Utpal’s Interview with Asprihanal (full article read here)



 “I run around the block mostly to get Ideas. Everybody else is getting miles.” Ashprihanal is in a playful mood this morning. It may be for a number of very good reasons. The rain, which has been relentless for days has finally stopped. For the runners it means one less formidable adversary. Or it could as well be the fact he ran 79 miles yesterday which means his current average is 75 miles a day. This technically puts him on track, at least for the moment, of potentially setting a new course record.

Ashprihanal of course is not constructed of the same raw ambition which drives most world class athletes. He is a light and almost ethereal being who does not look as though he runs like most mortals. It appears more as though he flutters, like a small graceful bird just above the unforgiving course. He is never interested in recounting his statistics or his records. He is not about glorifying his achievements or setting himself off toward distant goals. He is all about the moment. There is a genuine humility about this flying Finn who has run this race 8 times and has won it 5 times.

The ideas he is talking about is for a short impromptu skit that he and Grahak will in a few minutes perform for Parvati and her singers. Today will be their third performance. He says, “How it started off, it was raining for 3 days. I was all the time changing shoes. It was rain, rain, rain. Then Grahak and I started thinking about a play. It gave me such joy I forgot about the rain.”

The duo’s first performance involved Ashprihanal pretending to punch Grahak who would then pretend to loose a tooth. He tells me how apprehensive he was about doing it. “Yeah, I was a little scared. I had to punch somebody and they were singing so soulfully.” The girls loved it and laughed joyfully for several minutes afterwards.

His training in the past year was hampered by a serious infection which took some time for the Doctors in Helsinki to diagnose. Once he was prescribed antibiotics, his condition improved dramatically. He does admit to having trained less over the past year. He admits that at one time he ran as much as 3 times a day and participated in many distance races during a single year. He says, “I am happy that I haven’t trained and raced too hard.”ashrpiahanal1

I ask him what part of the day he likes best and he says, “The evening is always best. You know that your are going to go home. It is cooler and there is no sun. Normally it is just peaceful. The toughest time is between 12 and 5. That is when I am falling asleep.”

“One day at a time. I don’t think about next week. I just don’t try and think too much. The mind complains and you make less mileage. Let’s see what happens.”

Of his teacher Sri Chinmoy, he says that in creating this Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race he knew that it would be good for those who could come and take part. Both for all the runners, and as well for those who helped it to take place, in any capacity. He says, “Sri Chinmoy made everything possible. For us it is all about progress. We make so much progress here. For us it is really really a blessing to be here and to run. At least it is good for me. Otherwise, I wouldn’t do it over and over again. The most important thing is that I am trying to do my best and trying to make progress.”

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