Sitting on a sunny bench on a warm spring New York afternoon I suddenly had a peculiar thought.
I wondered to myself, “What do people look like who know that on the very next day they are going to be sent off on a rocket into outer space? That they are also aware that what lies in front of them is an extremely difficult journey, one that may last as long as 52 days.
That in all that time in front of them they will also be removed, in almost in every way, from all the familiarity and all the comforts of their ordinary world as they know it”
But looking once more at the casual group relaxing comfortably about me I realized that none of that made any sense.
There was such a profound sense of calm, harmony, and purpose about these fit smiling runners that surrounded me, that such comparisons were trivial if not meaningless. For there is simply nothing that can match what this group is about to set out to do starting tomorrow morning, whether it be climbing Mount Everest or even journeying off into the stars.
In just a little more than 12 hours, starting at 6am on June 15th, this tiny gathering of phenomenal athlete runners will set off on the longest race in the world, the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race. An event unequaled in sport and endurance competition anywhere. It is a unique experience that will force and inspire each, to strive, struggle, rejoice, and celebrate for 18 hours a day. One that lasts until they complete the full distance, or alternately, on and on until the clock shuts the grand journey, no matter how far they have run, abruptly down in 52 days time.
For some it is not a new experience. Pranjal is here for the 10th straight summer and Baladev is coming for his 6th time.
Nobody in this group has run as many times as Pranjal other than Stutisheel.
Stutisheel took a break last year from running but is also here for his 10th time.
Vasu is here for his 3rd attempt. He won the race last year in 47 days and 5 hours.
William Sichel from Sanday Scotland is an extremely experienced runner who is running for the first time.
Race director Rupantar giving last minute instructions.
The health and well being of the runners is of the utmost importance. The weather will soon change here in New York to extreme summer conditions. Mario gives advice but how to cope with heat and humidity.
Nidhruvi Zimmerman from Vienna Austria has returned to run the 3100 once more. Also a very experienced runner she successfully ran many multi day races in the late 90’s and on up until 2002. But last year at age 47 she came back to tackle the big one, the 3100 and succeeded.
Absent from this picture are Sarvagata, Sarah, and Ray. They will all be on the starting line tomorrow. There are 14 runners in this year’s race.
For Teekshanam it is a great dream of his to run the race. At age 38 he is running for the first time.
Jayasalini at age 33, from Moscow, is one of the youngest competitors here. Yet in many ways, even though she is attempting this race for the first time, comes to it with a wealth of experience and success in multi day running.
“I have been dreaming to come to this race for 10 years, since the very first time I was on the starting line of a multi day race. I had a very strong feeling that I would run this race. I also felt that there would be something that would show me. That something from inside would show me that now I would know that it is the right time. Also I felt outwardly that the outer circumstances would come together and that everything would be very smooth, and in the right way.”
“For many years I didn’t know how it would be possible.” Certainly for any of the runners who have jobs and live far from New York, as Jayasalini does, being fit and trained is just the first of many hurdles to cross, that then eventually lead a runner to the starting line of the 3100.
“Then last August, (when she was visiting NY) I felt so clearly, very clear and very strongly from inside a message. Next year you get to be at the race. You will run this race.”
She came over to the course, some weeks after the race had finished last year and simply ran around the loop. She describes that in a very real way she could visualize herself being here as well. That it was not just some imagination but instead a real calling that her time was also coming. She says with a smile as she recalls this moment, “next year I will be here.”
So many things had to all come together for her, particularly at her job. “All my managers happily accepted this. They were very very supportive. My company, just before I left Moscow, gave me a t shirt with signatures and things written on it like, ‘go go.’ It was very very nice. It all happened in the perfect way and I am very happy to be here.”
Jayasalini, like many of the runners here, experience the inspiration to come and commit themselves to the race often in a very clear and profound way. “It is an inner voice saying a message, and this message is so clear and so vivid that you don’t have any doubts any more.” She describes it as like an inner command that she simply could not ignore and so simply had to act upon it and come and run. It also comes with such a sense of confidence that she knows, “everything will be fine.”
Compared to any other multi day races she says there is simply no comparison. “This one is very very special. It pulled me like a magnet. The first time I saw an interview with Stutisheel describing this race. At that very moment I felt that I would get to be there one day.”
Video of start of the 2007 Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race.
Click to Play:
When asked about what she hopes to achieve over the next 52 days. “I would just like to try and accept what ever comes.”
“This race it is possible to do it on your own,” she says, but it is not the way she wants to attempt the race. She wants instead to use oneness to accomplish her very best here. Whether it be oneness with a higher source or even her own higher self. She feels such support and energy with so many people from all over the world.
“It is only through oneness that you can move forward. I was so surprised, to have such amazing support from my friends, from different places.” Before coming she says this support came from her colleagues and also from so many that she did not even suspect who would be interested in this great adventure she is soon about to start.
Some she says have even already started sending her encouraging messages. “Some people I do not even know at all. I am so grateful what they are saying to me. It is so important to me. I really feel the support. I am very very grateful to them.”
Click to Play Interview:
ACCEPT WHAT COMES
Don’t pick, don’t choose;
Accept what comes!
If you devotedly
Accept what comes,
Then in the heart of your world history
You unmistakably shall become
What God eternally is.
Sri Chinmoy, The Golden Boat, Part 11, Agni Press, 1974