June 15: More Enthusiasm

Ashprihanal said, “I have taken a year off and now I have more enthusiasm.”

Many significant moments during a race this long and hard can sometimes be obscured by the shear immensity of it all.  It is convenient to find therefore from time to time little sign posts along the way.   To be able to better take stalk and attempt to comprehend even fragments of this grand miracle taking place in full public view. If you do not pause and observe from time to time and grasp for a clearer perspective than it becomes impossible to appreciate what is truly happening overall.

The race record set by Madhupran in 2006, was 41 days and 8 hours.  It has long been the pinnacle that the best runners have sought after but none have been able to really get that close to.  In that year he averaged 74 miles a day an incredible achievement.  The only one to get close was Madhupran’s previous record of 72 miles a day in 2002.  After that comes Ashprihanal’s performance in 2007, which was an average of 71.8 miles.

Yesterday a new record was set by Ashprihanal that, if it does not speak of great things to come, than at least demonstrates that this 44 year old runner from Helsinki may run his best race ever.  All this considering that he is running it this summer for the 13th time…….which ties the record held by Suprabha for most times running the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile race.

“My previous best was 90 miles.  I did not set out to try and do 94, I just stayed focused all day…..and move all day.  Than it became my record day.”

I mention to Asprihanal that he looked very relaxed and happy most of the day.  I was curious if he had been pushing hard the whole time.  “I was working hard all day but not pushing.  I was walking at the corners. I was focused all the time.”

He mentions that yesterday had been hot for him, but today with overcast skies and a light breeze it is much different.  In the morning it rained briefly.  “Today is perfect running weather.”

ashprihanal

Ashprihanal is also enthusiastic about completing his 13th 3100 mile race.  Which adds up to 73,437 laps of the course and of course a total 40,300 miles. “That is many years around this block……It is something.”

As to the future he plans on taking next year off to climb mountains…….”But you  never know what happens.”

Click to Play Audio:

Ashprihanal

Around noon today Sahishnu informed Ashprihanal that his first day total of 172 laps was a new race record, breaking the previous one of 171 laps set in 1999.

ashprihanal-and-sahishnu

These are the first day race totals.

pre-board

Ashprihanal gets ready for day 2

pre-ashprhihanal

Kaneenika had a great first day of 71 miles

pre-kaneenika

Baladev had 67 miles

pre-baladev

Grahak having some hip trouble did 74 miles

pre-grahak

Surasa very happy with a first day total of 70 miles

pre-surasa

Start Day 2

start

Vajra cleaning the entire course every morning

vajra

The new motor home

van-from-street

Ananda-Lahari had 63 miles

ananda-lahari

The board from yesterday had yet to be changed.

ashprihanal-board

Atmavir had 82 miles

atmavir3

There is a light rain for much of the early morning

flower-water

It is humid so the runners still drink often

camp-drinks

Galya starts the day in 2nd place with 86 miles

galya-good

Galya by the handball courts

flower-galya

There is lots of traffic on the side walk at most times of the day.

baladev2

Baladev had 67 miles his first day.

baladev

The camp is an opportunity to pause and refresh

wide-board

Stutisheel had 74 miles his first day.

stutisheel

Surasa seems so happy on the course

flower-surasa

Sharing a laugh with Pushkar

surasa-pushkar

Greeting her friends everywhere

surasa

Pranjal counting Surasa

camp-wide

Kaneenika also seems to be doing extremely well.

flower-kaneenika

Enjoying some companionship on the course

kaneenika

But such a long way left to go

kaneenika-tunnel

Kaneenika’s helpers organizing their schedules

helpers-and-schedule

Nisanga preparing the drink table

nisanga-camp

Yuri runs well

flower-yuri

Yuri has 82 miles for his first day.

Yuri

It will be damp most of the day.

flower2

Grahak gets his first page of emails. He has 74 miles.

grahak-and-email

Nicolai helps Vasu

vasu-and-nicolai

Vasu is in 3rd place with 85 miles

vasu-good

Leaves along the service road

flower

Pushkar singing with the Enthusiasm Awakeners

pushkar

Nirbhasa had 69 miles.

nirbhasa

Pradeep who is one of his helpers works on some arch supports

pradeep

Some resting mystery feet

feet

Looking up

flower3

It would have been his 11th straight year running the race but work commitments back in his home in Slovakia have forced Pranjal to have only a week off in which to just visit the race he loves so much.

He is someone who can really appreciate the performance that Ashprihanal put on yesterday. “He is flying.”

Pranjal has kept his record of running at least 2 miles a day for the last few years.  So far it is unbroken even though back in September he was having knee problems. “I started playing ice hockey back in January.  I think it helps, to strengthen the knee.  I have not had a problem since then.”

His attitude to problems seems to be based on not worrying about them. “You just go and see what happens.”

“I never had a fear of this race, or this kind of thing.  I just try and accept it as it comes.”

pranjal-good

He claims that he is not overly disturbed about not running the race this year.  He feels that as early as September he had a feeling that it was not going to be possible.  By April it was clear that running the race this year was out of the question.  “I was not really happy but what can you do.  Even now I would rather be out there running than sitting here with you.” (He is counting laps)

Pranjal did the first lap with the runners yesterday.  “It was quite sad because I was looking at the ground and I knew all the cracks there for years. I was missing them.”

When asked if over the 1o years if it ever got easier.  “It is always hard.  You have to cover it and you have to suffer.  Suffering is a part of the race.”

“I take it (suffering) as a part of life.  There is always joy and there is always suffering.  It is just experience.  Experience is what makes you really happy.  To push forward.  That is the part of life…. to get experiences.  People are usually only looking for the good experiences.  Things which make them happy.  Sometimes bad experiences teach you even more, than the good things.”

“As Sri Chinmoy said, there is no such thing as bad or good.  Everything is just an experience.  Here you really have a lot of experiences.”

pranjal

I ask him what those who are simply helping or watching the race can get.

“They can get inspiration.  Everything you do, you do to inspire people.  I think the race is about that.  We inspire each other.  I don’t think I would have come here the first time if it was not for the inspiration from others.”

He describes this inspiration spreading around to places and people far beyond the borders of the little half mile block.  In particular there seems to be a large number of Slovaks running.  “The inspiration flows around.”

Pranjal also feels that if the weather does not get severe, and Ashprihanal does not get injured than he can break the old record of 41 days.  “He is really strong this year.  It looks really promising.”

As for where he will be back again next year. “I can see it. Next year for sure.”

Click to Play Interview:

Pranjal

Enthusiasm Awakeners

parvati

Click to Play:

Parvati

Because you have tried over the years
And failed,
You must not feel
You are a hopeless case.
Always continue trying
With more intensity and enthusiasm.

flower-good

2 Comments to “June 15: More Enthusiasm”

  1. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    thank you!

  2. Hridayinee Williams says:

    Utpal, thank you so much for these entries. I look forward to reading them every day from here in New Zealand and treasure my time helping at the 3100 mile race last year. Sending big hellos to Kaneenika (so proud of you! ) and to Grahak the awesome Aussie! Go Runners! ! 🙂

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