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
10 responses to “June 14: Accept What Comes”
Dear Uptal and runners,
I have been watching this race thru Uptal’s blog for many years. In fact it gets me through the summer. In fact, it helps me do my own ultra running, or ultra laps. Thank you Uptal for your writing and pictures. Good vibes to all on your journey.
The very fact of Jayasalini’s appearance at the starting line of such an immense race is profoundly inspiring. Here we go not round the mulberry bush, but round a city block in NYC for almost two months! I remember talking to Jayasalini half-seriously about considering entering into the race a few years ago, but time must be ripe for such an undertaking. My family – my mom who just ran a 24h in Italy, my spouse who has never run anything bigger than the marathon, and myself with a single 13h run last year in Moscow – we have just glimpsed into not even multiday, but multi-hour running and what it takes. It also brings thrilling joy and overcoming of difficulties, even in such relatively small running events. But to comprehend this Everest of running… – one may only identify with all one’s heart or try it for oneself. Most of us have this first option – and that is what we will do: ‘root’ for the runners with all our hearts, especially for the first-timers.
So there it is, it begins again – the amazing, mind-blowing journey for the runners, and the oneness journey for us.
Thanks, Utpal for bringing it closer.
All the best to the dauntless runner-heroes on their challenging inner and outer journey – and especially to Nidhruvi and Jayasalini! Thrilled to be able to follow your footsteps here… You are amazing!
the next fifty days are a very spacial time of the year for us,
runners, helpers, reporters and readers,
your blog is the Divine Instrument that spread the light and inspiration
of this Pilgrimage.
Thank you for your self giving and dedication.
All the best to all the runners and helpers.
…I will not miss any single day…
Just what I needed to read right now when I have so much self-doubt. I read with interest what Jayasalini said about knowing inwardly that one day she would run in the 3100.
I had a dream over 6 years ago that I was running in the 3100. I was trying to aim for 2015 or 2016, but I’m rather behind schedule due to injuries and health issues. Hopefully, I can get a few more 6 Day Races and a 10 Day Race under my belt in the next 18 months and see if I can be ready for 2016 or 2017.
As always, I love reading your words and viewing the photos – it gives me so much joy and light. Thank you Utpal.
Great! All the Best to all the Runners!
Looking forward following your blog again to be close to the Race.
You are just about 12 hours into this wonderful Himalayan Self-Transcendence Race and I can feel your smiles, your energy and enthusiasm all the way across the continent to Los Angeles. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the inspiration you are providing to all of us – helping us to do better and give more of ourselves in whatever we are happen to be doing.
I am so happy to see Nidhruvi and Sarah again, and our newest hero Jayasalini at the starting line. Jayasalini, thank you for sharing your feelings and experiences over the years, as your calling came closer and closer – and now you are HERE.
Much gratitude and oneness to everyone. Wish I could be there with you – as a helper, NOT a runner.
Thank you Utpal for letting us all be part of this undertaking.
Hello to the “Golden Children” !!
Thanks for your running, aspiring and smiling – you change the world in Gurus way!
I am so grateful to read the runners thoughts and feelings about what they are starting …it is so intensely inpsipring and I feel as though I know them through the interviews…Ive been getting the desire to run more and more and their longest distance makes me feel I too can do so much more….cant thank you enough for bringing the race to us through this blog. Way to go! Pushpa rani