6 & 10 Day Race… Day 7

It may be just a coincidence or it may be part of a great plan.  But whatever it is that brings Luis to the Self Transcendence race each spring, it means as well that he is always here on April 25th, which just happens to be his birthday.

Luis had one of those milestone birthdays last year, he turned 65.  Friends came around and wished him well and the camp gave him a cake and sang Happy Birthday.  After all the fuss he just slipped quietly back out onto the track and continued to do what he loves most of all, and that is run.


There is a part deep within us all that enjoys simplicity.  To have a life uncluttered with stuff, endless distractions, and hopeless desires.  Luis’s life is far from perfect, and he will tell you so, but there aren’t very many people whose world has been distilled down to such a clear and uncomplicated agenda.  Go out and run every day, and come every year to the Self Transcendence races and do your best.

He is running the 6 day this year, which is a rather recent compromise.   It is a decision….let’s best be polite…. brought on by his maturing physical situation.  He would much rather do the 10 day but a few years ago it just got to be too much.  So switching gears he now runs the 6. As of noon today he has 113 miles for 48 hours, which puts him just about in the middle of the pack.


There are times in all our athletic careers when we are at our best.  Of course some runners out here are really in their primes as distance runners right now.  There are though still a few who remember an earlier version of Luis.  When he was a lot more than just a good runner, but a great one.

This picture taken 30 years in ago in 1985 shows a Luis, that a generation of runners here now never knew.  Also they just may not believe that this man who now shuffles endlessly around the course in a grey sweat shirt once used to fly along the track. His personal best is 138 miles in 24 hours.

The man handing him his birthday cake in 1985 was also making some adjustments to his running goals at this time.  Ted Corbitt, who many consider the father of distance running in America even ran this race himself, when he was 80 years old.


All the runners in both of the races here have gone through a lot since they started.  There are no doubt a few who are really suffering but no matter how bad it gets they just won’t give up.  They see a finish line that for all of them is now getting closer all the time.

But let us not kid ourselves, there are still 4 days more of running.  And if you are Luis Rios, once he crosses the finish line he will pack up and go home to Brooklyn.  The next day he will head out the door and just keep going.

There seems to be a phenomenal interest in how Taiwanese runner Lo Wei Ming is doing.  25% of all the traffic to this blog is currently coming from Taiwan.


He has lots of supporters and friends back in Taiwan who are really happy to see that he is doing well.  He has 370 miles after 6 days.

Today Mei Jiang from Taiwan Macroview Tv came and did an interview with him.  This is part of that audio.

Click to Play:

Taiwanese Interview


If you want to see a truly magnificent performance than Ashprihanal is worth watching for a while.  He does not enjoy talking very much about what he is up too but his performance over the past 6 days speaks volumes.

At noon today he completed 500 miles, which meant he ran 85 miles in the last 24 hours.  It was 10 miles further than any of the other 10 day runners.


The winds have lightened today, the sun is gloriously out and there are real signs of Spring.


Eoin Keith who is in the 6 day race ran 94 miles his 2nd day and has 217 miles to lead the race there.


Some folks in the park are not in much of a hurry.


Dipali ran 78 miles on her 2nd day and is ahead of her pace last year with 180 miles.

dipaliThe trees beside the path.


Kaneenika has also been magnificent.  If it weren’t for Ashprihanal she would be leading the 10 day race with 443 miles.  She ran 71 miles yesterday.


Ilvaka who is 2nd behind Kaneenika has also been magnificent and incredibly consistent.


Ilvaka has been running about 100 km a day, every day since her first.  She has 405 miles, a great helper, and apparently lots of joy being here.


There are lots of reasons to be happy in many ways.  There is the beauty of nature.


There is the bond that binds this unique family together.  No matter who you are and what you do here at the course of the Self Transcendence races.


Everybody knows what they need to do and where they need to go.


Shamita in 3rd with 396 miles.


Pati just behind with 393 miles.





Sarvagata stretching and just keeps running 70 mile days.


His competition…. if that is what you can call Nirbhasa has jettisoned any problems that he may have had an ran 75 miles yesterday.


At night it is a different place.  Mark Dorion takes a picture of the board.


Galya suddenly has a problem with a tooth and gets a quick massage from Yuri.  The blur beside them is Eoin dashing by in the night.


Yuri then goes to the medical tent where he works on Volodymyr.  It is one of the most intense massages I have ever seen.


He is all the better for it.  He ran 65 miles for 411 miles and has time to take a leisurely shave in the morning.


Karteek is one of the most unusual athletes that you imagine being here.  This 47 year old Scottish runner has up until now never run a multi day race.  He has however swum the English Channel 10 times.


“I got inspired to do this race in January.  I thought about it.  Is it really my thing?”  He had been swimming the channel off and on since 1994.  Oddly I had been struggling for many years with running.  I don’t know what it was.  It was a kind of block.  The feeling was that I have to set something that I could reach.  To have a target.  Just back into running one or 2 miles.  So I just started with walking training.”

This took place in January.  “That is when I started imagining I was doing this race.  So I tried to do 2 hours every morning, fast walking.  I did about 8 miles and that gave me the confidence thing.  Slowly I built it up until I was doing a marathon.  6 or 7 hours, nothing very fast.”

Early on he he a set back.  He got very painful shin splints that did not allow him to walk without pain.  Oddly enough he was able to run instead without too much discomfort.  “Slowly I realized, that if you are going to do this race then you are going to have to start running.  From that day I started doing running training.” Then eventually the shin splint problem disappeared.


“Right from the start it has been an exciting thing.  It has been a thrill just to train for it.  Talk to people about it, work on it, try and lose a bit of weight.  I wasn’t sure at one point if the idea of coming was a crazy idea or coming from inside.” Then he simply realize that he had to do it.  That it would help him in some way.

“I got an unbelievable amount of advice.  Everyone wanted to share their pearls of wisdom.  What to eat, what to drink, what to wear, when to run, really inspiring things.”

He helped out in the early days of the 10 day race.  “That was very inspiring coming down here.  Once you arrive on this bit of track you get this incredible feeling.  It is fascinating.”

Click to Play Part 1 of Interview:

Karteek 1

He says that feeling has not changed even since he started running here himself.  “It is an incredible course.  I don’t think you could find a better one.”

He says that he never had any doubts or hesitation about running.  His only concern was that the shin splint might return.

His first day he completed 57 miles and we are now just about to finish 48 hours with 101 miles total.  “I am very happy to have done that.  It is interesting because you find all kinds of interesting ways of moving your body.  Lots of people inspired me and told me that I would really love it.  Yesterday was quite tough because I had set this goal of 50 miles a day.”


He had set certain target goals to accomplish this and said that when he finished last night he was so tired and sore, “I couldn’t even walk a meter or or two.  Actually within a lap this morning everything loosened up.”

“Most people say that in order to do this you have to remain happy and cheerful.  You have to find out within yourself what makes you happy, and try and really focus on that.  It is like meditation,  you have to move all the negative thoughts aside.  But somehow here that is all quite easy.  It is like it is done for you.  From that point of view it is kind of a gift.”

He describes the course which is outlined by red plastic cones, fences, and trees.  Within its perimeter he feels safe and protected.


The longest it took him to swim the channel was a little over 17 hours.  “The thing about swimming the channel is that it is very intense.  A shorter time and initially it is a kind of battle.  You have to go fast, there is no stopping.  This is very different from that point of view.”

As for being here, “there is an incredible feeling of people working together selflessly.”  He describes all the labor that went into creating the camp and maintaining the race itself over 10 days. “There is an energy of people working together and helping every one.”

Click to Play Part 2 of Interview:

Karteek 2

Hubert has 358 miles


The runners in almost an unbroken chain around the one mile loop.


You definitely need sun block


Andrey Andreev also with 358 miles.


Budjaergal from Mongolia has 100 miles for 2 days.  I found him camp today writing in his journal.





Gabriela checking the board.


She has 389 miles


Galya has 196 miles for 2 days.


George 147 miles


When I ask Gundega who she is she replies, “every minute you can change.  Whatever you  need you become.”  She is Latvian and says her name means buttercup, the flower.


This is her 3rd race, “every time when I finish I think I will not come again.  But you forget everything.  Inside you feel like you need to come.  Somebody inside tells you to come,  that it is very important for you to come.”

“I learn many things here, about your body, about shoes, about food.”


“Everybody experiences something different.”  She says that we cannot really see what is happening here within people.

As for herself she doesn’t look or care about the board.  It just causes problems for the mind to look.

Her helper is Elsa also from Latvia.  “It is very important she helps me so much.  She helps me and makes me feel happier.  Inside I also feel oneness.”

She is not worried about the finish line.  Her helper gave her a poem recently written by Sri Chinmoy.


This moment is the right moment
To feel God’s special Presence.
This moment is the right moment
For my self-transcendence.

Sri Chinmoy, My God-Hunger-Cry Part 1, Agni Press, 2009

Click to Play Interview”





“Last year I ran 286 miles for 6 days.”  Kumar, originally from Nepal, ran his first multi day here last year.  He has run quite a few other trail races and done well.  This is the first time he is doing a 10 day race.  He has 346 miles after 6 days.  So he has literally surpassed already his achievement  from last year.  “This year I have improved.” (laughs)


His goal he says is to one day run the 3100 mile race.  Being here is like training for him.. “I like to walk and run.  I have improved.”

Click to Play Interview:


The great John Geesler


Always the kitchen


Litaf has 109 miles for 2 days.


Karin has 257 miles


Under the bridge.


Ushika with 352 miles




Tatjana with 322



Daffodil perfection




2 Marks and 2 Helens


Warm enough to take off your coat.

runnerTo dry some laundry.


“I feel like I am cheating because I live so close.”  Michael Korol is a 55 year old runner from Syosset which is literally a short drive right down the Grand Central Highway.  He is very experienced in ultra races and this is his first multi day.


I make a joke that he could make a quick escape from the race by jumping in his car.  He informs me that in fact this is what he has just done.  “I had to because I was suffering from a bad cold.  “I took 15 hours off, went home and got into bed.  I got up this morning and came back here.  I feel 10 times better.  So I hope I do it.”  Despite the break he still managed to make 95 miles for 2 days.

“I did 3 24 hours last year.  That is about it.”  He says his real background is in race walking.  A skill that will definitely be useful to him over the next 4 days.


“I like the longer events.  I figure the longer they go the more it comes in my favor.  I can probably out walk everybody in the latter stages.  That is the idea.” He is surprised that even after his long break he was not in last place.  “I was hoping for 300 miles.  I might get it even though I was sick.  Everything I do is going to be good.”

He told his friends that if they want to see suffering than they should come by later.  In the early stages, because of his cold he wasn’t enjoying himself.  “But I know the race itself is enjoyable.  So I am just going to keep going.  I am staying here until the end.”


Click to Play Interview:

Michael Korol


For everything
There is an ideal time,
And that ideal time is now,
At this very moment.

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



3 thoughts on “6 & 10 Day Race… Day 7”

  1. Thanks Utpal
    I am following your blog everyday to keep track of how my daughter, Subala is going. I’ve even been able to see what lakshmana is up to. Thanks for all the photos.

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