. My goal is slowly and steadily. Not to overdo it, and I can run quite good until the end.”
The divine journey never ends.
Each ending is the preparation for a greater and more fulfilling beginning.
Sri Chinmoy, Colour Kingdom, Agni Press, 1974
Every morning the day begins with those first steps getting out of Rupantar’s van.
Nidhruvi going over some details with the boys
Sarah working on her feet.
The ever alert Pedro offers Surasa a drink
There is a beautiful sky greeting the runner but it will get warmer
Atmavir’s grasp of 1st place in the race this morning is like a speck of dust carried up into the breeze. Just 18 miles
He is running well and did 115 laps last night and he is running his race ever by far. 124 miles ahead of last year.
But Vasu seems to have grown faster and stronger here
He ran the most laps yesterday, 125.
He has just 306 miles more to go. He is doing his best.
Ashpihanal in 3rd place really ran yesterday, 111 laps.
He has 358 miles to go.
He is enjoying himself as much as he can. This morning he and Sopan put on a play.
The both give and get joy
Then in comes back to finishing the miles.
Pranjal passed Sarvagata again yesterday.
Legs always moving
“It is always part of the race. Lack of sleep and exhaustion accumulates, towards the end of the race. Your body is only functioning on 2 levels. Either you are running or you are sleeping. Nothing in between. Either you are running or when you sit down you immediately fall asleep. Day by day it is harder to stay awake.” He did 113 laps.
Sarvagata yesterday uncovered a new dark level in the race when he finished only 60 laps.
We know he is still finding something positive and encouraging from this experience. Yet nobody would like to see him struggle this way for another 426 miles.
“It is always nice to hear from your friends.” Surasa
“That you see that they are thinking of you, and it is so touching. When they are writing we are thinking of you and praying for you. It touches me always very deeply.”
Yuri ran 114 laps yesterday
He has now just 504 miles
He has to be feeling that the goal is now within reach
Nidhruvi did not have a fun day yesterday but she completed her mileage just the same.
Just 520 more miles
She somehow looks more confident and relaxed today.
She does a lap with Sylvia just to have fun
But all the rest of the day it is up to her
But the pictures they took will still remain intact
Sopan is finding joy whenever and wherever he can in this very small world that he inhabits.
He did 93 laps yesterday
Everybody trying to be cheerful
Irena found a way to keep the flap up
The feet don’t stop
Bicycle tires are another matter
Movement and beauty
Baladev did 92 laps yesterday
Ananda-Lahari will never leave the list
He has found his happiness and he found 97 laps yesterday
His sun will not set
Sarah starts the day off strong and leads the early laps
She also did 97 laps yesterday
Just 9 days more
Read by Surasa
A journey to no end
Was my animal life’s destruction-journey.
A journey to no end
Is my human life’s desire-journey.
A journey to no end
Shall be my divine life’s aspiration-journey.
A journey to no end
Shall be my God-life’s manifestation-journey.
Sri Chinmoy, Europe-Blossoms, Agni Press, 1974