“In this race the weather is everything. This morning was one of the best days we have had, with low humidity and absolutely everyone is flying around the course. This is the 26th day of the race and we have had only 2 hot days and I wouldn’t even say they were hot. I wouldn’t classify them as really hot since we haven’t reached 100. Which we consider really hot weather.”
“We still have a long way to go but now is the time to really get some miles in. Right now you can store some miles up and when the real hot weather comes you can back off. And everyone seems to be doing that.”
This was a little comment that Rupantar, the race director made this morning on the fly.
Rupantar has been the Marathon team’s director for a long time. He is here already at the course before the sun has peeped over the horizon and long before any of the runners have even pried their aching slumbering bones from bed. He along with Vajra and Misha gets the camp ready. When that is done he then he jumps into his car, which will now have to pass for a taxi and pick up the 3 girls and Stutisheel. The rest of the time it performs the unqualified yet valiant service of a delivery van. Something the Toyota car company would not have thought possible.
Then as the dwindling minutes gradually evaporate he picks up laundry, unloads water and starts making a list of shopping to do for the day. And yes, check the counting book to see if anyone is going to show up to count laps. Then with just a little less than 2 minutes before 6am, he cries out the same thing in the same pitch as he does every day. “Everybody to the start. We are starting on time.” Said in just the way your mother probably spoke to you when she woke you up to go to school.
For the last 26 days and 18 years he has done this same job. The absolute necessary skills go well beyond your imagination and probably the capacity of most CEO’s as well. For there is before him a rolling sea of endless tasks. All that must be done like clockwork each day. Also let us not forget the things that suddenly rise up like storm clouds. Then there is just the little bits and pieces.
Which means he always has to be positive, and find a way to fix broken things and broken hopes. There is always movement, and in the endless dance of life here there is simply no time for worrying or doubt or indecision. It requires Rupantar to always be enthusiastic, optimistic, and encouraging. Abilities that don’t come too often by themselves and most definitely not in the extraordinary collection that he seems to have.
The tide of the race is just so powerful that Rupantar, like all who are part of this race can’t stick in their heels in the sand for long if ever. The fast flowing movement of Self Transcendence simply does not allow it. His sub story if you will, along with those of the other race directors is amazing. Just out of view of the glaring spotlight that shines upon the 14 runners, but at the same time facilitating the miracle of Self Transcendence that all the world can see and be inspired by.
He says, “Self Transcendence is eternal. You mention the word and there is no end to it. This race is a manifestation of that, because something you achieve today becomes your starting point tomorrow. You achieve something and say, O that is great, but then the next day you have to go beyond that. That is what this race does. You run 70 miles in one day and for most people that is a week’s worth. But in this race that is just the starting point for tomorrow. Every day they come out here they have to go beyond themselves.
“Everyone runs within themselves. It is all the capacity that each runner has and tries to manifest it during the race. Everything is kind of exhilarated. You have all kinds of difficulties but you have to find the solution for them.”
The runners, all 14 of them are the the real story here each summer. They are the living breathing glowing embodiment of self transcendence. But Rupantar, and all the many others who work and devote themselves to this event are also most precious players. Who if they did not all devote themselves to this glowing vision of perfection as they so willing do, than there would just be an empty sidewalk here.
Rupantar: Is physical fitness absolutely necessary for progress?
Sri Chinmoy: Some of the spiritual Masters of the hoary past did not believe in physical fitness. But on our path physical fitness is of paramount importance; it is an absolute necessity.
The physical does not operate alone. The body, vital, mind, heart and soul go together. Let us say you are walking or running soulfully. Each time you draw in a breath you feel freshness and newness. At the same time, your soul is dreaming a new vision and your heart is also participating, watching to see if somebody is in front of you or just behind you. And the vital is full of enthusiasm. So you can see how physical exercise done in a soulful frame of mind can help the whole being.
*click link to read the rest of the answer*
Sri Chinmoy, You Are Your Life’s Progress-Joy-Drum, Agni Press, 1993
As you look at the numbers keep in mind that by the end of the day the race itself will be at the half way point.
One of the glorious jobs ob being race director.
William had a great day yesterday and the weather has been extremely kind to him.
Karabi setting up the counting tables.
Hridayinee has arrived with gifts for the girls.
Little things that make the start of a long hard day just a bit easier
William posing with shoes??
Ray showing up on time???
Start of Day 26
It is a Rupantar says a perfect morning to run
Last night this unusual but perhaps not unexpected scene unfolded when Ray made 1000 miles and then for good measure did a mile more.
Ray says he composed a poem last night after accomplishing this. “When I perused it a slightly better state of mind this morning. I asked myself the same question that my former Latin teacher asked me after I shared some poetry with her. I could hear her voice, as I looked at it. ….Ray…..Where you drunk when you wrote this?
“So then, with complete clarity of thought I then completed a free verse piece of work for the person who worked on my feet a couple of days ago and who got me to the point where I can continue to go around at all. She is departing today after many many days of helping myself and the other runners.”
“I had hoped to feel slightly better today. I do feel somewhat better. I hope I can wake up as the sun comes up.”
He is enjoying not just his 1000 miles this morning but also the singing of the birds and in particular the Enthusiasm Awakeners. As he looks at the second half of the race he is not certain of what will happen next but notices that his daily average is now around 40.4 miles a day. “There is something symmetrical about that. As I start the day.”
“Now I am not up to the task of running 50.627 miles a day. But if I can keep the 40 and maybe inch it up. Then maybe my second 1000 miles will be a minute or two faster and I will feel like I have accomplished something. Who knows?
Litteraly every sidewalk line is a victory. I am going to continue enjoying and continue this fellowship of this entire group. The runners, the time keepers, the food preparers, and everybody I come across.”
Click to Play Interview:
At one point Ray meets Nick from the parks department who is putting up a new sign. He is just amazed at what this 59 year old man is doing.
The sun will come out soon.
Early morning traffic on the Grand Central.
Ananda-Lahari doing his very best.
Things slowly becoming clearer as time passes.
Sopan remains positive as finds his way through his difficulties.
He has been working on some blisters. “Today it is much better and hopefully gone very soon. To give you an idea bloody blisters can take 2 or more weeks to heal with average treatment. ”
William had another good day.
He did 114 laps yesterday and starts the day with 1422 miles.
He has though in front of him a great task. One that allows no margin for error whatsoever. He has to grab back a few miles every day.
Nature taking its course.
Baladev, also now has the same task as Ray.
Nidhruvi is 8 miles ahead of last year. She has 1488 miles
She did 100 laps yesterday.
She and Jayasalini work on performing a skit.
It is a big hit.
Click to Play:
Now you may call this just a crumb. But I call it Breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
Teekshanam will have an exciting day.
He ran 112 laps yesterday, and starts the day with 1510 miles.
So late this afternoon he gets to join the others who have gone half way.
Jayasalini started the day with 1520 miles.
She ran 111 laps yesterday.
Her is a story that you simply have to see to believe.
So she also passed the momentous half way point today. Celebrating with her dedicated crew.
Many more miles and stories to come.
Okay, this is not a problem. It can be fixed. Just call your truck insurance and they will sort it all out.
Sarah had another good day
She did 112 laps yesterday.
She starts the day with 1558 miles.
She is 227 miles ahead of last year.
Now I am confused. Was I supposed to turn left at 164 st or turn right at 168 st.?
Larisa sings today
Click to Play:
Just down the block.
Stutisheel came back and had an amazing day yesterday.
He did 122 laps. Almost double from the previous day.
He knows where he is going and what he has to do.
He started the day with 1584 miles.
Click to Hear Play:
His patience, experience and strength clearly visible.
The rain came late, after the runners left the course.
Vasu has just recited the daily prayer in which describing God is an impossible task. I suggest that describing the race is also not easy. “But it is easier than describing God.”
He did 112 laps yesterday and finished with 1584 for the day. Earlier he has passed half way and I ask if he was happy with that. “Yest but my goal is 3100 and to finish this race.”
“I have had many new experiences. I think every year running around here brings us new experiences. No matter how many times you run this race. Because each time you transcend yourself and make more perfection.”
“I like mid day. I feel I can run a little bit faster then. But all day is good. I have different experiences during the day.”
This morning he says that he started with some problems. But after Vajra worked on him he could move a little faster.
He says that anytime he gets a massage he knows that he is loosing some time and so tries and run a little faster afterwards.
A friend from Moscow came he says and brought him many gifts and lots of encouraging news.
He tells me how he spoke earlier in the year about this race to some kids in an orphanage in a more northern part of Russia. “They gave to us so much joy and happiness.”
The kids also gave a toy elephant to a friend who in turn gave it to him. “This elephant will help you finish the race.”
We then run up behind his friends Volodymyr and Yuri.
Click to Play Interview:
He reads from a book of Sri Chinmoy’s poems.
Vajra who does everything.
Sometimes Pranjal says he doesn’t even know what day of the week it is.
He did 120 laps yesterday and has 1643 miles. He is 52 miles ahead of last year.
“If the weather stays like this it will be pretty good.”
He tells a story about Ananda-lahari. He was walking ahead of me. Then I saw him make a fast steps to one side and he seemed to step on something. When I got to that spot I couldn’t see anything. I was thinking that he was stepping on a bug or something. When I caught up with him and asked him what he was chasing back there. I wasn’t chasing anything. I just fell asleep.”
“This is also what is happening here. You can fall asleep while you are running. It happens to me every morning. Every morning is torture for me. This morning wasn’t so bad.”
“The thing is are that my legs are okay. It just feels as though my head has left my body.”
Near and far
I thought I was going to get a better seat to watch the game but it was free. I can’t complain.
Yuri had a good day of 121 laps.
Not always clear sailing.
He has 1671 miles.
He is nearly 100 miles ahead of last year.
You never know who will come and listen to the Enthusiasm Awakeners.
Sometimes I am there to catch it.
What Sarvagata is doing is not easy to show and share.
His face always changing.
He did 122 laps yesterday and has 1752 miles. 123 more than last year
Much more to see and become.
Vasu reads the prayer of the day.
Click to Play:
Song of the Day
Click to Play:
Perfection is Eternity’s