“I had a lot of fun yesterday. I wish all my days could be like that. It wasn’t a struggle at all. The whole day there was no problem with anything.”
Most days the runners struggle just to make their usual laps. Pace and push themselves throughout the 18 hours they have on the course to get just a little bit closer to the 3100 miles. After 35 days it is rare for there to be any surprises other than the kind no runner likes to receive. The bad kind, injuries, sickness, and fatigue.
But yesterday, in what had to be at least a bit of surprise to Sarvagata, he ran more laps in a single day than he had ever done in all of the 4 years he has been competing on the course. He completed 148 laps, which equals 80.68 miles.
When you do something like he did yesterday it is not an obvious thing at all. It is not something that springs up dramatically. At least not at first. It is a long slow process that not even the counters would have been aware of until quite late at night. It is than that his clipboard was obviously getting unusually full.
At some point through the day his fellow runners can probably sense that something great is happening, but most of the time they have to just focus on picking up their feet and putting them down again. Not on Sarvagata who was in the process of doing something quite remarkable.
If there is anything about his marvelous performance yesterday, that will soon become a foot note, to the overall greatness of his overall performance this year. Is that what happened yesterday is a reminder to him, to his fellow runners, and to us, who are trying to make sense of it all. That great things can come happen to all of us as well.
If I had asked him directly how he thought that it was even possible, he probably have answered that it was all due to grace. That is just my word for it, but knowing him and his devotion to the race I am probably not too far wrong at best. But to receive that 148 laps meant that he had to dedicate himself so powerfully and with so much oneness and receptivity with what he had to do, that it was only then that it could even have been possible.
Across the street from the race is Jamaica High school. Back in the 1960’s a young man who had a troubled background was trying to get some direction in his life. The track coach at the time, Larry Ellis saw in a young Bob Beamon a gifted athlete. He suggested that if he worked hard he just might one day make the US Olympic team in the long jump.
In 1962 at age 15 he won the junior Olympics with a distance of 24 ft 1 inch. He said, “It proved to me that I might come through with something worthwhile in my life.” By 1968 the time of the Mexico Olympics he was certainly one of the best jumpers in the world. But in qualifying for the final in Mexico, he nearly didn’t make it. It was only on his last jump in the qualifying round that he managed to make the distance.
Many things have been said about the finals that took place on October 18th. How the wind was perfect, how the altitude aided records, and that all the conditions in the stadium indicated that the 22 year old Queens NY jumper could somehow surpass his personal best of 27ft 4in. And maybe just maybe break the then current world mark of 27 ft 6 in.
Before he took off down the runway, “I felt alone. I could not feel my legs under me I was floating.” Once he took flight he did not come down to earth again until 29 feet 2 and 3/8th inches later. An incredible new world record by 21 and 3/4inches.
Immediately after his jump there is great confusion by the pit. Bob Beamon had no idea at first how well he had done. The optical measuring equipment was incapable of measuring the leap and it took many minutes before it was officially measured and recorded. When he found out what he had done he fell to the ground in shock. Even as you watch it today it is still unbelievable. It took 34 years for it to finally be broken by American Mike Powell. It is still the all time Olympic record.
Bob Beamon would say later, “It was an incredible surprise. As a matter of fact we never thought the record would pass 27ft 10 or 8.4m but I like surprises.”
There is no end to our realization; there is no end to our manifestation. There is always something new to achieve or become.
Those who do not live the life of the heart are like broken records. They keep playing the same ignorance-tune over and over.
But if we are seekers, every day we have to make a new record, sing a new song, discover a new melody. Those in my boat who are consciously aspiring are singing a new song every day.
Sri Chinmoy, Ten Divine Secrets, Agni Press, 1987
In whatever magic it was that happened here yesterday Sarvagata was not alone in achieving good mileage for the day. Nearly everyone had good numbers.
The weather is incredibly cool this morning. The skies overcast.
Rupantar checking the lap sheets and surprised at the numbers.
Ray is going to have an intern from Sports Illustrated magazine with him for most of the day.
Start Day 36
It will most definitely be remembered as the best weather that the race has ever had for running.
The day before yesterday Sarvagata had one of his worst days. “Shinsplints knocked on my door. I said, nice to see you but come tomorrow.”
They obviously did just a little more than knock because a day of just 114 laps is unusual for him. “You know you have to keep the door closed and then stay at the door.” In a practical way he gave himself an easy day and simply did not try and force anything.
He tells me that the starting point, “I was so impressed and inspired by Stutisheel.” Stutisheel has now had 3 days in a row of 129 laps. “It is amazing how he does it. So much calmness, peace, and dignity.”
Using his qualities as an example he was inspired to then move on and get into his own flow and just see what would happen. “I always felt that my adventure was not over.” That despite being here already for 35 days and 2480 miles that some pleasant surprises would still be forthcoming.
He says he doesn’t see the finish, at least not yet. “I am still hoping for more joy and more fun. I am open. I feel good. My physical condition is perfect.”
“I have so much support. From anything, any where, and anybody.”
We talk about his renewed interest in experiencing happiness while running. “If you remember my first race I was pretty serious. It helped a lot to be concentrated then. But then I think there comes a time when you can get the capacity to be in both worlds.”
“I am saying that you don’t have to go to the Himalayan caves.”
“I am very happy to experience Sri Chinmoy’s theory.”
At this moment Stutisheel is directly in front and so I run up to tell him what Sarvagata had just said about him.
“Thank you Sarvagata.”
I ask him if he can understand from a runners perspective what Sarvagata did here yesterday with his 148 laps. “Yes and no.”
“Yes, from the physical point of view it is quite intense.”
“No….it is not hard to do when you catch the flow. You are just flowing. Sarvagata is one of those spontaneous guys. He could one day be totally out of the mainstream. Walking all day. Suffering, getting only 113 laps. Then next day, right from the beginning. Tremendous flow and running like the wind, and making 148 laps.”
“So when you are in the flow, nothing is difficult. I also admire his receptivity and his capacity. He is able to receive an inner force and energy. That is marvelous.”
Click to Play Interview:
Later in the morning the sun comes out.
Sarah had a good day yesterday.
She did 111 laps
She starts the day with 2162 miles. Less than 1000 miles more to go.
When she complete 400 more miles she will surpass her total from last year.
Lots of counting help today.
Jayasalini passing through.
Jayasalini had 110 laps yesterday.
She has 2121 miles starting this morning and is just 40 miles behind Sarah. Which probably helps them both.
Parts of team Jayasalini
The goal starting to appear just a little closer each day for her.
I bet you can’t be having as much fun as I am having.
Nidhruvi had her first 110 lap day in more than 2 weeks yesterday.
She quite frequently runs with Jayasalini
Hopefully she can keep it up. She has 2079 miles and 17 more days to get the rest.
It is possible.
I had planned to sit on my tail all weekend, but no, no. My wife had me fixing up the nest all weekend. So I guess I am glad to be back at the office.
Teri offering some healing hands before she heads back to Baltimore.
Hridayinee has been inspired to write a poem about the race.
Click to Play:
Yuri had his best day in a week.
He did 120 laps yesterday.
He has 2330 miles this morning.
Pranjal is puzzled at why on a good day, 2 days ago, most of the runners had a hard day.
“The weather is never the main reason why people are slow. All the mileage takes it’s toll and you lose all your energy. Yesterday that was my case I was slower than usual. Today is better.” He will finish the day with 118 laps. 2 more than the previous day.
He talks about just how tired he gets and how he sometimes start seeing things that aren’t there.
Once when I was running a six-day race in the early hours of the morning I was coming into the camp. I thought something was coming at me from the side. Only when I got closer did I realize it was just a fire hydrant.”
“They are funny things but they can show you just how intense this race is.”
“It is really hard to comprehend how hard this race really is.” He says that when he talks to first timers after it is all over they usually say it is much tougher than they thought it was going to be.”
“These are the kind of things your mind is playing with you.”
Light and delight.
Could you please pass the salt.
Just a minute….. Where is the cookie?
Near and far.
Vasu had 119 laps yesterday.
He has 2253 miles as of this morning.
Time is getting riper.
William has another good day of 121 laps.
He wants to maintain this higher pace just until he gets back on track. His current pace is 59.21 miles per day.
His table is neat and organized.
Alan always there and ready when he needs to be.
Gets on the phone today to tell Tarit he can have the job back…..(Joke)
They work so well together.
And Alan is following William’s wife Elizabeth’s instructions to the letter
Engaging in Aimless unproductive activity. Such activity itself. Used in Derbyshire to tell off ones fellow workers when they are not being helpful.
The season come and gone for some flowers.
Baladev had a very good day yesterday with 109 laps.
It is his best day in a week. He has 2019 miles.
Teekshanam had a better day yesterday than he did the day before.
He now has 1894 miles.
Sopan had a better day as well.
“Yesterday I had a very difficult day I am not sure why it was just difficult. Today most of the day felt easy going even thou I still had to walk my usual slow pace…”
“I started worrying about it because it is not supposed to be easy at the race and soon enough in the late evening it became more difficult and in a way I enjoyed it because when it gets difficult it also becomes inwardly more rewarding. I think that I have developed this mentality as a way to accept my difficult race and turn it into a positively rewarding inner experience.”
“I am often having nice conversations with Ananda-Lahari… Often we have the same speed.
Today we talked, that even though all runners we look like they are going around kind of easy. All of us, even without injuries every now and then go through tough times…”
“They are part of the race and without them we wouldn’t make inner progress and finishing the race wouldn’t be so significant. I told Ananda-Lahari about my exercise for patience and perseverance…”
“I go around at a slow pace which doesn’t push my injury but despite that every 2-3 hours or whenever I feel I need to I stop by the course by the fence on the grass and make my exercises which make me able to keep going relieving pressure from my back, hips and legs. I do this all day long and then again continue step by step moving forward…”
“Slow walking also requires a lot of patience as part of the exercise especially if it is 16 hours a day week after week… You REALLY need a calm, surrendered, relaxed, positive, focused, patient, determined to move the weakened legs forward mind able to deal at the same time with hip/leg discomfort as part of the injury plus tiredness and I will skip heat because it hasn’t been really hot this summer…”
“Oh yes and the mind should be constantly aware of supplementing the body’s nutrition and injury needs. As you probably already think this is not an easy exercise but YES it is effective and it is guaranteed IT WORKS! “
Ananda-Lahari has 1627 miles.
The sun has come out.
Have I told you just how much I like you?
Eliot Chester, the intern from Sports Illustrated was at Ray’s door this morning waiting for him. He has been at his side recording everything by the time I left the course at noon.”
I ask him if he is going to stay with Ray on the course until midnight. “I could probably stay with him all the way but I won’t.”
I ask Ray to tell me the most important thing he has said to Eliot in the past 6 hours.
“Get out of the way you are on my tangent line.”
Eliot suggests that it was the first thing he said to him this morning.
“Either you are Eliot Chester or I am about to get assassinated.”
I ask Eliot if he has figured out everything yet. “I don’t think that is something I can presume to do in 6 hours. I have a sense in a basic way. That it is a lot of people going around for a long time, and these are incredible people.”
I ask him what he thinks of Ray…..”He is one of a kind.”
Click to Play Interview:
Mallikarjun and the Prayer of the Day
Click to Play:
Song of the Day
Click to Play:
It is never too late to seek newness.
It is never too late to achieve fulness.
What we need are
The heart’s eagerness-tears
And the mind’s enthusiasm-smiles.
Sri Chinmoy, I Am My Life’s God-Hunger-Heart, Part 2, Agni Press, 1994