June 20: Making History

ckg start 1000

When Fred Lebow visited our 1,000-mile race, he said we are so efficient. I laughed, because at every second we are having a heart attack!

He told me that we are making history. It is so true; the race is a real victory for America. Where else can they hold this kind of race! And this year it was won by an American.

-8 May 1986

Sri Chinmoy, Run And Become, Become And Run, Part 18, Agni Press, 1996

Photo by Maral

Photo by Maral

Almost 40 years ago when the Sri Chinmoy marathon team held its first 1000 mile race it was an event that was not just historic but one that opened the eyes, and lifted the spirit of anyone who saw it, or even heard about it.

How shocking. The world was just getting used to the exploding popularity of the the 26 mile marathon and now here was an event of such staggering proportions and magnitude that it nearly seemed impossible to do.  Yet it wasn’t and now that 1000 mile distance has expanded to something even more incredible and even more impossible, 3100 miles.

The true miracle is that for each of the past 18 summers it has continually drawn athletes from around the world to come and take part.   To challenge themselves at something that the human body is simply not capable of doing.  Yet thankfully science does not ever have the last word in self transcendence, or in the divine yearning we all have within us all to reach and strive for our own perfection.

first-lap2

The history of the world is writ large with so many monumental stories of greatness and infamy, of joy and of suffering.  We are all buffeted by the waves of life that swirl around us and in one instant push us down and in the next lift us up.

While at the same time our very existence, and our own personal history most likely the rest of the world will probably never pay much interest in at all.  It is we ourselves who must cherish each and every one of the precious and sacred moments in our lives.

Our eternal task remains simple, never give up on each step we take towards our perfection, whether it be faltering or bold, a tiny speck or a great transcendent leap. That is the only history that we truly need.

The world may not see, or notice, or even care much all what we do with our lives.  But each life is important, not just to the one who lives it, but also to the glowing Supreme source which created it, and now asks, and inspires us all to keep continuing to rise up and keep moving ever towards the beyond.

Last night around 10pm a little piece of history was created when Baladev went into the lead of the race.

night3

Each moment
Is a miracle-experience
In the history of the world.

Sri Chinmoy, My Christmas-New Year-Vacation Aspiration-Prayers, Part 52, Agni Press, 2007

I was at the race last night just as the light was  fading from the sky.

night-camp

Race director Bipin had just dropped of the evening snacks.

night-bipin

For William the conditions became ideal and he took advantage of the approaching cool darkness.

night5

Sarvadhara took the scissors to a pair of her brother’s Sarvagata’s shoes.

night2

This morning Rupantar updated the board.

pre-rupantar

Nidhruvi and Sarah sort out their things for the day.

pre-nidhruvi

Ananda-Lahari taking advantage of some extra minutes.

pre-ananda-lahari

Sarah also cutting up new shoes.

pre-sarah

Ananda-Lahari has gotten some special creams from Slovakia for the runners.

pre-sarvagata

Start of Day Six

staart

This morning Ray got to the start on time.

first-lap-

Ray had a good day yesterday.  I am not sure how many phone calls he took but he mad 53 miles and now has 239.

ray

It was just about a perfect day as it is possible to have in New York at this time of the year.

flower-pranjal

Ananda-Lahari has 272 miles after 5 days.

ananda-lahari2

For William today’s cooler weather is a tremendous break.

william-wide

He had a good day yesterday with 62 miles.  He now has 302 miles.

william4

There will be traffic as usual on the course for all the runners.

william-trafic

Teekshanam is fitting into the race very well.

camp2

He did 60 miles yesterday and has 304 miles

teekshanam2

This morning I notice Nidhruvi running for quite a while with Jayasalini.

flower-jayasalini

They seem to be really enjoying themselves and it is not until after they have done it that I learn they have performed a joke for the Enthusiasm-Awakeners.

jayasalini-and-nidhuvi

“First of all I didn’t know that we could do this.  I just know that sometimes the boys do it.  I was never thinking about it.  So we were running together and she said to me something like, the boys performed.” (Stutisheel and Sopan)

“Then it just appeared to me, we could also perform, but what?  Then this funny joke came to my mind.”  She knew it in German but wasn’t sure it would translate.  She decided that if she told it to Jayasalini and she laughed than they would perform the joke.

“So I told her and she cracked up.  We were laughing and laughing.  So I said let’s perform that.”

Joke:

A woman school teacher asks her students.  Which time is it, when I say that I am beautiful?

The student answers, the past teacher, the past.  (laughs)

“In German it is so funny.  I said to Jayasalini let us split the joke.”  She would say the first part and Jayasalini would have to be very dramatic with the answer.

The Austrian and Russian comedy duo will likely now appear on a regular basis, when scheduling and lap times permit.

Click to Play Interview:

Nidhruvi

She has 304 miles after 5 days.

nidhruvi

Passing through the camp.

flower-nidhruvi

Stutisheel had an impressive and strong day yesterday.  He did 120 laps or 65 miles.  He has 305 miles.

*He asked me to send a special thanks to a dear friend of the race Laura, who sent him a very nice and encouraging email yesterday*

stutisheel-good

It is such a perfect day.

flower-vasu2

Sarah also seems stronger and in more in sync with the race.  She ran her biggest day so far yesterday with 123 laps or 67 miles, a huge and encouraging result.

sarah

Bahula comes every morning and sings with the girls group at about 6:40 every morning.  Nidhruvi told me that she also came to her house last night to give her some medical assistance and was there with her until nearly 2AM and now here she is again giving help to Jayasalini.  There are many true heroes on the sidelines here too.

Jayasalini-bahula

Jayasalini is running consistently now.  She ran 111 laps or 60 miles yesterday.  She has 318 miles.

jayasalini2

She is doing very well.

jayasalini-wide

Sopan is having a good race.

sopan-behind

He talks about yesterday, “Weather can be very difficult in many ways in summer New York. It started with low clouds and lite drizzles and cool temperatures.. After 3-4 pm it shifted to high pressure sunny and much warmer. Immediately felt sleepy and weird headache. Than it was ok… I feel that when we run all day day after day we become more sensitive even thou it is still quite early in the race and most runners look strong.”

He did 113 laps or 62miles.  He has 328 miles.

sopan

Pranjal also had 113 laps yesterday.

flower-pranjal2

For Pranjal this is his 10th summer at the race and he has always completed the distance.  Little if anything bothers him and yet he may be one of the most self disciplined individuals you will ever meet.  Doing his best no matter what is happening in and around him.

“So far so good.”

pranjal7

He had written me a couple of months ago and asked me to correct something that I had posted about him.  I was curious that he should even look back over what was written last year and wondered if he got inspired to look at the pictures and read about the race again.

“I am always excited, even when I am not looking at the website.”

“I am excited about coming here every day of the year.  That is the whole point for me.  Just to be here.  The rest of the year is just preparation for this race.”

pranjal9

He posts a daily video blog about his experiences each day on the course.  Despite all the time and energy involved in doing it he describes as an opportunity to unwind from all the intensity of a very long day.

Click to See Pranjal’s Video Blog:

Pranjal’s Blog

2 days ago on the first humid day he says he was out of energy by 9 o’clock and had to walk.  So that meant he walked for the last 3 hours of the day.  He still managed to complete 114 laps. “It is something that happens at the beginning of the race.  Later in the race it doesn’t happen that often.”  Being tired and sore is just part of life on the loop.   “It wouldn’t be fun if it wasn’t hard.”

pranjal-and-baladev

Each day on his blog he gives short comments about all the other runners.  Ahead of us now he tells me that on the hot day 2 days ago that he struggled with a bit, William walked.  “Which is good.  He didn’t push that much.  In one month it will be much easier for him to run here during the hot days.  He will get used to it.”

“All the runners are good.  We have a strong field, look at Baladev.  He is flying this year here.  Also William is doing really good.  The girls also.  So I think it is going to be a nice race, very interesting.”

He doesn’t recall anything of particular interest that has happened to him over the past 5 days.  “Everything just comes and goes.  I don’t follow it somehow.”

pranjal-sun

His only break in his 18 hour day is his break at 3 each afternoon for 20 or 25 minutes.

“I am having a good time.  I always do.”

Click to Play Interview:

Pranjal

Sarvagata continues to run strong.

sarvagata-and-sister

He ran the most laps again with 124 laps or 68 miles.  There are times when he runs as though he is not in this world at all.

sarvagata2

At one point today Vasu, Sarvagata, and Yuri posed together.  The picture was taken by Savadhara.

Vasu-Sarvagata-yuri

It doesn’t happen too often for there is usually plenty of distance between everybody.

wide-corner

Yuri ran 116 laps yesterday.

flower2

Yuri did 116 laps yesterday 63 miles.  He has 337 miles, 2 more than last year.

yuri3

His friend Voldymyr often comes to the course to help and inspire him but also inspire himself.  He will probably run the race one day soon.

yuri-and-volodymyr

After the picture was taken of Baladev in the lead he continued on and did an additional 9 more miles.  He did 117 laps or 64 miles yesterday for a total of 339. That is 16 more than last year.

baladev2

Vasu had a bit of an off day and did 108 laps or 59 miles.  He leads going into day 6 with 340 miles.

flower-vasu3

A very very excellent athlete.

vasu3

Vasu and Volodymyr

vasu-and-volodymyr

Niharika lives in Finland and has been coming to help at the race for many years now.  Her birthday was a couple of days ago, so it is always a nice experience for her to schedule her visit at this time of year.

She also helped Suprabha most of the years that she competed here.  She has been here for a week and leaves later today.  She started counting laps at 6am so she could get a shift in before leaving later this morning.

This is her working on a mystery foot, and counting runners.

niharika

She reads the prayer of the day written by Sri Chinmoy in 2007.  I suggest she may have been here when it was written.  She suspects that instead she was on her way here on that day instead, coming from England.

She clearly is going to miss being here when she leaves.  “It is a lovely time to be here when the race starts.  Because I like this race.  I love it.”

niharika4

She is very impressed that there are 3 girls running.  “They are really great.  It is amazing because they are really strong girls.”  She feels that they have all prepared in advance.  “To do it you really have to be in good shape, too have good stamina, everything.”

“Being here is transcending and transcending all of the time.”

She says there is no comparison between people running a marathon and what happens here.  “You see them running 2 marathons a day or more.  Than you start to think, what is the limit.  What is the human limit.”

“The mind likes to tell us we have limits but actually we don’t have them.  If you go beyond the mind then we don’t have limits.  But it is a hard lesson, because the mind has been a boss for so long.  So to convince the mind that this no no no no.  This is not the whole truth there is something that is a whole lot more.”

niharika-good

She misses being here when she returns to her home in Finland.  She tries to follow the race as best she can and, “be in touch at least in the inner world.”

Click to hear Prayer and Interview:

 Niharika and prayer

prayer

Enthusiasm-Awakeners

parvati

Click to Play Song:

Parvati

Man’s history
Has countless pages
To give man joy.
God’s History
Has only one page:
Peace,
All-illumining and all-fulfilling.

Sri Chinmoy, Peace-Blossom-Fragrance, Part 6, Agni Press, 1994

flower

3 Comments to “June 20: Making History”

  1. Francesco says:

    Thank you Utpal
    every day you write a great page of Inspiration for my daily life.

    The divine race begins
    Only when all the members
    Of my inner family
    Are ready.

    Sri Chinmoy, 32066 Seventy-Seven Thousand Service-Trees, Part 33, Agni Press, 2003

  2. nirmala says:

    the bird on Ananda Lahari’s shirt is so beautiful
    thank you Utpal for so many good news and pictures

    But even on the outer plane our capacity is constantly expanding. Right now 1,300 miles is our longest race. To run 1,300 miles in 18 days is almost beyond our imagination. We feel that is our ultimate capacity. But previously we felt that 1,000 miles was the limit. Who thought of a 1,300-mile race five years ago? At that time people would have thought I was a crazy man if I had suggested that. But now you see that this crazy man was right because people are doing it. Somebody just has to start. We always have to go ahead because life means progress.

    The inner runner is always trying to inspire the outer runner. First the inner runner says, “Go forward, go forward, go ahead, go ahead!” Then the outer runner says, “How can I go ahead if you do not give me the aspiration and inner cry?” Then the inner runner gives the outer runner the inner cry to do something and to become something good. In this way the inner runner offers inspiration and aspiration to the outer runner.

    Sri Chinmoy, Sri Chinmoy Answers, Part 29, Agni Press, 2001.

  3. Kuladhara says:

    Thank you Utpal! Thank you! Thank you!

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