Archive for the ‘race interviews’ Category

July 7, Utpal: An Inner Lesson

July 7, 2015
 “What a great day. I am having a soul’s name anniversary.”

5 years ago today, on July 7 2010, both Atmavir and Baladev received their spiritual names.  For spiritual seekers receiving a name is perhaps their most precious possession.  A way of defining themselves in the outer world with a tangible reminder of an inner identity trying always to come to the fore.

“It was on a day when I was also having some problems like this.  I had to stop the race and they took me to see Dr. Kumar and than I came back.” When he arrived one of the race directors handed him an envelop and told him, “you have received a spiritual name.” He stopped for a while to meditate and says, “I was so happy.  That I got my name here at the race.  For us runners it is a privilege to get it here.  Atmavir means hero’s soul.  It is he who has a mighty soul and will attain the absolute.” He says that he chants his name often when he runs.  “It helps me a lot.” atmavir4


July 6, Utpal: I Am Going Beyond

July 6, 2015
“I am moving a little better.” It is now Kaneenika’s 23rd day of running at the 3100 mile race, and even to a casual observer she is clearly moving well, and in the process not making it too easy for a camera man to keep up with her.
In 20 years of competitive running in numerous multi day races, 45 year Kaneenika Janakova has not only moved a lot but achieved a lot along the way.  Thousands upon thousands of miles have passed beneath her feet in those years.  In that time she has set records, won events, and proven herself to be one of the very best distance athletes in the world. Traditionally her premier event has been the 10 day race held each year in Flushing Meadow.  A race that she has won overall on 2 occasions.  It was in 1014 that she set her personal best of 727 miles.  The furthest she has ever run before this race was a 1000 mile event.   But the obstinate hard rectangle, that garlands Thomas Edison High school has begrudgingly surrendered its miles to her.  Its hard surface, glides without notice under a pedestrians shoes, but to runners who become so acquainted to its foibles for 18 hours every day, it is another story. kaneenika-surasaContinue


July 6, Utpal: Things to be grateful for

July 5, 2015
 “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.” ananda-lahari-goodContinue 


July 4, Utpal: America The Beautiful

July 4, 2015

Archived – click Post Title to view all. 21 days ago 12 runners set off on a magnificent journey here.  They came from countries scattered around the world, from a total of 8 different nations.  None of them are American, and yet like the millions who have made their way to the great welcoming shores of this land for nearly 4 centuries, they are seeking an opportunity which their own countries cannot provide. What these explorers seek is of course what we all seek, an opportunity to transcend.  Yet this golden opportunity of running 3100 miles, is one that precious few on earth are ready or willing to take up the challenge. Still all of us have this beacon inside us, that wants to awaken and illumine us.  One, that some of us are conscious of, and who for others, their earthly slumber does not allow them to awaken yet and strive for their own certain perfection. On this July 4th holiday Americans awake from shore to shore with the great promise of what America could and should be safe within their hearts.  Yes there will be fireworks and music and a time for silly things true.  But within each person, on this day, and in this country America, a bright promise still burns. Some may have lost hope that the dream has long vanished, obscured by events and actions that seem so contrary to the vision laid down on parchment in Philadelphia 239 years ago.  But what the founding fathers dreamed for this country the 12 runners pursue in both a…

July 3, Utpal: Running With Your Heart

July 3, 2015
As Nirbhasa runs into the thick middle of his 20th day at the 3100 mile race.  He has now been running twice as long as he has ever run before.  When I point this rather obvious observation out to him he responds with his characteristic wit and accompanying giggle , “it certainly feels like it.”
“I never thought the human body could get this tired.  At the same time I am still quite cheerful, still quite happy.  The race is really all about running with your heart, and with your soul.  You have to run the race from within.  Because if you think of how tired you are, and all the other things going on.  There is really no end to it.  So you just keep going and the miles accumulate.”

Nirbhasa ran 58 miles yesterday, which was better than the 49 miles from the previous day.  He started the day with 1174 miles. Screen-Shot-2015-07-03-at-6.26.36-PM Read more

July 2, Utpal: More Than Enough

July 2, 2015
They have run so many laps and miles together over the past 18 days that is literally impossible to know just how many.  Whatever the number may be it is a lot. Galya completed 1309 miles last night.  He suspects that many hundreds of them have been completed with Stutisheel, running at his side.  The scuffing of their feet along the dusty sidewalk creates a pleasing hypnotic cadence. They have both placed a great dent in the tremendous goal they are both trying to conquer. Stutisheel says, “usually long distance races are quite lonely.  It is good to have a running friend.”

I ask Galya if he missed not running with Stutisheel a few days ago when he was having some problems.  “I was sad the he was suffering. But I stopped almost each lap to talk with him.”

Stutisheel: “He was asking me all the time how I was suffering.  By the way, every time I feel that I am limiting his speed, I just let him go.  He is faster and more powerful right now.” Galya: “We have the same speed when we run together.”  He than jokes that the only reason he ran the race this year was because Stutisheel promised to run 70 mile days. Stutisheel: “Second half.  We have time.”   galya3 Read more


July 1, Utpal: When You Are Inside Your Strength Is Infinite

July 1, 2015

Archived – click Post Title to view all. “I feel it.” Like everybody who is running the 3100 mile race Yuri is not immune from all the noise and confusion that is now continuing to spill across their sacred path. Yet he is finding something positive is coming out of all the discord. “It concentrates you to be inside.  You take all your strength and direct it inward.”  Pointing at a big machine moving past us, “this technology in the outer world is ready to crush you.  But when you are inside nothing threatens you.  The technology that is here blocks your strength.  It is very hard to run.  But when you are inside your strength is infinite.” “This technology is a very good teacher.  It teaches you very quickly.” I then ask if this is the case than he must be receiving a very good lesson. “It forces me to be exactly where I have to be.  It doesn’t allow me to get relaxed.  It doesn’t allow my mind to be floating around in the clouds.  It means I am doing the true inner work within, and that is the way it has to be.” At his home in Vinnitsa Ukraine he says it is very hard there right now. “That which is happening in my country is also happening inside my heart.  When I am there it is very painful.”  There are so many problems that they all cannot be solved quickly or easily.  “They are being resolved but not so fast. I am one with my country and with my people.”…

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