America's first world ultra title of the century and three national records were won at the second annual Sri Chinmoy 1,000 Mile World Championship, held April 26 - May 11 in Queens, NY.
Shattering the previous world mark by 16 hours, New York's Stu Mittleman, 34, bested former record holder Siegfried Bauer of New Zealand, who finished runnerup. Mittleman ran the distance in 11 days 20:37. Bauer, age 44, ran ten hours over his 1983 record, clocking 12 hours, 22 minutes and 36 seconds.
Photo: Bauer (l) and Mittleman (r) raced neck and neck during most of the 1986 Sri Chinmoy 1,000 Mile Race.
Mittleman is the first American to secure a world ultra-distance record since 1896, when George Littlewood established the world 6-day record. Praising Mittleman's achievement, Race Director Sri Chinmoy told the large finish-line crowd: "Now America has the record for the shortest distance - 100 meters - and the longest distance - 1,000 miles. America is in full command!"
Speaking of his victory, Mittleman said that more than in a shorter ultra race, this was an event in which the support team makes the difference. Mittleman offered high praises to Bauer, who held the lead through day 6 of the event. He could not have achieved his victory, Mittleman said, had it not been for the unrelenting pace set by the great runner, and the emotional support of the other runners during the race's inevitable "down periods." "This was not the accomplishment of one individual's will," Mittleman observed. "It is the collective accomplishment of my handlers, my friends, the Sri Chinmoy people and the runners who helped me."
Canadian Trishul Cherns, 29, lowered his own national record by more than two days, running 13+7:51 to finish third over Britain's Alan Fairbrother, 49, and Dan Coffey, 54. Both Englishmen set new national marks; Fairbrother first with 13+22:49, Coffey following with 14+10:45.
Photo: Trishul Cherns becomes only the second two time finisher of 1,000 miles.
The five runners completing the distance make this the largest field ever to finish a 1,000 mile race. The winners were part of an elite group of 13 ultra distance runners who began the race April 26 on a one-mile looped course in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens. Running and walking up to 21 hours a day, the athletes attempted to cover the equivalent of over 39 marathons by race's close 15 days later, on May 11th at 1pm. Only two of the original 13 competitors dropped out.
Photo: Sri Chinmoy (r) congratulates Stu Mittleman (l), winner and world record holder at the 1986 Sri Chinmoy 1,000 Mile Race.
The sole female competitor at race's close was Sulochana Kallai, a 56 year old Saks Fifth Avenue beauty consultant who logged 595 miles. Sixty-nine year old Willie Rios, the oldest contestant, ran 751 miles. Joe Michaels, former heart attack patient and now president of Cardiac Runners Assoc., ran 569 miles.
This was the fifth 1,000 mile race held in modern racing history. Out of several dozen starters, there are now nine ultra athletes who have completed this distance. Bauer and Cherns are the only athletes who have completed the distance more than once...
The Results with Daily Mileage of the Runners