Day One: The First Day of the Rest Of My Life

There are some things that are just so immense, so challenging, and so confoundedly difficult to grasp, that human description usually falls woefully short in shedding any light upon it whatsoever.  This afternoon I ran less than a lap of the 10 day race with kaneennika Janakova and was painfully aware from the moment I took one step, in order to match the rhythm of her stride, that I had no idea of just how strong and talented she really is, and more importantly, how she can possibly keep on maintaining this effort mile after endless mile for 10 straight days.

Ultra distance running is in many ways the world in which she is most comfortable and in tune with.  This 42 year old lady from Slovakia seems to run here with such poise and ease it is almost as though she could be doing this every day of the year and not just for 10 days in Flushing Meadow every spring.  Last year she conquered the overall first place and set a course record of 724 miles.  Yet Kaneenika is just one small piece of this unfathomable puzzle.  Also with her, and sharing the same journey that winds around and about through Flushing Meadow, as the cool overcast afternoon dissolves into a hard dark night, are 35 other runners who will attempt to discover and accomplish their own unique goals in the coming days.

Then you have to acknowledge the crew that worked for days to set up this miraculous but O so temporary community, and the  additional crew of helpers who shuttle back and forth many times a day in order to maintain the practical workings of the race.  Sometimes there are striking moments of clarity when it just seems possible in being able to take it all in.  Rupantar, who is the Sri Chinmoy marathon team race director said to me the day before the start, “if people want to see a real miracle all they have to do is come out here to the race.”
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