June 22: My Soul Running

“I am having a good time this year, but I still remember the 10 day race.”

Atmavir has had a long and remarkable history running the 3100 mile race.  Starting in 2007 he ran 7 straight years.  His best performance was in 2009 when he ran 45 days and 3 hours.  Last year he decided to take a break.  In order to prepare for this year’s race, he ran the 10 day race in the Spring.

He had a good performance but in the later part of the race he got sick.  A real wake up call to the whimsical reality of what can happen to expectations and performances in multi day running.  “Everything changes,” he says. “You need to change your approach.”  He knows that one moment you can be doing well and then have a sharp reality check delivered by surprise.

“I don’t have real ambitions this year.  Maybe that is why I am doing so well.  I am personally surprised by myself.” As of the start of day 8 he is in 2nd place with 597 miles.  He ran 70 miles yesterday. “I was really happy about yesterday.  It was extremely difficult weather for me.”

Over the years heat and humidity have been his staunchest foes.

atmavir-and-tree

When asked about how it felt to miss participating last year.  “It was kind of sad for me, I was crying when the race started.  I was really missing the race.”  Atmavir has been staying in Ottawa and came at least 4 times last summer to visit the race.  “But I think it was very healthy for me to take a break.  I think somehow it helped me a lot, in many ways.”

This year he says, “since day 2 I feel as though I have been running through my soul.  I don’t feel my body most of the time.  It is a really beautiful experience.  I don’t feel as though I am putting in too much effort.”

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Atmavir also feels as though the extensive scaffolding has been helpful by shading much of the course.

“I feel as though most of the time I am observing.  I also like running alone, it is precious time. Time is passing so fast.  Already it is one week gone.  I can not believe.  It is amazing.”

I ask him if he seems to be getting stronger each day.  He says he feels that each day he is going more deeply within himself.  “We are getting more strength from within.”  In the beginning he believes the first few days are more mental.  For him though, “From day 2 I felt as though my soul was running.”

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Dr.Kumar’s advice to him was, “let your body run and you meditate.  I am just happy to be here.  For me it is the greatest opportunity to make spiritual progress.  I have experienced it many times.”

Click to Play Interview:

atmavir

The race leader arrives

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Rupantar shoots his daily video

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Kaneenika getting attention.

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Baladev prepares to start his day.

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Lots happening in a little space of time.

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Any minute now.

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Start Day 9

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Baladev is cheerful but is trying to really get going.

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Baladev ran 55 miles yesterday.  He has 463 miles.

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Keeping in focus just what you need to see.

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Surasa ran 47 miles yesterday.  She has 470 miles.

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It is still all so early in the race.

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Ananda-Lahari ran 51 miles yesterday.

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He has 476 miles and has one of the best and consistent smiles on the block.

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Kaneenika had 55 miles yesterday.

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She is an amazing athlete.

Kaneenika

Stutisheel and Galya have been running a lot together.

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Stutisheel ran 62 miles yesterday and has 502 miles.

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Nilasha plays her violin for several hours.  She goes home this afternoon.

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Click To Play:

Nilasha

The day will be bright, sunny and warm

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Sitting on the fence.

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Sitting on the Grand Central parkway after an accident.

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The mechanics come and thoroughly check out the vehicles

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Also not a good day for the flowers along the service road.

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Nirbhasa has his own traffic issues.

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Nirbhasa had 63 miles yesterday and has an 8 day total of 519 miles.

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Grahak seems to be getting stronger.

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He casts a long shadow for sure.

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Grahak ran 70 miles yesterday.  Ashprihanal running behind him here, ran 78 miles

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Most definitely he is interesting to watch.

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The sun brings beauty to all.

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Vasu staying focused. He ran 63 miles yesterday.  He has 531 miles.

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The big turn.

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Yuri had a very good day with 69 miles.  He has 566 miles

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Kodanda playing his guitar.

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Click to Play:

Kodanda

It may be the longest gap in the history of the race.  Galya ran the 3100 in both 2008 and 2009 and then it took him 5 years to come back and run again.  To no ones surprise this very talented runner is running beautifully. He has 595 miles for 8 days and has been consistently running in the 70 miles and above category.

In the 5 year period since his last appearance here he says he did, “normal running.” Which means lots of events from 24 hours and up to 10 days. He says that there is a huge difference between being healthy enough to run 10 days and for the time it takes to run 3100 miles.  ”

A 6 day race is nothing.”

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The gap between his last appearance in 2009 and this year he says was so long that he felt like he was running again for the first time when he got to the starting line hre. Galya believes that just getting to the starting line is 50% of the overall effort.

He confesses, “I know that I was ready to run last year.”  Galya believes that in not doing so was a mistake. In the other years he believes he had good excuses not to run.  “I couldn’t run, I did not have money, or I was injured.”

“This is the best place to be.”

“There is a kind of brotherhood here.”

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He has run for 8 days now and at any time of the day or night he has appeared cheerful and runs strongly.  When he is feeling good he wants to make the most of it in case any difficulties come up later in the race.  “If you have capacity you should use it.”

“There are so many experiences here.  I already feel that I have dived a little bit deeper.”

When asked if he ever had any moments that were effortless and he suggests that those kind of things may happen a little later. “My mind is still here.” As for when problems do appear.  “Just keep going.  Do not give up.”

His connection to the race is unique.  “I spent the whole summer here in 2006.  It was when Madhupran ran his world record.  In that year I was inspired to do the race.  I had already run a couple of 10 day races.  I was here every day and every day I was here when Sri Chinmoy was handing out prasad.”

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“Then after the race was over there was a function.  There Sri Chinmoy asked some of the boys who had finished already, who wants to run next year. Then they stood up.  I was watching and I had a feeling…..I want to run!”

“Then Sri Chinmoy asked, does anybody in the audience want to run? Then I stood up and said yes, I do.  He looked at me and asked.  How many years have you been my student.  I said 7 years…….and he said very good!”

“I thought from this time that it was already clear that I would run the next year.  Then I started training like crazy.  After 2 weeks I injured my hamstring.”

I ask Galya if he feels as though Sri Chinmoy is still here.  “O yes.  Yesterday was Father’s day was so special.  I felt a few times like I saw his car come.  Just to imagine him here and he is here.  It was so nice.  I think from yesterday I started to really feel as though I was enjoying being here.  Not just pushing.”

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“I am in the right place, doing the right thing.”

For 8 days Ashprihanal has been a delight to watch.

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Ashprihanal ran 78 miles yesterday and has an 8 day total of 631 miles

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The poem of the day.

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Click to Play:

poem

Enthusiasm Awakeners

parvati

Click to Play:

Parvati

My outer running
Is my body’s journey.
The destination is known.
My inner running
Is my soul’s journey.
The Goal is unknowable.

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3 Comments to “June 22: My Soul Running”

  1. Jadranka says:

    Thank you Utpal for all these reports and interviews, it’s like the race is in my home and I am right there in the camp. This feeling of total oneness with the runners is amazing, specially with this speed that they are performing. The whole Universe is speeding up in last few years and this year Race is just confirming it so obviously.
    All the best to runners and helpers and the whole team in New York and everybody in their homes, who are following the Race and helping it inwardly.

  2. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    thank you

  3. Manoshri says:

    The 3100 mile race a best place to be right now! We came down to NY from Canada for Father’s Day and was so inspired! As we always are, when we come to see the race. Such an amazing energy! No words can describe it.

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