June 24: Inwardly Happy

When Kaneenika started running this morning at the 3100 mile race she was taking her first steps into uncharted territory for her. Many times she has run the 10 day race in Flushing Meadow but for her today is the start of day 11.  A new milestone in an exemplary and distinguished career of this 45 year old runner from Bratislava Slovakia.

When I approached her to speak this morning I asked if I could run a lap with her.  She laughed, “I have run many laps.” As of this morning she had run around the block 1088 times in the previous 10 days.

I first ask a typical and quite possibly a rude question.  Is she happy?  From the vantage point of the sidelines Kaneenika has been radiant every day since she started.  Her face brightened almost always by a gentle clear smile.  I add as well to that question that it has to be hard to be as happy as she appears to be.

“It is always like that during these races.”

I am curious just how different it must be for her here rather than the one mile loop in Flushing Meadow where she has run for so many Spring races.  “I have been feeling it since day 3……..or maybe from the beginning of the race.  Even though I have had experiences from the shorter races.  This is just so different.”

“I never really wanted to do this race before.  Believe it or not.  It just happened last year, that I got the inspiration.  It was quite strong.”  She admits that at first she tried to ignore the feeling.  “But then it came again.”

special-Kaneenika

Late last year Kaneenika called one of the race directors and told him of her interest to run the 3100. He said at first, that there were already 20 applicants.  Her name would be put on a list and she would be notified when the decision had been made.   Elated she said….”Okay, fine.”

In February she received a call.  “When I received the decision, I was really happy.  Inwardly happy.”

From then and until now she says all her planning and preparation fell into place.

“The course here is really giving me a hard time.  My feet and legs are trying to adapt.”

Her goal from the start, “has been to do whatever I can do.”

kaneenika-wide

“I feel such oneness from everybody.  It is definitely a big family.  It goes far, with all the people who support the race.”  Kaneenika tells me she has received many messages of support.  Even from some who she is not familiar with at all.

“I was really honored when I was chosen as one of the runners.  I am very grateful to Sri Chinmoy for creating this world.  This is like a world inside the world.”

Click to Play Interview:

Kaneenika

It is a cool fresh morning.

pre-camp

Ashprihanal continues to have phenomenal days.

pre-ashprihanal

The early sun peaks into the camp.

pre-rupantar

Some of the boys getting ready.

pre-boys

Yuri before a long long day.

pre-yuri

Start Day 11

start

Ashprihanal ran 5 miles more than the next best total.  He ran 77 miles for day 10 and has 788 miles

ashprihanal-good

There is a chance for some rain starting late tomorrow but the weather will not be hot.

flower-ashprihanal

Atmavir ran 72 miles and has 745 miles.  A phenomenal 10 day total as well.

atmavir

Atmavir is running very comfortably.

atmavir2

His year off seems to have helped so much.

flower-atmavir

Galya ran 71 miles yesterday.

galya

Running with Stutisheel

galya-stutisheel

Only 3 runners ran more than 70 miles yesterday.  Ashprihanal, Atmavir, and Galya

flower-galya

Yuri ran 68 miles yesterday.  He has 704 miles.

yuri3

On the edge

flower-yuri

Grahak ran 69 miles yesterday.  He has 668 miles.

grahak3

The sun has yet to arrive here.

flower3

Vasu is holding his own.  He ran 66 miles for the 2nd day in a row.  He has 665 miles.

vasu3

The quiet service road

wide-service-road-kaneenika

Nirbhasa had 63 miles yesterday.   He has 647 miles.

nirbhasa

Big shadows

grahak-shadow

Stutisheel had 63 miles yesterday.  He has 635 miles

stutisheel-sun

Cat on a fence.

flower-kaneenika

Squirrel not afraid of this cat but quite possibly not comfortable with rocks…..thus the fence.

flower-squirrel

Kaneenika getting some attention.

kaneenika-camp2

Surasa got back to doing a 60 mile day yesterday.

surasa-wide

Another good reason to be happy.

surasa

A gift left for all to enjoy.

flower-surasa

Ananda-Lahari did 46 miles yesterday.

ananda-lahari

Later in the morning he takes a short break with his clock nearby

ananda-lahari-sleeping

Who is tallest?

flower-ananda-lahari

Baladev ran 56 miles yesterday.  He has 570 miles.

baladev3

What the sun reveals.

flower

This is the 5th time that Vasavi has helped out at the 3100 mile race.  She says in 3 previous years she helped out at some of the Marathon team’s shorter races.  Not an easy thing to do if you live locally, but even more of a commute for Vasavi who lives in Holland.

When asked when she came to her first race to help, had she any idea what it would be like. “No, not at all.”

She says she learned the hard way.  It was 2001 and just like now she had been asked to be a helper for Surasa.

“Surasa was setting the world record, so everything was very tight.  We were under big pressure.”

In all the years since she has seen the maturing and changes in Surasa.  “Now she knows better what she wants.  She is more experienced.”

vasavi-surasa

For Vasavi the key to the job is to, “feel the oneness with your runner.  So even when she is sad, you have to still be friendly.  They are going through a very tough race.  I can’t imagine doing it myself.  I know how I am when I am under big pressure.  I think, they always do a great job.  You are a friend, but you also have to have a lot of compassion, and feel, what do they need.”

“You have to be in tune with your runner.  That is how I experience it.”

Vasavi says when she leaves the race to go home she is not tired or drained of energy.  Instead she is surcharged on all levels, both physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. “On all aspects I gain something.  I get a very clear insight.”

“For me it is like the light on the field is so clear. That even as a helper you gain from it.  I really like to be here at the race.  It gives me a lot of inspiration. ”

Click to Play Interview:

Vasavi

Poem of the day.

tamara-and-poem

Click to Play:

Tamara

Enthusiasam Awakeners

parvati

Click to Play:

Parvati

The heart needs happiness
At every moment
So it can move forward,
Dive inward
And fly upward.

flower-3

6 Comments to “June 24: Inwardly Happy”

  1. Hridayinee Williams says:

    I’ve helped Kaneenika once in the ten day race and of course am there with her each year whilst helping Dipali so I was really thinking of her today on her 11th day and again transcending herself. Thank you for the special insights in your interview with her. Go Kaneenika! ! So proud and happy. 🙂

  2. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    thank you.

  3. Sarita says:

    Thank you Utpal. It is so inspiring to see and hear from the runners and helpers their experiences. And to see their faces, so beautiful.

  4. Kuladhara says:

    Good job!

  5. Gautami says:

    Utpal, thank you so much for all your time you are giving to this amazing cause! You are always transcending in your own way! I love reading your posts so much, they keeps us connected and give us so much inspiration!!! Thanks 😉

  6. Bigalita says:

    Each day I am looking at Utpal’s great reporting skills and am struck by the beauty of all the runners. All of you are ever so very beautiful. Even on days when the going might be a little more difficult, your soul’s pride and joy is so obvious, it’s just pouring out of your eyes – you are all absolutely divine, amazing and ever so inspiring. Much, much gratitude and God Speed for the rest of the journey.

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