June 27: An Experience Inside

“I hope much better.”  I had just asked Vasu how he was.

It is the kind of polite question we ask most people when we greet them briefly on the street.  The person responds with some idle pleasantries and then in the usual dance of etiquette, they in turn ask after your well being as well.

When really asked how they are, even your dearest closest friend it is not often going to launch off into some long detailed discussion about what is really happening in their life.  Most often the usual answer is, “oh just fine thank you.”


When a runner here at the 3100 is asked how they are, you know that no matter how they respond it will not even come close to including all the painful details of their morning, or their joyous experiences and revelations from the previous evening. So much is intensely experienced here at every moment by the runners, on so many levels, it is nearly impossible to express even a small portion of that experience.


A year ago on this same day Vasu had nearly 60 more miles than he has right now.  An amount equivalent to about a full day of running.  His problems back then if any, were minute compared to the burden he has had to cope with the past few days.

Days in which getting the minimum distance of 110 laps were out of the question.  In fact on one day he made 85 laps and on the next 98 laps and then yesterday.

Painful, difficult, but o so beautiful yesterday he pushed, struggled and prayed his way back up to 111 laps.


If the person you met on the street were given a real opportunity to explain or complain about themselves, most likely, once you got them started they then just might not ever stop.

Vasu isn’t that kind of person.  He does not complain nor does he feel sorry for himself in any way.  “Everybody goes through these difficulties and problems.”  In fact he is quite happy for everything that has happened to him here.

He feels that whatever happens to him here, no matter if is pain or if it is joy. It is all just the Supreme having an experience inside of him.


Do not think of your present life
As a wasted opportunity.
Think of your present life
As a needed experience,
And think of your future life
As the beginning of God’s new creation
Inside you.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 83, Agni Press, 1983

 Today will be the 13th straight day of running and the fatigued, the worn, and the wonderful runners all make their collective appearance in the camp.


William had a very tough day here at the course.  The consummate athlete that he is finding the New York weather a much tougher adversary to cope with than the mileage.  He has run Badwater where the temperature can go up to 45 C or 116F but there is no humidity.

Yesterday the temperature got maybe up to 27C or 80F but the humidity was somewhere near sauna like at least 90%.  A condition that William has never really had to face in competition, and most definitely never in the Orkney islands north of Scotland.


Dealing with excessive weather conditions was an experience that Yuri was forced to deal with around day 32 to 35 last year.  Never before used to New York conditions he got heat stroke and needed to take an iv to get his fluids back.  But he slowly recovered and managed to finish the race on day 52 last year.

The weather today will be great.  Low humidity and not hot conditions.


Jayasalini seems to be over her rough patch.


Here comes the sun.


Start of Day 13


It should not be too surprising to see just how well Stutisheel is doing here this year.


He has after all here for the 10th time.  Yesterday he managed 124 laps or 168 miles.


But after all just being here for him is, “Real Life.”


Pranjal describing yesterday day 12. “It was humid all morning, but not that hot.  So far I am quite lucky.  I feel okay I have no problems with my muscles.  I feel quite strong.”


“It is very important here to listen to your body. If you know what your body is telling you.  Sometimes you feel pain but you have to know if it is serious or not.”


“Even during the day you can feel that your energy is going up and down.  You have to be careful about that.   You have to eat properly.  You have to eat at the right time and the right amount.  For example if you eat too much it will affect your digestion and then your energy.  Everything you have to know about your body.”

He describes that through experience you begin to learn what is good for you and what is not.


You have to identify pain properly.  Some pains come and go, they are just part of the race.  Pain is always here.


If you are not the early bird who catches the worm you just might end up with something not so tasty.

But at least there is plenty of fiber and no gluten in today’s breakfast.


Sarah has picked up a slightly tastier treat. Also no gluten.


Sarah is just doing so very very well here this year.  She is nearly 60 miles up over last year with 765 and did 118 laps yesterday.


She is fast in the morning and she is fast at night.  She is all the time fast.


Baladev had a good day with 110 laps yesterday.  The previous day he felt tired and completed 91 laps.  He is 43 miles up on last year.




A glass of something left for later or maybe not at all.


Vasu did manage 111 laps yesterday.


When I list all the problems that he has had during the race this year Vasu just laughs. “Big blessings.”  When friends heard he was having some difficulties this year he tells me that many wrote to him to support and encourage him as well.

He just received a bunch of emails moments earlier and is reading them as he runs around the course.


I ask him about a stick on saw him carrying the other day.  “I use it for 2 reasons.  I think that my legs and my arms have some connection.  When I work with my arms it helps my shin and my heels.  I think.”

“And another thing, it helps me to be happy.  I imagine that I am just flying.”  Together we go around the course as he spins the stick like a propeller.  He moves so fast and seemingly so care free that we pass by many other runners.  When we do he grins and invites them to come along with us and fly around and around. “The stick is beautiful.”


Last year he was doing lots of exercises during the day.  This year, “I try and do in my home before the race and then after the race.  Because he is combining running and walking he is making much less laps than before.  The luxury of stopping and stretching he says, “I do not have enough time.  Yesterday I just did my necessary 111 laps.  It was not too easy.”


When he does his exercises at home it can take anywhere from 5 to 20 minutes to complete them.  He also is applying some special Ukrainian cream to his legs which he feels is helping.


The stick he has here is not a special one.  It was one that someone probably made for him by cutting up a broom stick, or something of that width.  He has one at home he says that he paid $15 for.  I joke that he could have picked one up for free in the lumberyard where he works in St.Petersburg.  He says it is used not for martial arts training but very specifically for healing.


Also a new addition is that he is listening to Sri Chinmoy’s music which he is listening to on a mp3 player.  “Yesterday I was flying listening to the music.  I imagined that I was running in the sky.  It was very nice.”

He often sings on the course and I ask him to sing his favorite song.

Never say no, never say no,
O never say,
When God’s Compassion-Eye desires
Your heart to play.

Sri Chinmoy, Silence Speaks, Part 1, Agni Press, 1990


The Prayer of the Day and Interview with Vasu

Click to Play:


Raihana is counting this morning.


Earlier Suhasini who is an old pro when it comes to counting showed Raihanna just how to do it and she very quickly masters it.


I ask Suhasini if the two of them are having fun.  “Yes we are.  The thing with counting is that it is always fun, because you can see the runners personally.”  Plus she says you can actually understand better just how much mileage they are doing in the time that they have here.  “It is great to see them running every day with almost always the same speed.  It is amazing.  It is inspiring.”

She tries to come at least 3 times every week.  “It is my 4th year.”  The first year she says that she only came over to the race when a runner was finishing.  “The second year Karibe taught me how to count.  Since then I have been counting for the race.”


She lives in Bali and finds life here in Queens very dynamic.  “There are so many activities happening every day.  I am so fortunate to be here.”

“This is my first time here,” says Raihana.  “Last year I came by 3 or 4 times to walk around the course.    “I feel very inspired to see the runners.  It is so good to see their faces.  There is something inside of them, so that is the thing I can see in their face.  I feel it.  I feel their enthusiasm and inspiration, from Sri Chinmoy.  I am inspired too.  That is why I decided this year to start counting for them.”

Click to Play Interview:

suhashani and ruhani

Just down the block is the countess Bhadra


Sopan had another good day with 110 laps.


Sopan and Stutisheel performing for Enthusiasm-Awakeners


“My left hip has moved a little backwards weakening my left leg all coming from some lower back shifting. Last year hanging up side down for a few extra minutes fixed the same problem. This made me realize that my old custom orthotics from last year have flattened quite a bit making them useless. Luckily I got a brand new pair … Putting them on made a huge difference.”


“They started pushing the hip and lower back back into place and after hanging up side down tonight for 10 min I hope that it will all be fixed.”

Late this morning he briefly left the course to see a chiropractor.



Jayasalini getting ready for the bright morning sun.


She is learning on her own and also from the pros like Nidhruvi who have been here before.


She has great support as well.  Her 111 lap days coming like clockwork.


It is hard to imagine a better first time experience for this young lady from Moscow.


Yesterday was Nidhruvi’s birthday.


She probably would have liked just a few more laps.  She got 105.


There is no place she would rather be than right here.


No time to sit on the fence now.  Get going!


William knew it wasn’t going to be easy before he came.


He is just so experienced and tells me that no matter what happens he is going to stick it out.


Apparently Scottish oat cakes are scheduled to make an appearance soon.


A very fine person and amazing athlete.


Teekshanam looking more comfortable and stronger each day.


There is a poise and stillness about him when he passes and yet there is great strength.


Just a great new edition to the race.  He did 109 laps and has 717 miles.


Can you actually imagine that when he started this morning he had circled the block 1308 times.


Legs going and going.


Ananda-Lahari never stopping, and always content.


A happy face and a happy man.


Each lap counted.


Ray will probably make 1000 laps of the course later today.


Yuri and Vasu share so much in common.   Brothers in so many ways.



Yuri did 122 laps yesterday.  He has 801 miles, 20 more than last year.


He now has 7 x 70 plus mile days.


What Sarvagata did yesterday was simply astonishing.  He actually arrived late for the start and still managed to complete 134 laps.  His most for any day this year.


His current total of 836 miles is 82 more miles than he had last year.



Click to Play:


Each experience is a beautiful incident
Inside my heart.
Each experience is a powerful reality
Inside my soul.

Sri Chinmoy, Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 41, Agni Press, 1982



6 Comments to “June 27: An Experience Inside”

  1. Ken Ward says:

    Thank you Utpal. The beauty of the runners heart is reflected in your beautiful words and pictures each day. All of us out here reading and watching every single day are so inspired by everyone. The passion of the hearts there is so palpable… keep them beating 110 times a day.

  2. Sarita says:

    Beautiful! Thank you! So many smiles to fierce determination! Onwards and Upwards great warriors!

  3. Purnakama says:

    Good morning!

    Just finished my morning run and I always find that I can run so much better with more determination when the race is on. Gratitude to the runners for spreading their running Light everywhere!


  4. Elmer Carlson says:

    Very inspiring, I look forward to each days photos and posts.
    Thank you for giving all of us out here a link to the wonderful
    experiences that are taking place! Elmer Carlson
    Tacoma , Wa.

  5. Doris says:

    So amazing these runners! When you hear about their difficulties you wish you could do something to help them in some or another way. But they keep inspiring us instead.

    Today I tried and ran on a one mile course a little after two years of only walking. It really helped by identifying with them inwardly and to imagine to run with them. One can only hope that they as well could benefit a little, little bit from doing so.

  6. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal,
    every day a great page of inspiration.
    Thank you.

    God has already planned my future
    In every detail.
    Therefore, for me
    There is nothing to worry about.

    Sri Chinmoy,24481 Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 245, Agni Press, 1998

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