I’m running a guest post today by freelance writer Maria Rainier about the 3,100 Mile Self-Trascendance run. That’s right, folks: 3, 100 miles.
I love reading about races like this because it’s a testament to the reslience of the human body. It makes me excited to own such a remarkable dwelling, potentially capable of some incredible things.
I’ll let Maria tell you the rest.
SRI CHINMOY AND 3100 MILES OF SELF-TRANSCENDENCE
by Maria Rainier
Ask your average Jane and Joe if they can run 3,100 miles in the steaming heat of summer and they might go to the trouble of walking across the room to slap that innocent look off your face. They haven’t even heard that they would be given only 51 days to complete the 3,100 miles—approximately 60.78 miles (or 97.82 km) a day.
Nevertheless, since spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy created the Self-Transcendence 3100-Mile Race in the mid-1990s, a small group of runners have gathered annually to smash their self-imposed limitations beneath their heels. In his mind, sports supplied the body and mind with fitness and joy but also expressed his philosophy of self-transcendence, or expanding the consciousness to conquer perceived limitations.
SRI CHINMOY: ATHLETE AND TEACHER
Accusations of misconduct aside, Sri Chinmoy walked the walk in the athletic community. Once a formidable competitor himself, he completed 22 marathons, 5 ultramarathons, and participated in track-and-field events in Masters Games. These include the 1983 World Masters Games in Puerto Rico and the 1993 World Veterans Games in Miyazaki, Japan.
When an injury put a stop to his running career, Sri Chinmoy turned to weights, purportedly lifting 800 lbs with only his right arm less than two months prior to his death in October 2007.
ATHLETICISM AND THE SPIRIT
Runners turn up for the Self-Transcendence 3100-Mile Race in his memory every year, although the list of participants is, as one might imagine, quite short. Ladies’ record-holder Suprabha Beckjord—who completed the 5,649 laps of an extended city block in Jamaica-Queens in 49 days, 14:30:54—is the only participant to have completed every edition of the race. The course record belongs to Wolfgang Schwerk in 41 days, 8:16:29. Asprihanal Aalto has won the most of these races (six out of his nine starts). These athletes and those unnamed tap into the body and mind’s inner reserves of energy and power, doing what even they might on some days believe impossible.
One of his students, Ashrita Furman, today holds 100 Guinness world records and attributes them his Guru’s philosophy. “I am not a natural athlete, but Sri Chinmoy has shown me that if one can be in touch with one’s inner spirit, anything is possible.”
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she’s been writing about online physical education programs along with computer hardware engineering jobs. In her spare time, she enjoys yoga, playing piano, and working with origami.