June 14: A Chance To Make Progress

This is the 19th summer that a group of runners has gathered on this sidewalk here in Queens NY to embark upon a monumental challenge.  Each has been summoned by some deep inner call within themselves to come and run for 18 hours a day, and do what is nearly impossible for most of us to even comprehend, complete 3100 miles within 52 days.

There is a tangible and profound sense of peace that spreads out well beyond the limited dimensions of the concrete as they, and all those gathered around and about them, meditate in a brief silence before the start.  There is no shouting, no awkward demonstration of bravado, no trivial display of strength and cunning.  This is not that kind of race where this kind of mind set or behavior could possibly help. Each runner has to pull from within themselves enduring qualities that are well above and beyond just strength of mind and talent of the human body. Time and again it has been shown by all who run here, that this race has more to do with the unbounded power of spirit within than the limited capacity of mind and muscle.

But it also must be noted that this impossible Self Transcendence task of running 3100 miles has been completed 131 times over the past 18 years.  37 different athletes have come and found within themselves the strength, courage, and inner resourcefulness to complete the distance.  But of course just to stand at the line and strive and to endure its unbelievable challenge makes a champion of all who come and take part.

pre-sahishnu

“This is Sri Chinmoy’s favorite race.  He used to come literally hundreds of times when he was in town and would take time out from his busy schedule in which he traveled all over the world.”

“He always thought of this race as a chance to make progress.  The success part who knows what will happen?”

“Your competitive nature can come through.  That is not the important thing.  The important thing is that you are offering this race to a higher cause deep within.”

Sahishnu’s Introductions and start:

Intros

Sri-Chinmoy-3100miles-e1343027571933

Sri Chinmoy at Start 2004 Photo by Abakash

O our 3,100-mile-run runners,
My sleepless, prayerful, soulful, powerful
And proud gratitude-heart-throbs
I have discovered
In your aspiration-mountain-height
And in your dedication-fountain-delight.

O my Saturday two-mile-race runners,
Your running is challenging,
Yet charming and thrilling.

29 July 2000
New York

This is the only time the score board will remain silent and blank.  Soon enough the numbers build and swell beside each runner’s name.

pre-board

Many runners come on bicycles.  Grahak has returned after an absence of a few years.

pre-grahak

Sahishnu gets the starting stop watches ready.

pre-sahishnu2

Pushkar has come from Switzerland just to see the start and to help out.  He ran the race 4 times. He will help over the next week with counting.

pre-pushkar

Pranjal, another veteran has come for the start and to help.

pre-pranjal

It will not be long now.

pre-clock

Atmavir is ready to run.  This will be his 8th race.

pre-atmavir

In the early stages Ashprihanal goes out fast and looks effortless.

wide-ashprihanal

He seems to be so happy to be back after a 2 year absence.

ashprihanal

Much of the course is covered in scaffolding but nature on the untamed edges remains the same.

flower-ashprihanal

Ananda-lahari arrived only yesterday.

ananda-lahari2

He has run the race many times.

ananda-lahari3

Wild flowers grow on almost every small patch of earth.  Summer with its abundant riches has arrived.

flower6

Baladev

baladev

Augusta, who exercises across the street all year comes over to greet the Enthusiasm Awakeners singing group.

augusta

Atmavir and Baladev run together

atmavir-baladev

“It’s this way …..no, it’s this way. How can we be lost already.”

bird

Grahak enjoying the day.

flower-grahak

He has completed the race 4 times.

grahak

Counters need to relax

counting

Many are taking pictures.

jowan

Kaneenika runs for the first time.

kaneenika

She is well prepared.

kaneenika-tree

Stutisheel doing an interview with Yuri on his phone.

stutisheel-and-yuri

Across the road

flower7

Nirbhasa runs a short stretch with one of his helpers, Pradeep

nirbhasa-prdeep

Some parts of nature have nearly reached their own finish line.

flower6

Stutisheel and Galya

stutisheel-and-galya2

The scaffolding may yet prove useful to the runners over the course of a long hot summer.

flower5

Yuri and Kaneenika

yuri

Surasa and Kaneenika at the corner.

wide-Surasa

Victor counting

victor-sutisheel

Vasu

vasu2

 

Suprabha greets Surasa

suprabha-surasa

She is very talented and has years of multi day experience.

surasa

Green and blue

flower-5

Some get tired early

gopee

Some get energy in other ways.

pranjal

Jowan taking amazing pictures.

jowan2

just a little closer

flower-stutisheel

Andy Cable a great friend of the race is visiting from Connecticut.

andy

The camp always busy

camp-wide

Checking the words.

singers

We have only just begun

rupantar-and-gopee

Some flowers not so wild

flower4

Matt Green, “Something pulls me here every year.”  He is not sure just how many time he has come to the race but his most memorable visit was in 2009 when he accompanied a bus load of people on a mystery tour of New York and dropped them off around the other side of the block.  They were to try and guess what was unique and special about what they saw.

He is embarked on a multi year project to walk the length of every street in New York’s 5 boroughs.  It is called Imjustwalkin

Matt-green

“I feel an affinity to the idea of the race itself.  It is a kind of counter balance to my own walk too.  I am trying to go out to all these places and see everything.  This is kind of the exact opposite.  Being in just one place over and over and over, and still seeing everything.

Click to Play Matt Green Interview:

Matt Green

Enthusiasm Awakeners

parvati

Click to Play:

Parvati

Do not look around
To see if somebody else
Is making faster progress than you.
Just look deep within
And be grateful for whatever progress
You are making.
Just look high above
And be ready and eager
To make still faster progress.

flower8

7 Comments to “June 14: A Chance To Make Progress”

  1. Manoshri says:

    Thank you for all the news and pictures again! This is such an amazing race! Wishing all the best to everyone, all the runners and helpers. Looking forward to coming to New York next weekend and experiencing a bit of heaven, that this race brings.

  2. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    thank you.

  3. Kuladhara says:

    Thank you very much Utpal.

    The video is really nice. Congratulations!

  4. Vilas says:

    Good work Utpal!
    Really enjoyed this insight especially Sahishnu’s audio.
    I look forward to following the race unfold over the coming days and weeks.
    Again, thank you for sharing this so nicely.

  5. Laura says:

    Great to see you back Uptal. I love your blog and love following the race.

  6. kaushalya says:

    Wow! 6 great weeks of interviews, amazing insights and shared aspiration. Thank you to everyone for this shared feast!
    Kaushalya

  7. Ambarish says:

    Utpal,
    Thank you so much for your great work in connecting us from all parts of the globe to 12 divine and inspiring foot soldiers. Thanks for sharing their journey and helping ours
    Ambarish.

Leave a Reply

(required)

(required)