When Surasa first entered the 3100 mile race in 2010 it was a monumental moment. The previous year the great Suprabha Beckjord had run the race for the last time. From its inception in 1997 no other girl had even attempted to run the race prior to Surasa’s entrance in the 13th running of the race. But Surasa had an extraordinary history of distance running reaching back nearly 20 years. Even at age 51 she was not fearful of trying to run the longest race in the world.
But this race is like no other and in her valiant effort that year she completed 2760 miles. Of course the door now was wide open. So Surasa came back again the following year, once again the only female entrant, but this time she had found what was needed to complete the race before the cutoff. She finished in 53 days, 15 hours.
Not content with her achievement in 2011, she came back once again in 2013 and had an even better race. She came in 5th overall and completed the distance in 50 days and 4 hours. At this time she also set the record for being the oldest runner to complete the race. A record that lasted until last year, when William Sichel ran at 60 years of age.
When I welcomed her back to the race this year, she said, “I am just happy and grateful to be here again.”
Surasa describes her inspiration to come and do the race as something she clearly experiences within herself. Last year, “I had the feeling that it was too much. I cannot do it. I also thought that it was good to have one year in between. I wanted to do it but at the very end I thought it was too much.”
“On one hand you are sad that you cannot do it but on the other side you are wise, and then you are grateful that you didn’t do it.”
As for being here this year. “It is such an opportunity to do something that the Supreme wants you to do. It is such a chance, and I am happy and grateful for this opportunity. I try to never forget to be grateful to have this opportunity to run.”
Ashprihanal is running the race for the 13th time but she does not see such a thing happening for her. “I will be over 70. I started this race to late. I was already over 50.”
She says that in her previous races here she always thinks each one will be her last. “Then after the race I get so inspired to do it again.”
Surasa also describes how she tries deliberately does not set goals for herself. “Of course I want to try my best.”
“You are never disappointed if you never set a goal. This is what happened in each of my races that I did. I was always satisfied, and was always happy with the mileage, so I was not disappointed that I didn’t set a goal.”
Click to Play Interview:
The score board after day 2
Baladev as he prepares for day 3
Because of street cleaning the vans are parked across the street.
Some Kaneenika supplements.
It will be mostly overcast and not hot….a great day to run.
Kaneenika working on her feet.
Start Day 3
Ashprihanal had another magnificent day of running
He ran 83 miles yesterday, 7 more miles than Galya. He now leads the race by 15 miles
He is running very well again today.
Vasu had 74 miles on day 2
His first race was 2012
He has gotten faster each year he has run. Nicolai is helping him a lot. He is in 3rd place.
A good helper can make a big difference.
For a few hours each Tuesday there are no cars on this side of the street.
After the street cleaner comes by the vans come back.
Kodanda plays different instruments most morning to inspire the runners.
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There are many familiar faces who walk the course each day.
Nirbhasa had a very good second day with 64 miles.
He is getting some great help from Pradeep.
Every morning about 10 Sahishnu brings the very much appreciated printed emails.
Champ visits the race this morning
His friend Vinaya plays a song on his harmonica.
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Galya is in 2nd place with 162 miles. He had 76 miles yesterday.
Yuri had a very strong 2nd day with 72 miles.
Yuri is in 4th place.
Kaneenika had 61 miles yesterday.
She is running well.
At different times she will run with Surasa.
There is no monkey business.
Atmavir is in 5th place and ran 72 miles yesterday.
Stutisheel did 54 miles yesterday.
A running poem that was written by Sri Chinmoy is handed out each morning
Grahak showing his special form of determination. He had 51 miles yesterday.
Ananda-Lahari heads into the dawn sky. He had 66 miles yesterday.
Misha preparing cabbage for Baladev’s knee.
Baladev had 49 miles yesterday.
This is Baladev’s 7th year at the race.
He remains cheerful and determined.
“The very special thing is that he continues in that way.” I have asked Pushkar to describe what Ashprihanal’s first day record total of 172 laps really means.
“If any other runner would run 94 miles on the first day he would be dead.” Pushkar believes that hardly anyone else could run such a huge first day total and then follow it up with 83 miles just as Ashprihanal has done. “He goes on. This is really fascinating. There is no barrier.” What he sees is that Ashprihanal has positioned himself in a kind flow of momentum. “He just goes on and on.”
Pushkar believes a great strategy is to not over think a difficult event like this. It is better to be positive and in the moment. Do this an you will be less likely to create obstacles for yourself. Of Ashprihanal,”he just flies in the wind somehow. He just keeps going. It looks like it is totally effortless.”
He is also very comfortable with his choice not to participate this year. Pushkar has run the race 4 times previously. “I know it is not my turn this year to run it.”
He has been helping at the race since the start. This morning he ran for an hour on the course and says, “there is an absolute magical energy here. The runners make much more progress than I do as a spectator.”
His 4 summers here changed him he says but doesn’t feel that it is possible to describe adequately what those experiences did to him. He recognizes though, “I got more peaceful and more patient. Now I live more in the moment. I listen to my heart more, and my inner voice.”
“I think the whole world receives something from this event.”
Click to Play Interview:
Click to Play:
My Lord begs me and begs me
To show Him my happy eyes
And my grateful heart.
3 responses to “June 16: Happy and Grateful To Be Here Again”
Utpal, thank you so much for your reports, especially the videos. They give us so much joy
how I appreciate your Perfection Journey! It brings us intensly in touch with this spiritual hotspot!
I love the interview with Surasa. It´s such a good idea to accompany her all along the lap – it´s reality-show of the finest!People in the centre will love it, when I show it today evening. Why not stick to this also with other runners?
You yourself must also be good in shape: interviewing while running!;)
Thank you very much …