July 18… Step By Step

“This is the quietest area at least at night time.” Ananda-Lahari points his right hand towards a low brick wall where the Enthusiasm Awakeners sing each morning and also were Sri Chinmoy once used to come as well and practice his music.

It is a typical Sunday afternoon at the 3100 mile race and for my ears it is raucous and loud and almost unbearable.  Just making one loop on a hot Sunday afternoon and you are constantly bombarded by hordes of people and volumes of sound.

“There is always noise on Sunday.”

Across the street as he tells me this a soccer football match is going on.  Car radios blare and then down by the baseball field an intense game is going on.

As we pass home plate the batter hits an enormous fly ball deep into center field.  Ananda-Lahari no longer notices, and many years ago ceased to care about all the distractions.

Distractions that come out of the usual turmoil of life, rolling and tumbling around him, and even for that matter, the existence of the other runners.  Who make little sound even at the best of times.  Who on this day at least gently shuffle past him.  Ananada-Lahari has been walking non stop now for the past 10 hours.

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“I try to stay focused.  Not to look left and not to look right.  But still sometimes I look.”

“I am not there yet but every year it is getting better and better.”

“If you go through a difficult period in your life and you go through it step by step.  It is much easier.”  Ananda-Lahari then describes that if he was focused on time it would just frustrate him.

“It is a very very precious experience for me the whole race.  Even if I am not doing well outwardly but still I make the effort.  Stay focused and I am doing my best.”

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When I ask him how many breaks he takes a day.  He says that this morning he decided that he would not take any breaks all day.

“I felt today that I could just go for it.  I want it to be my offering to this race.  Everybody is trying their best.  It doesn’t matter what speed.”

“What is the goal of life.  We are here so many years.  We have so many experiences.  We are inspired by so many things.  Some times we do better and some times we do worse.  Life is not (snaps his fingers.)  It is long long long.”

“The journey itself is the goal on one hand.  The goal here of course is to run 3100 miles, and all the runners are striving for it.  Everybody is trying their best to achieve it.”

Photo by Jowan 2007

Photo by Jowan 2007

Then Ananda-Lahari tells me a story that took place when Sri Chinmoy once came to visit the race in 2007.  “We were running from the other direction.  Every day we were getting prasad from Sri Chinmoy.  And exactly on that spot (points to the curb a few feet away.)

“He handed me an ice cream out of the passenger window of the car he was riding in.  He also was eating an ice cream and then he said, Oy, you need an extra blessing, and he handed me his ice cream.”

“It happened on a day when I was starting to crash down.  I was running 70 miles a day in 2007.  I was getting more and more tired doing it.  So I felt he was trying to inspire me.  So I got a very nice experience.”

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Everything real
In the inner life
Has to be a matter of
Step-by-step progress.

Sri Chinmoy, Twenty-Seven Thousand Aspiration-Plants, Part 235, Agni Press, 1996

*For rest of report click on read more below*

The Board

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The quiet time

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“What time do the sandwiches come…….I mean runners?”

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Vajra hard at it

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A flower

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Misha pouring drinks

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The van arrives

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Rupantar checks the daily mileage

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Vajra leaves

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Time passes

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Baladev takes a picture of the board

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Jowan here to take pictures

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The girls

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Janos running on empty

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Start Day 30

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First steps

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It is going to be a hot and muggy day

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Atmavir had a tough day with 47 miles

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Stutisheel who went through this for a number of days encourages him.  He now has 1976 miles.  87 miles more than last year.

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First light

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Yuri did 65 miles

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He has 1945 miles.

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He is taking no chances with the heat

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A new squirrel non text avoidance strategy has been implemented at the camp

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Getting encouragement from friends around the world

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Combination

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Going to school

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Ashprihanal also had 65 miles

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He now has 1931 miles and is sporting an ice bag under hat race strategy

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Near and far

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Vasu seems to be getting a little better each day.  He did 59 miles

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He now has 1888 miles

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A waiting mango

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Kaneenika had 63 miles.  She tells me that the heat bothered her but she still did remarkably well.

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Suprabha is visiting the race for a short while.  She takes turn running with all the runners

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Kaneenika now has 1851 miles

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She is 111 miles ahead of last year

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A little yellow

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Checking the journal

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Surasa did 54 miles

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She now has 1833 miles.  She is still 37 miles ahead of last year

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Long away

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Suprabha is really enjoying how all the runners are doing, but particularly the girls

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A lotus

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Sopan did 51 miles. He now has 1683 miles

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It is Nelson Mandela day.

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Baladev did 53 miles

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He now has 1656 miles

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Clover

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Stutisheel had a good day yesterday

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He did 63 miles

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He now has 1634 miles and once again did a play with Ashprihanal

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“Look I told you I would have it put back together by noon.  We are just waiting for a couple more parts.”

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Beginning of something big

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Ananda-Lahari did 47 miles

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He now has 1555 miles

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Jowan taking pictures

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A brief thunderstorm late this afternoon

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“I think I first came to the race in 2011.” Tajini says that for the first 2 years she was part of the team that helped in the kitchen.

When she first came she says that she really didn’t know anything about the 3100.  Now however she says, “I really love it.  I get so much inspiration from it.  I feel it creates a fantastic atmosphere that you want to observe and you want to be part of it.”

“Every year is different.  The race always brings forward something that is in you.  There is just so much to absorb it is very inspiring.”

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“I think that there are many other similar things which are uplifting.  But for me the 3100 mile race is very unique.  It is very much a very unique event in the whole year.  No question.”  Tajini adds that she also really enjoys helping as well at the yearly 6 and 10 day race.

“What the runners accomplish here is absolutely fascinating.  It is beyond the mind.”

“Look at this place.  There is so much light and so much peace.  Also there are different aspects every time as well.”

“There is so much joy and everything.”

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Tajini reads the Daily Poem

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Enthusiasm Awakeners

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Step by step
Each genuine seeker
Is going forward.
If he is bad,
He will unmistakably become good.
And if he is already good,
He will become better
And then best.
For God will not allow
His Vision-Light to remain
Unmanifested through him.

flower final-1340891

One Comments to “July 18… Step By Step”

  1. Aparigraha says:

    Utpal your blog lets me meet the runners and feel what they are experiencing which would be impossible otherwise. The daily updates and interviews are the highlight of my day with the perfectly chosen aphorisms and the uplifting music.
    Although I can not be there for most of the race, I feel that I am there.
    Thank you for your dedication.

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