“I had 3 experiences with Suprabha. They all happened in my first race.”
Ananda-Lahari is eager to tel me some stories this morning. I am more than a little surprised. After running non stop for the past 3 weeks all the runners at this stage of the race often have little energy or enthusiasm for story telling. Yet as Ananda-Lahari speaks about events from 10 years ago, his eyes sparkle with added delight. Something this 39 year old Slovak runner continually confounds me with year after year.
His ability to remain cheerful is probably his strongest asset in the 3100 mile race. But as he explains through his experiences, it was not always so. In 2005, his first race, he speaks about reaching 2700 miles.
“I was just going through the counting station. People were clapping and going….oh, .. 2700 miles. Great!”
“It happened that Suprabha was also there. She said, congratulations for reaching 2700.”
“I replied, it does not give me joy.” Suprabha than simply changed the topic. Not willing, it would seem to have a discussion of her beloved 3100 mile race that wasn’t positive. “Than she ran away.”
“For me it was a very good experience. I realized that there always things to be grateful for.”
For his 2nd story Ananda-Lahari was reminiscing about all the difficulties of his first race. He felt that he was feeling like he was running slow and was lacking in some motivation. A helper in the camp suggested repeatedly, that he should just cross the street for a moment. Leave the course to see a little garden that was there. They were insistent. “You will get some joy and some newness. I was resisting.”
“One day I was particularly slow, so I said okay, I will go and have a look.” When he crossed back again Suprabha was there. “Where were you?”
When he told what had happened, she said, “Was it worth it?” Than she simply ran away. He doesn’t know exactly if Suprabha had planned it this way but he immediately got the message. “Once you know what to do. Once you know your way. Once you know your direction. Even if I am slower than the slowest. Don’t leave your course. Don’t leave your path.”
“In the first race I was really dying. It was endless. It was my last day and I thought, I must get there. But it felt like time had stopped. It was the worst possible moment.” Right than Suprabha passed by and asked him how he was.
“I was like….oh, I have sore knees, my stomach is upside down, I am exhausted.”
Suprabha’s reaction was instantaneous. As he recalls the moment, Ananda-Lahari starts to jab his finger into the air. In a surprisingly loud voice he repeats her words. “Don’t think of it. Don’t think of it, and she ran away.”
Click to Play Interview:
The taxi arrives
Ashprihanal had another strong day yesterday. 3 more records
Kaneenika getting ready.
Start Day 22
It is a quiet Sunday morning after all the fireworks and celebrating on the holiday yesterday.
He ran 75 miles yesterday and made new records for 2500km, 1600 miles, and for 21 days.
His 21 day total is 1613 miles. Madhupran had 1587 for the same time. He even stopped long enough to perform a skit with Grahak
Ashprihanal had a close brush with a cold. His voice is a bit husky. He tells Sahishnu today that he is feeling good.
Good in each direction
Galya will make half way late this morning. He ran 70 miles yesterday keeping his hopes alive of breaking the record of 24 straight 70 plus mile days.
Vasu ran 68 miles yesterday.
Vasu has 1444 miles.
During his break Nicolai works on his feet.
The grass is growing back
Yur also ran 68 miles yesterday and has 1443 miles
The sun is bright all day.
Atmavir had 42 miles yesterday and now has 1390 miles
Guarding the course briefly was champ.
Nirbhasa had 55 miles yesterday and now has 1288 miles.
He also performed his first skit with Grahak this morning.
“O how I enjoy dining the day after the 4th of July.”
Surasa had a good day with 64 miles.
She now has 1286 miles.
Lillies on the fence.
Stutisheel next to the fence.
Stutisheel ran 59 miles yesterday and has 1277 miles.
Kaneenika had a better day yesterday with 58 miles.
Her total now is 1247 miles.
A frog has come out today.
Baladev had 51 miles yesterday and now has 1142 miles.
Enjoying the music.
“This is my first experience as a helper.” Anna has run the 10 day races in the Spring in Flushing Meadow twice. But now since Kaneenika started running 21 days ago she has been there for her every morning.
When asked why she started running multi day races. “It was self transcendence. I felt within that this is what my soul wanted me to do. Something inspires you from inside and pushes you to run. Than you find yourself at the starting point.”
Than Anna jokes, that like most people during the middle of the race, she feels like she will never do it again. “Than your soul inspires you to come again.” She says that she ran 12 miles less than her previous 10 day race, “but it was still a great experience. No matter how many miles you do it is still a great experience to be among the runners. You have to try your best.”
“My morning starts at 4:40 when I cook breakfast for Kaneenika. I prepare her clothes for the day and than I wake her up. But usually she wakes herself up. Than we prepare for the day we work on her blisters. Than we leave the house at 5:40.”
After all that she stays at the race to help Kaneenika from 10am until 4pm. “I arrived the day before the race started so I did not have a lot of time to how to do this.” Anna of course has learned quickly and seems fazed by nothing that she has been asked to do. Akbota, who has helped Kaneenika at the Spring races for many years was also very helpful in preparing Anna. “I got some experience from her. All runners are different. They have different needs and behave differently during the race.”
“For me it is beyond my understanding what the runners are doing. But I am very excited and happy to see them every day running. They are amazing.”
Click to Play Interview:
From very far
Akbota’s mom is here, Jumagul. She reads today’s prayer.
Click to Play:
Click to Play:
Always be grateful to your soul,
For it is your soul that has inspired you
And led you
To walk along the sunlit road of aspiration.
4 responses to “July 5: Things To Be Grateful For”
Thank you. Always inspiring and I read it with anticipation every day. 🙂
Precious reports. Runners’ excellence (and helpers’, too) makes it all look so simple and yet it is beyond comprehension.I am humbled and deeply, deeply grateful
Sri Chinmoy, Great people and good people, Agni Press, 2001
Some Zen stories from Ananda-Lahari. 🙂