Sri Chinmoy taught that spiritual growth means self-transcendence, constant expansion, always going beyond the boundaries set by our minds. To make that a concrete reality for us, he advocated long-distance running. The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team was a pioneer in the field of ultramarathons, specially in multi-day races, such as the triple ultra (700, 1,000 and 1,300 miles) and the six and ten-day races. In 1996, the team directed an unprecedented distance: 2,700 miles. The next year, Sri Chinmoy asked the team to put on an even more astounding race of 3,100 miles! Here was a race that defied all reason; only those willing to dive deep within and draw upon on the strength of their hearts and souls could even attempt the race. Since then, every year, (with the exception of the 2020 Covid hiatus, when the race was run in Austria), a small field of warrior-runners has braved the heat and humidity of summertime New York to circle a small sidewalk loop in Queens from 6 a.m. to midnight. for a maximum of 52 days. With the crucial support of many dedicated volunteers to set up and maintain the race site, to prepare food for runners and helpers, and to provide medical assistance, the race has led to many ultra records, has won the admiration and astonishment of the world, and has demonstrated the power of soulful determination and dedication.
One thing that sticks out in my mind with this race, Guru had been asking us for four years to put the race on. Guru actually said at one point, “You have to put it on next year.”
Please understand that before that, one thousand three hundred miles was our longest race that we put on.
Again, it was transcending, like everything. Guru was pushing a new limit, and he finally had to say, “Do it next year.”
Guru set the hours. He said 6 a.m. to midnight. This is quite unique in itself. I know being around Guru for so many years, that Guru had set long hours for one or two projects. Often he would set hours to work, but such long hours were like, phew! boy!
I identified those hours with how Guru looked at his day in outwardly serving humanity. His day around disciples would often be about that time, from 7 a.m. to midnight. Guru came to the race, wow, five times, four times, six times a day.
I remember one time when Guru commented about the race, about the runners and the people in the race. He said, “These are the real impossibility-challengers. They have a dauntless spirit and they are indomitable in every sense of the term.”
So you have to put it in perspective. Most people, you tell them and they say that it’s impossible. People don’t imagine you can do this, especially around a city block. The fact that people are actually doing it is the most incredible thing.
And your impossibility-challenges
Both in your inner life
And in your outer life!
Sri Chinmoy 1