June 17: Eternity’s Race

If you could somehow acquire or shop for all the essential human elements you needed to run a race like this, most of us would probably create long lengthy well thought out lists .  Abundant strength, endurance, and energy would probably be at the very top of most people’s page.  I know those are things I would like to have with me in my tank for those long 52 days on the road. On the surface there are some things that are just plainly obvious.

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It doesn’t take running very many miles for each one who participates here to suddenly encounter the shocking realization that they simply do not have enough of what they thought they had accumulated enough of in training.  Or more enigmatically, they conclude that they could use a whole lot more things that were not even included in their original planning and preparation.

When your energy seems to have evaporated  away like the last wisps of steam pouring out the spout of a hot dry kettle.  Or you simply begin to feel the inevitable first annoying growls and bites of pain and fatigue. What also becomes more clear as well  is just how important are the subtle parts of us are.  The unquantifiable aspects of who we are and how much we need them when things get really tough.  The ones that are hard to measure but crucial when it appears to be just so incredibly difficult, if not impossible to keep moving forward.

The powerful, yet subtle essential aspects of ourselves, like a positive attitude and enthusiasm.  Just how do you continue to motivate yourself through all the difficulties and disappointments that will surely come up during the race.

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Snehashila has come by this morning just as she has done most days of the race over the past 17 years.  In the early days she would make it part of her daily running schedule.  Now her pace has slowed to a pace, that could be more politely described as that of a brisk walk.  She is one of those rare individuals who took up the sport of distance running late in life.

Sometime around age 50 she started to run marathons, which now she can’t recall just how many.   Despite all kinds of reasons not to, she continues to happily keep exercising every day, even now as she is closing in on the 90th lap of her own life.  If you want to look towards someone whose enthusiasm and love of life and even transcendence has never faded or dimmed it is Snehashila.

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“I can’t stay away.  These people are like divinities brought down on earth for these few weeks.  Each time I come I get stronger and stronger.  I can’t tell you the name for it, but I can tell you that it makes me very very happy.”

“You know no matter how I feel.  No matter what my feeling is there is such a pull to come here every day.  I am so grateful that I am able to keep moving.”

Photo by Maral

Photo by Maral

These long distance races remind me of our Eternity’s race.

Along Eternity’s Shore we are running, running, running.

We are running and running with our birthless and deathless hopes.

We are running and running with the ever-transcending Beyond.

Sri Chinmoy, The inner meaning of sport, Agni Press, 2007

 The board reveals some interesting things today.

board

Ananda-Lahari did the same mileage as his first day which is all that he needs to do to complete the race.  vasu again ran the most laps on the second day.

Baladev has started extremely well.  He ran 70 miles yesterday.

pre-baladev

Sarah checks the lap sheets, she had 62 miles yesterday.

pre-girls

Jayasalini has did very well.  She ran 63 miles.

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Each morning she starts the day with stretches.

pre-jayasalini

William sorts out some housing issues with Rupantar.

pre-rupantar

Who then videos his daily clip.

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Something fishy about Samahita

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Sarvagata arrives on his bike.

pre-camp

Karibe checks the counting book.

pre-karibe

Stutisheel begins to wake up.

pre-stutisheel

This precious wait seems never long enough.

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There is a very long day ahead for them all.   It will soon become the first hot day.

pre-yuri

Start of Day Three

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The day starts very pleasant and warm.  There are light clouds and the sun only pushes through the haze occasionally.  It will get warm later.

first-lap

“When I cam to New York some girls at Annam Brahma said welcome home.  I was very surprised and very happy.”

2 years ago when Vasu started the race for the first time it was a strange new experience.  By the time he came last year for the second time and won the race he had learned very well.  He was more aware of how to prepare himself physically and also from within.flower-vasu

There are very few athletes of his incredible capacity that also match his modesty and humility.  When I ask him if he was surprised that he won the race last year he says, “it was God’s will it was not mine.”

This year he has 150 miles after 2 days, one more than in his race last year.  He tells me that he never looks or pays attention to his mileage.  “Sometimes I hear about how many laps I have done and that is enough.”

vasu-good

He says it took a long time to recover from last years race.  “In the beginning I felt much better than the first time I ran.  I think with each time you run you can recover a little faster.”

He describes how that each time he runs the race that the transformation that goes on inside him keeps increasing all the time.  “During my meditation I can feel more joy and peace than I had before.

As we pass by Snehashila she can be heard loudly cheering for Vasu.

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The life that Vasu has here is so much different that what he has back in his home north of St. Petersburg Russia.  There he works a hard 20 day shift at a lumber yard.  A place that is cold and snowy for much of the winter.  “In the winter it is night all the time.  No day, maybe only 3 or 4 hours of light.”

When I ask him what he would like to see happen here this summer.  His answer is not what you might expect.  “I would like to see peace between Ukraine and Russia.

He then tells me about an experience he had with an Auyervedic Doctor named Dr. Kumar.  “I asked him what can we do to make progress.  He told me, just run and be happy.”

Click to Play Interview:

Vasu

Ray completed 41 miles yesterday.

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Ray is a unique individual and extremely experienced  ultra runner.  He knows what he wants to do.

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Baladev who is second place with 145 miles also had a great second day on the course.  He ran 70 miles yesterday and with 145 miles is 8 miles further than he was last year at this time.

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He is running with more confidence and speed than I have ever seen before.  He says there is no obvious reason why he is running so well this year.

baladev-good

“I was in Ottawa all winter and it was very cold and very snowy.”  He suggests that maybe because it was such a change from spending a hot summer here in New York, which was then followed by a cold winter may have been good for his body.  “Like a shock.”

“I was not running too much outside.”

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He then suggests another possibility.  “You know it is like when you run your first marathon.  When you are not 100 percent prepared.  You get some experience.  Then when you run another marathon.  The second one could be a little easier for you.  Then when you run a 3rd and a 4th and so on, then it just keeps getting easier.”

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For Baladev this is his 6th time here.  “I feel different.”  He has changed his diet during the middle of the race in 2012.  “I am not eating sugar.”

“Last year was for me a very nice year.  Then I went to Ottawa and had a nice winter there.  The whole time there was a totally different world for me.  I was not expecting anything but it was unbelievable. Maybe that is the main thing.”

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“I felt from the first year here, that this is something special.  Everyone who is running or coming to the race, it is a real blessing.  It is hard to explain, but when you ask someone to tell you what they feel it is always very special here.  It looks like we are running the race.  But you can’t imagine what is happening inside everybody.    It is unbelievable.”

Click to Play Interview:

Baladev

He wanted to pass on his thanks and hellos to Atmavir and all his new friends in Ottawa.

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It is still so early in the race.

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Ananda-Lahari has 121 miles.

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For Stutisheel it is most definitely a case of getting used to something he has done so many times but he took last year off.

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After 2 days he has 127 miles.

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Last year this time Sarah had 124 miles.

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This year she has 128 miles.

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The fences along the way.

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Yuri has 141 miles, one more than last year.

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Teekshanam may be even surprised at just how well he is doing.  On pace with 128 miles.

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Pranjal describes just how weary he was during the latter part of the day yesterday.

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But despite just how achingly tired he was he never stopped yesterday until he ran 65 miles to give him a total of 138 miles, 10 more than he had last year at this time.

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Last year Nidhruvi had 129 miles

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This year she has 131 miles.

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There are also beautiful sounds to be heard along the course at times.

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Click to Play:

Kodanda

kodanda

Sometimes the beauty here is fleeting.

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Sopan has had a great 2 days.  He now has 136 miles.

Of his race so far he says, “Not bad… My energy is still up even late evenings… I also have a feeling that my comfortable running pace is faster than previous years… Had never run before 121 laps on second day! … Time will show.”

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Always bright patches of green, and legs that swiftly pass.

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William has 132 miles.

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He is in such a new and unusual race environment for him.  He shares the road not just with 13 other runners but also with a wide assortment of other non vehicular traffic.

william

Jayasalini has settled into this great new adventure very well.

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She has a very impressive 135 miles after 2 days.

jayasalini

Sarvagata is the only runner who increased his mileage on his second day.

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He has 136 miles after 2 days, 4 more than last year.

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Click to Play:

Parvati

The human in us
Is always tired.
It desires to shorten
The cut-off time
In the race.

The divine in us
Does not want
And does not need
A cut-off time,
For it loves Eternity’s
Divine Adventure-Road.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 203, Agni Press, 1994

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5 Comments to “June 17: Eternity’s Race”

  1. Patanga says:

    Go divine runners,
    Go Utpal
    Go Supreme
    Go everyone!

    Patanga

    (PS: Francesco, fratello mio, this time I arrived here at the comments before you 🙂 =) 😀 )

  2. Francesco says:

    Thank you Utpal,
    for your daily inspiring pages and pics.

    Ciao Patanga.

    The longest journey
    Is always
    The inner journey.
    This journey knows no beginning
    And no end.

    Sri Chinmoy, 23919 Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 24, Agni Press, 2002

  3. Doris says:

    Even a fleeting glance at the determined faces of the runners, especially short before the race begins early in the morning, reminds me of the great battle of Kurukshetra.

  4. Doris says:

    Even a fleeting glance on the faces of the runners, especially short before the race begins early in the morning, reminds me of the great battle of Kurukshetra.

  5. nirmala says:

    only someone like Utpal can word it so well,as I like to read the old entries too, at least one old entry a day and I feel the DIVINE so much more because the GOAL is always the same. -If one day you were offered the opportunity to experience genuine all encompassing life fulfillment and inner satisfaction, would you hesitate for even a second? As a an added bonus you would also be able to gradually release the nearly constant nagging chatter and clutter of your own mind. In accepting this offer you would then be set down on a path that led directly to your own self perfection. Where you would not be distracted or obstructed by any responsibilities or obligations to the world at large.- to read more from Running Seems The Way 23. Jun. 2010

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