This morning Sopan set off on the course just as he has now for the past 45 days. Yet without fail, at least for the last few weeks, watching his first few laps is without question one of the most painful sites you can imagine. He is by far the slowest, at that time of day at least, and what he does in those early laps is not what most of us would call running or even walking. Probably there is an more accurate physiological term but to me it could best be described as a hobble.
His shoes scrapping along the sidewalk you can hear him shuffling along from some distance off. There are lots of reasons for his current condition. He has blisters and he has unbearable pain and fatigue. But just about the easiest way of understanding just why he looks the way he does in the mornings is to just look up at the score board. When you see all those numbers, 2562 miles they are the reason for both his suffering and his joy.
It hasn’t always been like this. There have been days on the course when every little bit of Sopan was working smoothly rhythmically and superbly. The first 2 weeks he regularly put in 113 lap days, accumulating those all so important laps in case problems should arise, and then they did with a vengeance. The hole he found himself in kept getting a little bigger and deeper each day until eventually there was not going to be any way to just grab back those all important lap numbers. Not when time was hurtling along at its relentless pace as it does not just here but with all of life.
Yet lest we forget, the most important thing of all is that he is happy to be here. Also as the morning progresses he becomes more limber and does move along well. He would love of course to finish all those 3100 miles, but even now he is looking at those last precious 7 days ahead and is looking at another number. It just might be 3000 miles, still a great achievement, or it might be something else. Even he doesn’t really know just yet. He will stay out here as long as he can doing his best and simply see where all that effort and sacrifice takes him.
For Sopan this year’s race is far from being a failure. Instead he feels that this year is instead one in which he has made a truly significant breakthrough. Found an answer to a long standing muscular and skeletal problem that has kept him out of the race for a few years. Not too many days ago he said, “Every time I have a good day I thank God and try to stay humble next day I do my best.”
Today is special for him in a lot of ways, for it was on this day 7 years earlier in 2006 that he finished the race in 50 days and 13 hours. It was a glorious achievement for this young man from Bulgaria. In what was also a great surprise to him, Sri Chinmoy himself, the founder of the marathon team was there for his finish. Just a couple of hours earlier another runner finished as well. So on that very special occasion Sri Chinmoy not only gave them their spiritual names but also composed songs in their honor. His name Sopan, means stairway to the highest.
As we near that same spot where it all happened he says, “there is a lot of history here.”
You do not know.
Your vital history
You have forgotten.
Sri Chinmoy, Europe-Blossoms, Agni Press, 1974
No not a chorus line. Ashprihanal is instructing the girls on his very special stretch.
Rupantar with slightly more awkward but definitely less colorful version
Sarvagata taking a drink
Shortly before going home last night Nidhruvi completed 2700 miles.
“You missed a lot because it was so beautiful. Very special. Yesterday I had such a good day. A fast day. I did many more laps than usual. My 2700 miles were at lap 107, and I did 113 laps yesterday. All special numbers.”
I point out the rather obvious, but at her current rate she will complete the 3100 miles sometime next Tuesday, on the final day. “I hope so very much. I am looking forward like anything. I am already imagining it in my head and heart to see the 3100 and cross it over. Just do it. It is just my dream and hopefully Guru’s dream too.” (laughs)
Surasa also had a great day with 114 laps.
She now has 2763 miles
She is doing so so well
Here is part of the reason the 2 girls are doing so well. Forgive me latter helpers. Sylvia and Irena holding a joint fax from Vienna encouraging them
Sarah is also continuing to work hard
She did 98 laps or 53 miles.
A sunrise along the Grand central
Somebody else trying to go up to a higher place.
A much safer spot since there are lots of these here too.
Ananda Lahari had a good day.
He did 87 laps yesterday
He also comes in off the course to get a haircut from Sundar
Making progress even if it is in the other direction
Baladev is enjoying himself
This morning he received this short talk that Sri Chinmoy once gave on Art. Kodanda gave it to him.
He thought you might like it as well.
He hoped people also understood how much he enjoys hearing Kodanda playing on his many different instruments in the morning.
Parvati’s group will sing his song
Yuri had another day of 112 laps
His is all strength and determination and yet a gentleness as well.
Sarvagata did 103 laps yesterday
He tries and tries and tries
He has 320 miles to go and 7 days in which to do it. Most definitely he will finish but no one knows when.
Tinier than the tiniest
Pranjal says that it is unusual for him not to be sleepy on the course these days, particularly in the morning
Just a little off the course
Ashprihanal is able to run more often than he was.
He did 107 laps and continues to move strongly.
He spends some time with Atmavir who also has had some tough days.
Who still managed 110 laps yesterday and has 177 miles to go
Something quite extraordinary happened to Vasu yesterday
He did 130 laps yesterday and now has just 170 miles to go.
He is more than 200 miles ahead of his pace last year
“Last year I did 25 km for my 25th birthday. This year I become 26 so usually it would be 26km.” Tajini just could be part of the next generation of multi day runners. For now she is helping with the cooks and yet she seems to be everywhere this year around and about the course. This morning at 6 she started running around the course in the opposite direction.
“I have to say I am having a little running break. My body is still recovering a little bit from the 6 day race.” Her Doctor has advised her to keep it simple just yet. “So I was thinking of doing 13 laps.” This is her 3rd year at the race and she says she first came to NY celebrate her birthday. She came over that day and says she saw Ashprihanal finish. “The finishes are so amazing. I really had tears, I felt so much oneness. It was so beautiful, beautiful. It was a really nice feeling. I immediately fell in love with the race. To see what the runners are doing.”
She did the 6 day race this Spring so feels she can at least identify with what they are doing a little more. “You can see the spirit behind all that.”
“Every year is totally different. Every year you have a different team, you have different runners, and they all bring different qualities. It always is a different experience. It always brings the best and the divine to the fore.”
Then when you least expect it you make it to the top.
Prayer of the day
History man has.
Mystery man is.
Mastery man needs.
Sri Chinmoy, You And I Are God, Agni Press, 1979