Day 51… You Have To Believe (August 6)

“It’s coming close to the end.”  I don’t think I have ever seen Sopan this happy in the past 51 days.  This morning however he has a great reason to be having such joy that it can bring additional light up into the sky.  He is just a few laps away from 3,000 miles and now less than 2 days from completing the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race.

It is never a foregone conclusion that this would happen nor is it ever so for even the most gifted of runners.  The race will always challenge you, and humble you, and nurture you in ways you could never dream.

It was 13 years ago as a young person of 25 that he set the record for the youngest runner to ever run the race.  In the great gap in between he has not always been granted the gift of completing the distance.

Photo by Vaibhava

Tomorrow however it will most certainly be his personal victory.  A victory over adversity which dogged his heels for many days and yet could not contain his will to succeed.  Or perhaps it is just the light within declaring that this summit of transcendence he has justly earned.  A goal he surrendered all of himself, to the higher force within, in order to attain.

When asked if he was ever worried, “you never know until the end. Anything can happen.  But you have to have faith in order to make it.  You cannot doubt yourself all the time and make it.”

Photo by Vaibhava

“You have to believe.  You have to believe that you can make it.  That is your very first step.”

“I have gotten physically stronger.  It is possible because as you grow spiritually stronger it also makes you physically stronger.  I had some difficulties about 10 days ago  and I felt that this made me stronger.”

“Even on the worst days everything just worked out.  That is the whole magic about the race.  It feels as though there is always a guiding and protecting force.  Things just work out one way or another.”

Photo by Vaibhava

Sopan is happy of course that the finish line is getting very close.  He hopes to try and continue and maintain the inner experience that he felt here this year.  He wants to build upon it.

He says disconnecting from the race is unavoidable.  “But the inner cry always remains. For me this race is all about the transformation of nature.  This remains, it doesn’t go away.”

When asked about Sri Chinmoy, the founder of the race, Sopan says, “I don’t feel his physical presence.  But I feel that he is spiritually present here.  His spiritual force is more alive than ever.  The spiritual force, the inner presence, for me is much more important than the physical.”

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Day 42… Constant Transcendence (July 28 )

Sopan starts the day with 2468 miles.  With just 642 more miles to go and a buffer of 25 miles his chances look very good to be able to complete the distance.  He tells me this morning he feels pretty good, which translate into not having severe blister pain.

“Which means I can start running.”  For the first hour of the day he is walking and gradually warming up his very tired muscles.  “It is part of the race.”

Telling me about the blisters he seems confidant that they come, heal, and then go.  “It is nothing like a disaster.”

Now with just 11 days left he feels the race winding down.  “But that is why I try and focus only on today.  If I start to think about the next few days then the race for me goes really slow.  It makes me impatient.  You want to get to the finish line but it is still a long way.  In my case it is still over 600 miles.”

“I feel connected to the goal. So I try and follow this link.  For me it is almost like connecting to a different world.  You become detached from all that you have experienced before.  You become connected to a new world a new experience.”

“Every runner experiences the race in a different way.  Everyone needs a different experience.  And when you are here you get the experience you need to get.  You cannot control what experience you get.  You can only surrender to it and move forward.  You have to except what is happening, keep moving forward, and keep making progress.  Both with miles and with inner progress.”

Photo by Spontaneous Beauty

“You have to overcome your own inner limitations, that also create your outer limitations.”

Sopan has had many significant experiences when Sri Chinmoy used to visit the race.  “12 years ago when I completed my 2nd race here in 2006.  He was giving an interview to a journalist of a local TV station.  It was 4 hours before my finish and I was running by and heard Sri Chinmoy saying, we can be truly happy only when we constantly transcend ourselves, both inwardly and outwardly.”

Sopan says that before he left the course he gave him a big smile.  Later he would come back for his finish and gave him his spiritual name, Sopan. “I had constant experiences with Sri Chinmoy when he came to the race but this was a special one.”

The Board at the Start of Day 42 …*Note totals may not be accurate, Magic Number is 2,443 *


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