July 21: Champions All

If this picture were to stand alone by itself I have no idea what the caption would read to accompany it.  For a photographer to see 3 smiling runners coming up the course towards you is a golden opportunity.  But as a fan of the race, there is a significance to this particular moment for me that just a couple of words cannot express.

3-girls3

It may be my age, my gender, and my own background as a runner but I am truly inspired by this scene as it played out in front of me this morning.

Just in my lifetime women could not run the Boston Marathon or was there any long races for them in the Olympic games.  For 13 years this race saw just one exceptional woman running in it, and now there are 3 remarkable female athletes. Who between them, as of 36 days of running, have completed 6542 miles.

In the great roulette that is the race there are moments, when despite whatever speed you are running you will most certainly have every runner in the race on your shoulder at least for a moment.  If you are running at about the same speed it might not happen very often at all, or it could go on for laps and laps.

Or in this case the 3 girls, at least for this stretch have lined up perfectly. At the same time they are celebrating what they are doing, who they are, and most definitely what this experience is enabling each to become within. It was their choice at this moment to truly share the road and the fellowship of the race, and maybe by noticing that there was a camera in front of them, share it with the world.

3-girls5

The truth about the statistics is that these 3 girls are not that far apart when it comes to mileage and as of this morning out of the 14 runners they are in 6th, 7th, and 8th place.  What I enjoyed about seeing them run like this was just how happy they all are.

If there is any secret to success to achieving your best here in this the most difficult sporting event in the world then being happy has to be one of the simplest remedies.  Not just to ease the hard times but also to ensure that each step takes you that much closer to the higher goal beyond.  Where self transcendence is not reached by tears and pain alone but by the precious gift of a true heart’s cry and a soul’s divine smile.

One of the pioneers of Women’s sports was Fanny Blankers-Koen.  A Dutch runner who despite being 30 years old and a mother as well, wanted to compete in the Olympic games in London in 1948.  It was in 1938 that she set her first world record, with a time of 11 seconds in the 100 meters.  Because of the war she thus missed 2 opportunities to compete in the Olympics.   So her wish to compete in 1948 was a dream come true.

Of her excellence in competition and how it inspired so many, she once said: “But times were harsh and people were glad of the opportunity to celebrate anything. It made me proud to know I have been able to bring joy into peoples lives.”

Sri-Chinmoy-Alisson-Roe

Allison Roe, Allison!
O lightning wonder-speed,
O soaring energy-light!
You are your dauntless soul.
In you, a fount of delight.
New York sings Auckland’s Victory-Song.
O champion of champions,
New Zealand’s thunder-gong!
[Allison Roe of New Zealand was the 1981 winner of the Boston and New York City Marathons. In the NYC Marathon, she set a new world record of 2:25:29.]

As Rupantar takes his morning video the board it reveals mostly good news.  Certainly Williams march back into contention is amazing and Nidhruvi is also able to maintain her 110 lap days.  The biggest total yesterday was Vasu with 129 laps.

pre-board

William has to be feeling great as he arrives this morning.

pre-william

Another day of gorgeous weather..

pre-clock

All the excitement of life in the village.  Inhabited by hyper mobile travelers on life’s road.

pre-camp

Counters are ready.

pre-counters

Start Day 37

start

It is my favorite kind of morning.  The sun reaching out and gradually awakening the sleeping world.

flower-sun2

 

It is now a month since the summer solstice and days are getting shorter.

course-wide2

Yesterday some problems started with Sarvagata.  He managed to make 117 laps.

flower-sarvagata

He accepts as best he can this experience.  That will last who knows how long.  Despite whatever pain he feels he still made 64 miles with it.

sarvagata2

If there is any runner better equipped to be tested by adversity I don’t know who it is.  He has such strength and determination.

sarvagata5

Yuri shows no evidence of having any problems at all this year.

flower3

He had another day of 120 laps

yuri-silouhete

He manages his time so well.  Never wasted time.

yuri2

Never distracted by the outer world.  Only focused on what he has to do.

yuri-and

Vasu running a perfect race.

camp-wide-yuri

Pranjal is always so impressive.

flower-3

He did 119 laps yesterday.

pranjal-silouhete

He has 2348 miles and is 81 miles ahead of last year.

pranjal-good

It is hard to imagine just hard it must be to move a man his size around this block already 4280 times this summer alone.  Not counting the 9 other years he has been here.

flower-legs

Vasu had a really great day yesterday with 129 laps.

flower-vasu

His mileage is now 2324.  He is now just 10 miles behind his pace from last year.

vasu2

Volodymyr a good friend.

vasu-and-volodymyr

With or without his stick he is doing well.

flower-vasu2

The board changing

camp-board

 

Look I never meant to suggest you were putting on weight.  Your all feathers.  If you want to see a real fatso check out that pigeon back there.

flower-2-birds

O yeah the little guys always pick on the pigeon.  I just have big bones that is all.

flower-bird2

I wish I had gotten the easy open kind.

flower-bird

Sometimes there is no place to hide.

flower-stutisheel

Stutisheel is having a magnificent race.  He did 120 laps and is now 800 miles from the finish line.  Strange how that many miles can sound close.

stutisheel3

There are numbers with Sarah that are just great.

camp-wide-sarah

She did 110 laps again and now has 2223 miles so far.

flower-sarah

Which is exactly 400 miles further than last year this time.

sarah-good

Because a little earlier she had been running with the 2 other girls I asked her to speak about them.  She tells me how Nidhruvi had inspired her so much many years ago.  Before she had ever even seriously taken up the sport.

As for Jayasalini, “She has such a future ahead of her in this race.”

sarah

“I was talking to a friend in Australia saying how this used to be a men’s only kind of club, except for Suprabha of course.  I think they’re very tolerant to let the girls come in.  It is like the sisters suddenly wanting to play the game as well.” (laughs)

“They are very nice.  All the guys are very respectful.”

sarah4

“I don’t look at people by gender.  I generally get along with the guys just as well.  I kind of like talking more adventure, and guys things actually.  Then I do about traditional girly things.”

“I think there was just a different energy.  I think it is really good that they’re both boys and girls here.  Is like the sun and the moon.  It is likely bring different things to the race.  Different emotions. Yeah.”

sarah-jayasalini

We are gradually overtaking Jayasalini. “She has such a poise.  Physically she is suffering quite a bit.  She has had a lot of foot injuries, and you can never tell.  Every single day she is the same.  I have to ask her sometime.  Are you injured? And she says yes.  But she looks so calm every single day.  This is the Russian sort of strength I think.  Just suck it up and get on with the job.”

Click to Play Interview:

Sarah

Jayasalini did 109 laps yesterday

flower-jayasalini

I find Nidhruvi and Jayasalini running and singing together.  As they approach the Enthusiasm Awakeners they stop momentarily their own singing and then as they pass and now pick up the song the group is singing.

jayasalini-nidhruvi7

“We just sang a few songs. to inspire us,” says Nidhruvi.  “We like to have fun together.”

As we turn the corner onto the Grand Central service road I say that we are now at the noisy part.

Nidhruvi answers, “It is alright we don’t hear it anymore.”

nidhruvi3

Jayasalini, “I like what Suprabha said when running here.   she used to imagine that sound of the cars was the sound of the waves of an ocean.  I love it so much.  I realized that the sound was very similar.”

jayasalini7

You can hear the sound in the recording.  Nidhruvi says, “powerful waves.  Especially when they honk.”

“When Jayasalini and I run together, which is not so often.  Of course everybody has a different rhythm.  Sometimes we have so much fun.  We just crack up and that helps so much.  It is so good to laugh.  I love to laugh with her.  She has such a nice laugh.  Sometimes when we run together like this we find a joke and then we have so much fun and then we tell the girls.”(Enthusiasm Awakeners)

Jayasalini, “We met for the first time one day prior to the race.”

Nidhruvi, “when I can be happy in this race I am the happiest person, really.  When you get these nice happy moments and they are quite often.  Then it lifts you up so much.  Than you forget about your problems.  It is like a cold and hot shower.  You have the happy moments when you are flying and then suddenly, dusssssh.  The body, the vital, the mind, especially the body which is quite limited.  When things are aching, hurting.  You can get frightened by it.  But you have to conquer that with all your heart and positive thinking.  Each thought is like a bomb.  You can’t get into any negative thought or thinking.  Otherwise you are caught there.  Then it gets worse.”

“I realized this so many times.  I feel something in the body and then I go, O God. Maybe this is this or that, or whatever.  There are so many ailments.  Then if I throw it out it just disappears.  Most of the time it works.”

nidhruvi4

I ask Jayasalini what she has learned from Nidhruvi.  “Definitely.  Nidhruvi has shared with me so many experiences.  Treatment of injuries and how to deal with them. A lot really I am so grateful.  She really shares everything.  Everything she has she shares.”

We talk a little bit about Suprabha and the part she played as a pioneer in this event.  In a way Nidhruvi also believes she and Jayasalini are also still pioneers and believes that in the future it will become easier for other girls as well as others.

jayasalini8

Nidhruvi says of Jayasalini, “she is doing a great job she is so young.  She will become the youngest one.  I am 100% sure that she will finish.  I just know it.  She is so constant and peaceful.  I think she tries hard to be spiritual, very inside.  Of course she has fear and doubt, like we all have.  But I think she prays so much to the Supreme, inwardly and outwardly.  To let her finish and to just save her.  This is what I am doing also, please help me help me.  She is cheerful.  She is very disciplined.  Very focused.  So I don’t see any reason.  She has come so far without any serious injuries.  Just little things.”

Jayasalini says of Nidhruvi, “I really admire her determination.  She has the spirit of a warrior, like never give up.  No matter what.  That really inspires me so much.  Every morning is a new day and a new opportunity.  She just goes for it with all her heart.  So strong.  I really admire her she is so amazing.  She is so cheerful and has such strong faith.”

jayasalini-and-nidhruiv-behind

Click to Play Interview:

nidhruvi and Jayasalini

flower-jayasalini2

Apparently injuries have forced Teekshanam to retire from the race.  Everyone wishes him a speedy recovery.

camp-vasu

I love to watch the game from the bleachers but the food here is just awful and over priced.

flower-bird6

That’s why I bring my own drinks.

flower-dog2

Listen let me know when the dog is gone.  I want to come down and watch the game too.

flower-squirrel

The sun cannot be caged.

flower-sun

William had 119 laps yesterday.

flower-william

He and Alan working as closely tuned as a fine clock.

william-and-alan

He has 2137 miles and is now just a couple of days away from catching up to the pace he needs.

wiliam4

Shakes a puppy’s paw and then away.

william-dog

Only 2 runners had more laps than he did yesterday.

william-silouhete

Larisa sings this morning.

larisa2

Click to Play:

larisa

Baladev had a really good day yesterday with 110 laps.

baladev-behind

He has 2079 miles.   62 miles more than last year.

baladev2

Sopan is so impressive in his approach to the race this year.

flower-sopan

“Inwardly there are constantly things happening and changing… Every day is so rich inwardly with all kinds of experiences…”

“Baladev once said that to him every day in the race is a lifetime full of experiences. Over the years in the 3100 I have had many times similar experience or sensation how as you go on you cross inwardly some boundaries and you move on to like a different space you look around and you see the same familiar trees, pavement etc. but at the same time they have completely changed everything is the same but at the same time looks completely different…”

sopan

“And yesterday or just an hour before feels like ancient time… It feels like in the inner world you have crossed a line. In the race now I had maybe 2-3 times this clear feeling and yesterday was the most obvious so far I looked around and all of a sudden everything was completely different I felt like I have entered into a new bubble of consciousness and heavy burden from just a minute ago was ancient history … Pretty cool!”

sopan-behind

“These changes most of the time happen to me after toughest moments when I feel like hitting rock bottom. I thought maybe inspiring to share as we all know the outer 3100 race but very little about the inner race. Sri Chinmoy has only mentioned a few words of the inner significance of this race.”

flower-ananda-lahari

Ananda-Lahari has 1668 miles.

ananda-lahari

Beauty and power side by side.

flower2

The great Ray is keeping on his schedule of an average of at least 40 miles a day.

ray-wide

The authentic and the fascinating.

ray2

Who is enjoying everything about being here…..

ray

Never enough puppies.

flower-dog

Galya who has run this race twice before has a birthday and he is rightly honored here.

galya-yuri

He receives a cake and songs are sung in his honor.

galya-2

It is a small but significant thing.  Nidhruvi picked this punch of flowers to give to him.  The best and the only thing she could do for this great champion.

galya

Prayer of the day

prayer

Click to Play:

prayer

Enthusiasm Awakeners

parvati-yes

Song of the Day

parvati-song

Click to Play:

parvati

O great champion, O great champion!
You are your achievement-sun.
Endless energy, sleepless speed
Feed our running hunger, feed.

Sri Chinmoy, Run and become, become and run [songbook], , 1982

flower

5 Comments to “July 21: Champions All”

  1. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    thank you.

    Determination within,
    Determination without
    At every moment!
    Lo, unimaginable achievements
    Are within your easy reach.

    Sri Chinmoy,7585 Ten Thousand Flower-Flames, Part 76, Agni Press, 1983

  2. Purnakama says:

    Thank you again for this daily inspiration! It has actually inspired me to start some new workout routines. And I am really enjoying the videos that you are adding in!

    Purnakama

  3. Doris says:

    I am sorry for Teekshanam having to stop the race. All the best wishes to him.

    The interviews were very interesting. It was so wise, gentle and sensitive of Suprabha to hear ocean waves in the noise of big traffic.

    Piloo seemed to have said, “ONE DAY I will definitely run this race”. Sometimes the soul speaks through us so clearly, we are wondering why we have said it.

    Sri Chinmoy said something interesting about sweetness as neither feminine nor musculine:

    “If you are in the heart, there is a constant supply of energy and sweetness. We all have to develop sweetness. Sweetness is not masculine or feminine. People say that only girls can have sweetness and not men, but sweetness is not something masculine or feminine. Sweetness is a reality which is constantly supplying us with newness and freshness.”

  4. Bigalita says:

    Soooo much beauty, wisdom and joy you are sharing here with your pearls of insight and inspiration. You are truly three most amazing spiritual hero warriors. Much gratitude

  5. […] am particularly impressed, however, by the 3 girls in the race, Sarah from Australia, Nidhruvi from Vienna, Austria, and Jayasalini from Russi… – with their absolutely inspiring performances. Having done one 6-day-race myself in April […]

Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)