June 27: Every Day A Miracle

“Every day out here is a miracle for me.  I am just going to keep going as far as I can. Hopefully it is enough to finish.  If it is not than every day has been great.”

This morning when I ask Grahak how he feels his first reaction is a very large sigh.  For most of the last week his mileage results have been stellar but the physical concerns that he brought to the block have refused to go away. He says this morning at least he has been experiencing some mental turmoil.  Frustrated that the easy flow of pain free running has not yet made him a consistent friend and companion.

“I have got some real problems.  I am trying to sort each one out, one at a time.”

“I have a bit of a sore calf but it is getting better.” Then as if it was an every day occurrence he mentions he had a fever the night before.

This morning he took many laps before his noticeable limp went away.  “I am having real problems with a hip injury.  I knew I had it before I came.  It is really playing on my mind a bit.”

Quite often Grahak has a unique facial expression.  I ask him about it.  “I guess that is when I focus inwardly.  The more I do it the better.”

Photo by Jowan 2007

Photo by Jowan 2007

Other than a very low mileage count on day 2, Grahak has maintained very high numbers for nearly the entire 2 weeks.  Yesterday he ran 62 miles.  His total for 13 days is 870 miles.  “I am making the mileage.  But I don’t think I will get to the same standard as my last race (5 years ago).  I have to adjust with that and deal with that, and do the best that I can.”

I mention to Grahak that I have noticed that when runners in the race have challenging physical experiences that they often are inspired to focus on themselves and the race quite differently.  “I think you notice people using their determination more.”

grahak3

Grahak mentions about Ashprihanal and Atmavir and how they are making the race look easy.  “They have the perfect bodies.  They are like the sub 2:30 marathon guys.  It is not easy for them but they can do very well.”

“I have been noticing people who have to really dig deep.  It is harder for them, to try and make the cut off.”

grahak-wide

Grahak has spent some time back at his home in Perth Australia working as a corporate trainer.  I ask how people he meets in an office building could understand what he is doing here in Queens NY on a hard little piece of sidewalk every day.   “I think for people can understand that we have a goal and we traveling towards it as best as we can.  Hopefully I can make it. I just have to surrender to whatever happens.  Hopefully that inspires other people.”

Late last night, just about 20 minutes past 11, Ashprihanal completed 1000 miles.  At the time the race director knew it was good but just not sure how good.  It turns out it is the 8th best road record all time, and 15th best in the world overall.

Asprihanal asked Sahishnu to check if it is a new Finnish record.

pre-ashprihanal

If he hadn’t circled the block and instead headed west he would have ended up in the middle of Missouri

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Kaneenika and company arrives

pre-kaneenika

The girls settling in.

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Vasu has 8 minutes to relax this morning.

pre-clock

Start Day 14

start

Of course he was happy to do so well for reaching 1000 miles in 12 days, 17 hours and 19 minutes.  He posed for a picture he tells me and then went on to run another 3 more miles.

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A lot of thoughts spring up when you more fully consider his accomplishment here last night.  What time could he have accomplished, compared to the 7 others ahead of him, if he only ran 1000 miles.  Would it have been different knowing there was yet another 2100 more miles.

ashprihanalwide

There are probably more than a few people now who are trying to keep their thoughts about a new course record very very quiet yet.  It is so early.  As of today he has averaged 77.2 miles a day.

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For Atmavir the weather has been perfect and he will reach 1000 miles himself later in the day.  He ran another 70 mile day. He has 960 miles.

atmavir

When you watch how both he and Ashprihanal are running you cannot help but wonder how they make such an extremely hard thing look so easy to do.

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Galya ran 71 miles yesterday.  He finished the day with 955 miles.

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Galya and Stutisheel in camouflage green.

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“Yes google maps are great, but I left my smartphone beside the bed at home.  This can’t be the route to Starbucks.”

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Yuri had 67 miles yesterday for a 13 day total of 908 miles.

yuri

Grabbing some food as he runs by.

yuri-camp

You have to look for everything.

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Vasu had a 71 mile day for 883 miles.

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Grabbing a cup of water.

vasu-wide

Nirbhasa had 62 miles yesterday for 833 miles.

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You could not ask for a better performance from this first time 3100 mile race runner.

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Arpan gives him some help with his calf.

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Most of the world can only have the vaguest of notions of just how tired and sore he and the other runners feel right now.

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Stutisheel making the turn by the handball courts.

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We know that Stutisheel ran 65 miles yesterday and has 819 miles.  But what does this expression say and mean as it drifts across his face.

stutisheel

Misha working on the table.

misha

Surasa had a very good day with 64 miles.

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She finished the day with 779 miles.

surasa

Surasa is one mile a head of Kaneeika now.

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Kaneenika ran 60 miles yesterday.

kaneenika

She finished day 13 with 778 miles.

kaneenika-and-suhasini

Hard and soft.

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Ananda-Lahari had 53 miles yesterday for 726 miles.

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Plants growing where you would least expect.

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Baladev had 46 miles yesterday. He has 717 miles.

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For most of the day it is cool and cloudy.

baladev-wide

Tonight and into tomorrow there is rain forecast.

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At the 2 mile race this morning a special anniversary is celebrated.  It was 31 years ago June 26th that the Sri Chinmoy inaugurated the first Runners Are Smilers 2 mile race in Flushing Meadow Park.

He described the race, which has been held every week since as something very beautiful and very, very, very meaningful. Sri Chinmoy asked those gathered there, both runners and helpers to come regularly, as long as they were not injured.

vajra

“Yes I do remember some of the early Runners are Smilers races.” Vajra helps out at the local 2 mile race every Saturday morning. “I was living in Manhattan at that time.”

Of course the whole schedule of the Sri Chinmoy marathon team has expanded in so many ways.  Not just in distances but also in events held around the world.  I ask Vajra if he could have envisioned this.  “No, not even the slightest clue.”

“I feel that the running now has taken on a magnanimous field of spiritual development.  In the spiritual community.  Where it was then to where it has grown now.  Is one in which the enlargement of the heart and the entire being has now been thrusted to the forefront.”

“The entire being and what it is able to do, in terms of how it can manifest itself.  In the biggest and largest of ways.  In an order of transcendence that goes way beyond our imagination.  In everything that we do.”

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One side of the street the 2mile race takes place and on the other is the 52 day home of the 3100 mile race.  Vajra says that the energy here is so tangible that anyone passing by can see and feel it.  “They can come here and look and their minds are boggled.  Even my mind is boggled at times when I thin about it.”

“Everything is connected. It is all part and parcel.  What I do, what I say, how I appear to others.  My performance in my job, everything.  All connected spiritually.”

When asked about his late spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy.  “He is more connected to me now than when he was in the physical body.  I feel this so very very powerfully.”

Click to Play Interview:

vajra

Poem of the day read by Jagadata

poem

Click to Play:

Jagadata poem

Enthusiasm Awakeners

 

parvati

Click to Play:

Parvati

The whole world is looking for miracles.
Every day it is dying to see miracles.
But can there be any miracle
More challenging, more illumining
And more fulfilling
Than to see and feel the infinite Beauty
Of my Beloved Supreme
Inside this tinier than the tiniest
Gratitude-heart of mine?

 

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4 Comments to “June 27: Every Day A Miracle”

  1. Abhinabha says:

    Wow, I feel for Grahak. He is definitely inspiring me. Although I may be a sub 2:30 marathon runner, in the cosmic hierarchy of running I feel I am definitely a few levels below him. My prayers are with him and I hope he pulls through.

  2. Jadranka says:

    Whatever happens on the Race is our mutual experience, if we allow it to enter into our heart.
    Thanks Utpal so much.
    Jadranka

  3. Francesco says:

    Hi Utpal
    thank you

  4. kaushalya says:

    In some mysterious way, the suffering of the runners is part of the universal suffering, and their patience, perseverance and transcendence helps all beings to also suffer patiently and with perseverance. Gratitude for this universal gift from our runner brothers and sisters. It’s all part of the progress of this planet. They are the divine pioneers, storm troopers of the planet. Much appreciation!
    Kaushalya

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