July 12: Such A Gift

“I think he is highly motivated by knowing how many people are inspired by him taking on this, really unimaginable task.  This event is something that people can’t understand.  There is no way to even mentally imagine it.”…..Casey friend of Ray

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“People can imagine a 100 miles if they try hard.  Other runners can at least.  3100 miles…….there is just no way.”

“Ray has done occasional posts about his experience here and I know he feels just as inspired and pushed by those people who are following him and encouraging him and are with him in spirit.”

“I know he wants this, and he is learning so much about himself here.”

There is a constant flow of stories and inspiration and experiences that moves and emanates from this little block and then out into the world.  Each day, in so many ways each of the runners has something powerful happen to them.  Whether it be delight or pain. no matter the experience it all then shapes and reforms the very essence of their lives.  Pictures, blogs, and text can only capture a few drops at best of this ever expanding sea of Transcendence.

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There is an image I have of swimming in a vast deep ocean.  One in which you cannot possibly grasp the beauty of its immensity and then be told that it has just got even vaster and more beautiful.  Spending time with Casey this morning, and having her share some of her heart felt experiences here was just like that.

Casey has her brother to thank, if you call it that, for having the name Casey instead of Katherine.

On the other hand, from her friend Ray Krolewicz she has just received something even more precious and significant than a name change.  By being inspired by him, and coming up from her home in North Carolina to this little oasis in Queens to visit him at the race, she has suddenly found herself smack dab in the middle of the world of self transcendence.

casey

It started who knows exactly when.  But from the time she arrived on the course late in the afternoon yesterday.  She then proceeded to walk with Ray around the block for the next 5 hours, something happened.

“I think watching all these people so dedicated to one task.  With so much focus and enduring so much pain and fatigue and low moments.  Is a huge thing.  For me seeing them day after day conquer themselves.  Conquer the self doubt, and with joy, and happiness, and kindness towards each other.  And kindness towards strangers who just show up.”

“That is an amazing thing. That is inspiring.  It is such a gift to be able to be here and see it.  I am so honored that you have let me come.”

ckg-and-ray

Gift of sight:

Universal beauty.

Gift of night:

Universal peace.

Gift of humanity:

Universal sorrow.

Gift of divinity:

Universal smile.

Sri Chinmoy, Three Hundred Sixty-Five Father’s Day Prayers, Agni Press, 1974

In just a couple of laps William will be the next runner to make it to the half way mark.  But the surprising performance yesterday has to be that of Vasu who did 130 laps.  The most he has done since day 2 of the race.

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The weary ones arrive.

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Jayasalini and Nidhruvi arrive and how can you tell that each ran 60 and 57 miles yesterday.

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The weather is a story unto itself.  The conditions have never been better than they have been this year.

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Vasu had a bicycle problem so is late for the start this morning.

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Sarah wanted me to help her thank Bigalita for her gift of chocolate.

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Tarit has been asked to step in as the official starter as Rupantar has to drive over and pick up Vasu.

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Start Day 28

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There is both an obvious and subtle beauty here.  Some parts so easy to see and enjoy.  But the most significant aspects are what we don’t actually see but that which we identify with from the realm within us.

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You will always see great strength here.

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But how do you describe or understand at all what Sarvagata did yesterday with another day of 130 laps

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The pictures can’t hide but they can’t show everything as well.

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Just how much what he does is also part of what his sister Sarvadhara does each day beside him.

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He is 140 miles ahead of his pace last year.  He is also 40 miles ahead of race leader Ashprihanal at this point last year.

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So beautiful to watch what he is so powerfully doing

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Somehow looking easy, which it isn’t.

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Yuri did 123 laps yesterday.

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Yuri has 1806 miles and is 102 miles ahead of last year.

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The weather has been so great that the runners have needed much less of this.

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Yesterday he says he had a good day, but the last hour was tough.  “I was really tired and I had to fight until the end.”

Pranjal says that Yuri is the runner he sees the least.  He says they move at a similar pace so rarely catchup and pass one another.

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“I am starting slowly, very slowly to loose the strength in my legs.  This is a process that usually stats after the first half of the race.  I don’t actually see it or feel it in the miles.  But more how I feel it when running.  Usually I see in the morning that I am more tired.  It is actually not that bad.”

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  “I just feel that I have less strength than I used to have.  Otherwise it is okay.  It is a process that goes slowly.  And my legs will feel more heavy.”

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Yes, yes, I know I am a good dog.  But am I a Great Dog?

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Vasu had such a great day yesterday with his 130 laps.

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He now has 1723 miles.

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But his new experiences this year are not necessarily easy ones.

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Every runner can use some off course massage and adjustment.

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The legs need to work all the time.

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More important is the support and love of friends.

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And just how the little things, like a toy elephant can also mean so much.

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Tinier that than the tiniest

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Stutisheel has passed this same spot already 3100 times so far this year.

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He did 122 laps yesterday and starts the day with 1703

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Still loves to be here.

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Still doing his very best.

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I know the website said that this was a great hotel room and at a great price and a great location for New York.  But come on.  You have to be kidding.

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Sarah had 113 laps yesterday.

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She starts day 28 with 1681 miles.

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In 1998 Suprabha set the women’s world mark at 49 days and 14 hours.

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Suprabha was running at an average pace of 62.494 miles a day. Sarah has an average speed this year of 62.27 miles per day.

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Yes, they call us twins all the time, but we are actually not related

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Vajra, who there is nobody like him out there anywhere.

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Jaysalini always consistent had 110 laps.  She has 1640 miles.

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Into the light and then some.

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But she is following a formula as best she can and one that changes.

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A plan that is not always glamorous.

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A path so far from easy and yet still she must follow it, come what may.

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Getting encouragement from so many and yet also encouraging and inspiring so many others by what she does.

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Simply brighter than the brightest.

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No.  I did not see the cookie, and I definitely did not eat the cookie.

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Heh, Who took my cookie.  It was right here a minute ago.

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That’s what people always say, the dog did it.  Well I am not going to put up with.  I am going home.  What is the big deal about a cookie any way.

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Teekshanam had his first tough day in weeks.

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He did 96 laps yesterday and yet he has 1626 miles.

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He does some slow laps with Sopan today and have some fun along the way.

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Teekshanam is having a very good race.

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Sopan has found new purpose and reason for being here.

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“This year the race became for me more an inner experience I am going through rather than running race with a goal and daily mileage…

Because I am able to walk only with a slow pace since very early in the race and this may not change to the end due to the nature of the problem. In the meaning of my name given to me by Sri Chinmoy and in the song Sri Chinmoy composed for me a few years ago there is “very fast” and “exceedingly fast moving”….

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“So I am wondering what the significance of this contrast is… I am trying to meditate on it. My name and song I received after completing this very race… so there has to be a connection. Maybe the inner progress is very fast by going through this slow walking experience…. I certainly have a strong inner feeling.”

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Ola, who is writing for a Norwegian paper is spending his last day at the race.  He did so many laps since yesterday morning he has gotten his own blister

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Nidhruvi did 105 laps yesterday.

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Her 1605 miles puts her 2 miles ahead of last year.

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She is a consummate runner.

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Another great lady here today is having her 89th birthday.

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It is the 2 mile race this morning and Rupantar leaves around some not so subtle  hints for potential counters.

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Kumar, who has run the 10 day race has run from his home in Kissena park.  He came in second and will run home again.  He would like to be running the race himself.

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The mix of growing and moving.

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Baladev did 98 laps yesterday.

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He has 1579 miles.  Which is 63 more miles than last year at this time.

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Ananda-Lahari had 84 laps and has 1280 miles.

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William had a good day with 112 laps yesterday.

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William was given a brief interview this morning by the cameraman from the Norwegian paper.

Why are you running?

I wanted to celebrate 20 years of ultra distance running.  It is also my 60th year of life.  So I wanted to do something different.  That is why I came  here.”

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Why ultra running?

I was quite happy as a marathon runner before 1994.  But then I had a conversation on the phone with Tarit.  I told him that I wasn’t exhausted at the finish of the marathon.  I was a pretty good standard marathon runner.  I was doing about 2:38, 2:39.  He suggested that I might be an ultra runner.  I said, what do they do?”

“He suggested I run in the Scottish championship the next year.  I said, how long is it?  He said 100km.”

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Do you get addicted to it?

I suppose you do in a way.  Especially if you are successful at it.  You like doing it you enjoy it.  I enjoyed the lifestyle that went with it.  There is a whole package you can’t separate it.  It becomes a way of life and a way of thinking.  It is an end in itself.  I always tell people that this isn’t a race.  It is a way of life this race.”

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It seems like you don’t compete with other people.  That you compete with yourself.

Very much so.  I think the longer the ultra marathons are, the more that is true.  This one in particular.  I hardly look at the results.  Because it doesn’t really mean anything at all.  all you can really do is your own performance and your own distances.  To be honest even in the shorter ultra marathons.  It is only the last part of the race that is a competition.  In this race hardly at all.

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The moment that William passed half way was caught in real time by Hridayinee

Somebody called this the Mount Everest of  Ultra races.

That is right.  Definitely.  I agree completely.  This is the Mount Everest of distance racing.

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Ray of course shares accommodation with William.  All he has to do is continue going straight and cross at the light and he would be home.  He says though he spent the night with his Aunt who lives in Brooklyn.

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He says William is a very competent runner.  He talks about a cross the years race in which he was in a stiff competition with another runner.  “They were litteraly hammering each other.  There was a battle for first and second, and unless you weren’t paying attention you would have missed his battle for third and fourth.

“He dug deep.  Ed ended up getting slightly more mileage.  I think there race was as close as the 4 miles between Yannis Kouros and the 2nd place runner.”

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“In his hay day William was a ferocious runner, much faster than Ed.  Any of these long races youth will tell out sometimes. I watched him.  I saw how tough he was.”

With the cooler weather he thinks William is going to shine.  “He is still a number of miles behind.  If he can do 3 miles over a day, for all 24 days left whatever.  But he may have a day when he is 8 over.  If it gets cold and people are not used to it. You might see him crank out a 70 mile day.  You might see him be a day leader.  He is that kind of guy.”

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“I was a bad influence.  I started taking afternoon naps in the heat of the day.  The difference is that he takes a nap and then comes out and starts roaring though the evening.”

“Very smart man.  He had great help with both Tim and Tarit.  Those aren’t even his number one guys.  When Allan gets here.  Allan is going to do whatever it takes to get him over the top.”

Click to Play Interview:

Ray on William

“Ray is a tremendous friend and Ray has done tremendous things in his life with his running and been an incredible mentor for me.”

“I met him at my first 24 hour race 7 years ago.  Those are easy for him.  For me they are still a challenge just to get through, and he has always been very encouraging and inspiring to everyone.  Generous with everyone.”

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“I wanted to attempt my first 100 miler this year.  He wanted to help motivate me to get through that.  And I know he had talked about doing this.  It was the first time when talking to him that he was going to take on something that he wasn’t sure about.  He did not know that he could finish.  I could relate to that.  There is nothing about Ray’s running that I could relate to.  Not the speed, not the distances.  Not the winning.  None of it.”

“But being unsure of something, and willing to stick your neck out there, and go for it.  Especially know just how many people are watching.  How many people know him, and are tracking him, and inspired by him.”

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“At home I have a half mile loop around my neighborhood.  I think, come on Ray, it is a half mile loop, what are you doing?  Then you get here and it is hour after hour after hour.  All day long.  To get to something.”

Click to Play Interview:

Casey

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Hriadayinee recites the Prayer of the Day

Click to Play:

Prayer

Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Song of the Day

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Click to Play:

parvati

The gift of my outer life
To my inner life
Is my constantly soulful
Service.
The gift of my inner life
To my outer life
Is my sleeplessly fruitful
Love.

Sri Chinmoy, My Fifty Gratitude-Summers, Agni Press, 1981

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2 Comments to “July 12: Such A Gift”

  1. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    than you.

    Courageously surmount each obstacle
    On your spiritual journey,
    And continue to walk, march and run
    Along the sunlit path.

    Sri Chinmoy,9224 Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 93, Agni Press, 1983

  2. Manoshri says:

    I like the cookie joke!

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