In the Media

In the Media

Our big ultra races, such as the 6 and 10 day race and the 3100 Mile race, have been the subject of many inspiring articles. We hope to add more articles about the coverage we've received in our 40 year history.
 

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"1000 Mile Race Sees Title Battle - Event Goes Back-To-Back with 24 Hour Race

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New Zealander Siggy Bauer, 44, the first man to conquer 1,000 miles, travels halfway around the world to defend his title. His time for the event is 12 days, 36 hours and 20 minutes. Pitted against the world record holder is reigning American champion Don Choi, winner of last year's event; and Trishul Cherns, the Canadian 1,000 mile champion. An unknown factor is Stu Mittleman, 1985 Ultrarunner of the Year and holder of the American 100 mile road and 6-day records.

Going back to back with the 1,000 mile event is the 7th annual Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Road Race, to be held on the same course one day earlier. Last year's race saw Yiannis Kouros set a world record of 178 miles, despite the fury of Hurricane Gloria. Among this year's field of 40 runners is Don Jewell, who set a North American record in the 1984 event; and 1983 winner Luis Rios. The 24 hour event runs 8am to 8am, April 25 - 26.

There is no prize money for either race. They are being run as pure amateur events, for the love of the sport itself.

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Photo: pioneer ultra runner and race director Don Choi (l) grabs a snack at the 1986 Sri Chinmoy 1,000 Mile Road Race.

The 1,000 mile contenders are well known to area runners. In 1983 Bauer won the NYRRC 6 day race. Choi, a San Francisco postman, pioneered the re-emergence of American multi-day running, organizing then running in and winning the first 48 hour and 6 day races. Cherns, a flower store manager, holds every Canadian multi-day record from 48 hours to 1,000 miles. Mittleman, a native New Yorker, is one of America's most popular and well-known multi-day runners.

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Joe Michaels, Cardiac Runners founder. Photo: Arthur L. Field

The deep and colorful field of multi-day veterans also includes Marvin Skagerberg, who last year raced Englishman Malcolm Campbell 4,000 miles across America; and 69 year old Willie Rios, holder of America senior ultra records from 24 hours to 6 days. Two runners travel from Britain: Alan Fairbrother, a veteran 6-day runner and record holder; and Dan Coffey, 54, holder of world ultra  records for age 50 and over. Joe Michaels, the "Cardiac Runner" who suffered five heart attacks before recuperating by starting to jog, will take part as well. He is the founder and president of Cardiac Runners Inc. The one woman accepted thus far is Francoise Lamothe, 62, from France. She holds numerous world ultra records. (Editor's note: although Francoise Lamothe was unable to attend the race, two other women were later accepted, Kim Cavanagh and Sulochana Kallai).

There is a 15-day cut off for the race.

Pivoting around the competitors, in a "Runners' Village" constructed on the race site, over 100 support team members provide a 24-hour kaleidoscope of action. It is a carnival of sights and sounds along the one-mile loop that skirts the Carousel and Children's Zoo. Cooks serve up flapjacks and stroganoff, midnight soup and banana smoothies. And all the while, the counting crew meticulously logs the passing miles."

"Greek Runner Topples Three World Road Records" (Press Release). November 8, 1984. Retrieved 2012-09-17. Archive copy at the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team Office, Queens, New York.

App24.jpeg"Three world road records fell at the feet of Greek distance runner, Yiannis Kouros, in the Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Race, November 7-8 in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, NY.

Kouros' 177 mile run shattered the standing mark of 170 miles, 231 yards; his 200K time of 15:11:48 eliminated the previous record of 16:40:00 and his 100 mile time of 11:46:36 bested Don Ritchie's longstanding record of 11:51:12. These marks, along with the 16 records he set during the 1984 NYRRC's 6-Day Race on Randall's Island, bring to nineteen his total world records.

Sri Chinmoy, sports philosopher and race director, said to Kouros, 'You are not only a Greek; you have become a universal figure. This is just the beginning. You will do many miracles on earth. Long distance running and your name will go together.'

 

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Other records set during the race included second place Don Jewell's run of 145 miles, 1115.28 yards, besting the North American road record of 140 miles, 229 yards.

First woman, Kay Moore, of Colorado, ran 122 miles, 190.95 yards to better the woman's world age category (40-44) record of 118 miles 1380 yards.

Pausing to savor the victory of the new world record mark set 21 hours, 11 minutes and 45 seconds into the 24-hour race, Yiannis shyly accepted words of encouragement from team founder Sri Chinmoy and listened attentively as members of the host team sang a song written in his honor by Sri Chinmoy. Kouros then generously reciprocated by offering Greek sweets to the entire host team and celebrating bystanders.

 

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The field of 56, the largest field ever assembled for a 24-hour road race, ran on a one-mile loop passing near the zoo grounds of Flushing Meadows Park. Entrants included New York's 68-year-old Willie Rios, who ran a personal best of 90 miles for the 24-hour event despite a back injury sustained while lifting weights. Willie upped his PR by 23 miles. 'Cardiac Runner' Joe Michaels, now well known to both ultra and middle-distance local runners, logged over 81 miles in the third leg of his 'Marathon Grand-Slam' - an attempt to run 3 marathons and 1 ultra marathon in less than one month's time. Sarama Minoli, 54, of the host Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, logged a commendable 80 miles 729 yards, after having completed the Team's 47-mile run in August. (Photo: Sri Chinmoy (l) and NY State Senator Gary Ackerman (r) at the race start). This was the 6th running of the Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour-Race, which is considered by many to be the premiere 24-hour race in the country."

Selections from the media...

  • Coyle, Eddie. "World mark falls as Kouros wins Sri Chinmoy Run." Daily News (New York), November 9, 1984. "Braving the chill night air and the first touch of real fall weather, Yiannis Kouros of Greece added to his living-legend status when he shattered the world's record for 24 hours in winning the Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Run yesterday at Flushing Meadow Park..."

  • Wiener, Caryn Eve. "Bayside Man Runs His Races From - and for - the Heart." New York Newsday, November 12, 1984. "Joe Michaels did not finish first in the Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour run in Flushing Meadows Corona Park. But victory was his, nonetheless. He savored it Thursday morning, relaxing at home after running 81 miles, circling repeatedly the route from the park's zoo to the science building. True, the 43-year-old Bayside man did not cross the finish line ahead of the race's victor, the record-holding Yiannis Kouros of Greece, who ran 177 miles. But Michaels, who has suffered seven heart attacks and a double pulmonary embolism, won by simply being able to compete..."
  • Nick Marshall: 1984 Ultradistance Summary, p71. "Martin Yecies, in 9th place with a PR 120.62 commented, 'Yiannis was a thing of beauty. His form was magnificent, with no wasted motion. The only person I really feel sorry for was Don Jewell. Imagine running 145 miles and being 32 miles behind the winner!' Actually, I imagine Jewell was not too unhappy with his day. While all the attention may have been focused on the headline attraction, Don cranked out a distance that was the best by any American during the year, and surpassed George Gardiner's 1982 U.S. road best by almost 4 miles. The competition spurred on others as well. Luis Rios' 135.40 was a typically solid run by him, but tying with him was Michael Fedak, and that was unexpected. In 7th place, Kay Moore was at it again, with an outstanding 122.10 miles this time. Robyn Hanscom PR'ed behind her at 112.25, as did Pippa Davis with 105 miles.'

Scanned Results...

 

Photos from the Race...

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Sri Chinmoy (r) congratulates local running star and second place finisher, Don Jewell. Ultra great Yiannis Kouros (l) thanks the counting crew upon completion of his record breaking 24 hour run.

 

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Joe Michaels, 'The Cardiac Runner'.

 Willie Rios, holder of numerous veteran world and national records.

 

 

"Around the Country." Runner's World. December 1981.

"Two of America's finest masters runners set new 24-hour track records at the Sri Chinmoy Run on September 26-27 in Greenwich, Conn. Sue Medaglia became the first woman to break 200-K, reaching that mark in 23:41:08 en route to a world record total of 126 miles, 749 yards. Meanwhile, the overall winner, Cahit Yeter, like Sue a 46-year old resident of the Bronx, N.Y., set a new North American record of 155 miles, 1182 yards. The previous record belonged to Canadian Al Howie (149 miles, 706 yards). Yeter, a naturalized citizen born in Turkey, also set a new U.S. 200-K record of 18:10:56, bettering the previous best of 19:40:59 of Bob Van Deusen who also owned the accepted American 24-hour record of 145 miles, 408 yards."

flyer 24 hour.jpgMarshall, Bob. "Medaglia Passes 200 Km for 24 Hour World Record." Ultrarunning. November 1981.

(Greenwich, CT, September 26-27, 1981)

"There is a special quality abut a 24 hour race; a completeness in the full circle of time; an obligation to ration energy per hour rather than per mile. For a journeyman hundred miler, both the 24 hour and the 100 mile races seem to be, at the outset, nearly identical. But really they are two different tests. Milestones are measured in hours completed or hours remaining. The end is not reached cleanly or concisely at a finish line. The final relief approaches not in numbers of laps, but in minutes. There seems to be an interminable time lapse in the last few seconds. The last lap sprint of the hundred miler becomes, in the 24 hour, a sprint, a sag, maybe a half lap to go, another sprint, a half lap or so, can I keep it going? - finally, the end and the drop of the marker. We are deposited around the track like rag dolls scattered in a child's room. The earth has rotated once since we started.

There is also something very special about Sri Chinmoy and his group. Through ultramarathoning I have found what I consider to be an unparalleled inner contentment, yet I can only wonder in awe at the peace and love radiating from each of the Sri Chinmoy followers. At a far corner of the track two young women sang beautiful lyric songs about running and living. On nearly every lap, I was greeted and cheered by name. When it was dark, the track was lighted with dozens of candles in white bags which cast a mystical glow around the far turns. The group provided food: delicious homemade soup, fruits and bread, ERG, coke, water and coffee. A welcome respite for some of us was the first aid tent where one could receive an expert massage, blister treatment, or just a rest and a kind word.

yeter.jpg Cahit Yeter en route to his record breaking run. Photo: Bhashwar

The combination of the 24 hour event and Sri's race support group produced an unforgettable event, and fitting surroundings for the world class performances which resulted. Cahit Yeter and Su Medaglia provided classic examples of how to run an ultra - smooth, steady, knowing one's limits and staying just inside them. On my last laps, when I was locked in a friendly but desperate struggle to stay one lap ahead of Bob Sweetgall (the Delaware Madman of the Six-Day Race), I was unable to run with Yeter. It boggles my mind to think that he had run 50 miles further than I, a whole ultra further, yet I couldn't stay with him. Awesome!

There were some early front-runners who set a terrific pace George Gardiner hit 50 miles in just over 6 hours, and 24-hour veteran Bob Van Deusen ran well in the early going. But as the day wore on they faded, and by 100 miles, Yeter had a lead of over an hour on the rest of the field. Ron Berby, Ron Bomberger, Jim Sheridan and Ysau Shimizu turned in tremendous performances as well. I particularly remember Kim Cavanaugh's very gutsy race. She never quit, and kept moving for the whole 24 hours.

A most vivid impression of mine is that ultramarathoners, particularly those who run 100 miles and beyond, are the most unlikely of group of athletes in the world. The gaunt, sleek, smooth-striding look of the 10 km runner or marathoner is not to be applied to the group I ran with here. Physical appearances ranged from weightlifters to the plump middle-aged to the skinny. Running styles were even more bizarre - charging, flatfooted, shuffling, knock-kneed, pigeon-toed, race walking, upright and hunched. The one common denominator is the mental toughness, the strength and desire to drive one's body through a twenty-four hour endurance test.

ckg corbitt at 24 hour race_0.jpg Sri Chinmoy (l) with ultra legend Ted Corbitt at the awards ceremony of the Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Run. Photo: Shraddha Howard

At the award ceremony I felt as though we were all winners; it was tremendous!! We sat in a circle of friendship and shared the moment - perhaps the first time that 24 runners bested 100 miles in a 24 hour race. World and national records were set by masters and junior performers. Sri Composed a song which the group sand to us. Van Deusen and Yeter shook hands; Cahit had broken his American record for 200 km, lowering it from 19:40 to 18:10:56, as well as his national 24 hour record. Race director Tarak Kauff announced the awards and Sri Chinmoy presented them. I had my brief moment, barely able to stand and accept Sri's hand. Suddenly it was over - the greatest 24 hour race ever held on American soil. I'll be back."

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Sue Medaglia, in her first 24 hour race, sets new world 24 hour track record and becomes the first women to break the 200K barrier in 24 hours. Photo: Bhashwar

Ultrarunning adds:

Sue Medaglia and Cahit Yeter, both 46, both from the Bronx and both running in their first 24 hour event each took home two records in winning the Sri Chinmoy race. Yeter, a well-known veteran ultramarathoner who ran two excellent 100 mile times this summer, took over the U.S. lead in the 24 hour and 200 km events, taking both marks away from Bob Van Deusen. Medaglia captured the same two records, held by March Schwam and Sue Ellen Trapp, respectively, but her performance was good for two world records. By running 126 miles, 749 yards (203.462 km), she became the first woman to surpass the 200 km mark in one day.

At age 46, Sue hopes that she can inspire other older women, who might feel that such an age is too advanced for competitive running. Though she has run many, many ultras, including a win at the 1980 Old Dominion 100 Miler, she wasn't aiming for a record in this race. An injury hampered her summer training, and she began specific training for the 24 hour only in September, putting in one stretch of six 20 mile days. During the race itself, she cruised easily through the first 100 miles without walking, but then, like most other 24 hour runners, experienced a loss of energy. She took a walking break, but then continued on, hitting the 200 km mark in 23:41:08. Future plans? Sue will continue to run ultras, but breaking 3 hours in the marathon is a major goal.

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brochure 1980 half marathon.jpgToy, Atala. "Sri Chinmoy Half-Marathon". Runner Gazette December 1980.

"The Sri Chinmoy Half-Marathon was held in Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, NY on Sunday, November 16,1980.

Despite the chilly weather it was a Caribbean weekend for the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team. While leader Sri Chinmoy was in Puerto Rico, being honored by the San Juan government for his contributions to running, the Sri Chinmoy Half-Marathon was being won by Jesus Figueroa (1:07:51) who had recently moved from Puerto Rico to the Bronx. Figueroa also headed the winning NY Track and Field Circuit combine that won the Team Trophy Division with a low 10 points (first, second and seventh place winners).

One of those who traveled farthest just to attend the run was 67-year old Canadian Ray Deschambault, winner of the oldest runner award. Ray divides his time between Montreal and DeWitt, NY; and won in his age division just the week before at the Montreal Sri Chinmoy 13K. He traveled to New York to run the Half-Marathon because, he said, Sri Chinmoy makes him happy.

Winner in the 55-60 division was sportswriter Mort Kail of the Westchester Rockland Newspapers. Mort began running two years ago - to keep up with the running column he had begun writing."

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Runners pass the Unisphere during the Sri Chinmoy Half-Marathon on November 16 at Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, New York. Photo: Bhashwar Hart

"MacIntyre Uncontainable, Sweigart Unbelievable." The Running Tab (CT). August 1979.

Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual master, believes that the ego should not be used as a tool for selfish reasons but rather as a gift of giving for mankind. In the spirit of giving, Mark MacIntyre soared above all to win the Sri Chinmoy Triathlon in Groton and Mystic, July 29 in 2:49:23, almost 10 minutes ahead of second place finisher, Rejean Gauthier in 2:58:04. Kiki Sweigart, third place overall and first place woman stunned viewers with her magnificent 3:03:23.

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Musante, Fred. "On the Run." The Sunday Post, Bridgeport, April 8, 1979.

The Sri Chinmoy Centers around the country probably have become better known for their 10-mile races than for their meditation classes...

These are not the over-promoted running extravaganzas that collapse under their own weight when it becomes painfully obvious that the promoters  themselves don't run. The Sri Chinmoy 10-milers usually attract a good crowd, and like the race which took place in Fairfield last Sunday, a reasonably fast front pack...

The 10-milers organized by Sri Chinmoy's disciples during the last 2 years are a way they may serve humanity. Sri Chinmoy said his followers are devoted to that aim, and with so many thousands of people running, including many of his disciples, it became a way to promote that goal.

In 1976, a group of Sri Chinmoy's students participated in a 50 state relay to celebrate the ideals on which America was founded. Here are some extracts from the brochure for that initiative, along with some media coverage the event garnered:

"A Bicentennial Offering:

  • Non-stop, Round-the-clock, Relay Run Through All 50 States
  • 27 Runners
  • 8,800 Miles
  • 46 Days
  • Carrying a Flaming Torch to Symbolize the Rekindling of Spiritual Values and Human Ideals Upon Which (our) Country Was Founded

 

"We are a group of young men who share a deep love and concern for America. We see the American Bicentennial as the symbol of a new dawn and a timely inspiration for all Americans to rededicate themselves to the deeper spiritual values and human ideals upon which our country was founded. Further, we see our nation as having tremendous opportunity and responsibility in the coming years to inspire goodness, truth and self-sacrifice in the hearts of all mankind.

liberty torch brochure 1.jpg"Thus, it is to draw attention to these spiritual ideals imparted to us by our founding fathers two-hundred years ago that we have undertaken this run.

"In January, members of Liberty Torch ran a 360 mile, non-stop relay from New York through Philadelphia to Washington, D.C. They carried a flaming torch and passed many of the historical and Revolutionary landmarks along the way. The closing ceremony was held at the Washington Monument where the runners were officially received by Casey Conrad, the President's Advisor on Physical Fitness. Mr. Conrad read a letter from President Ford commending the Liberty Torch runners for the part they were playing in laying the cornerstone of America's third century."

Burghardt, Dee. "They Carried A Torch For Their Country's Greatness." The New Haven Register. Monday, November 29, 1976.

When the heartbeat of a country is touched anything can happen.

The heartbeat of America was touched this summer and it pumped new life into many people. Mayors in small towns got up in the wee morning hours to prepare huge breakfasts, editors almost missed deadlines, CBers thought they were going nuts and hundreds of people in the nation got up and ran. And while some simply stood and wept with happiness, other tried to give money away.

Valerio, Joseph. "Carrying a Torch for America's Values." New York Post. August 17, 1976.

...After 51 days, after logging 8800 miles through all 50 states with the torch constantly moving through the countryside, the Liberty Torch Run had ended in a blaze of glory.

'This is a year in which it seems as though everybody is running...for something,' Mayor Beame told a hundred flag-wavers and white-collar workers. 'They did it as a way of celebrating our country's 200 years of expanding freedom. They wanted to show how America's spiritual values have been rekindled.'

No Politician ever spoke truer words...in any election year. This was the perfect footnote to America's bicentennial Celebration...

"Liberty Torch Troupe Back After a Long Run." The New York Times. Tuesday, August 27, 1976.

'Look at them coming down the street, aren't they wonderful?' said a deeply tanned Mayor Beame, who proclaimed yesterday 'Liberty Torch Day.'

The Sedan Times-Star (Kansas). Wednesday, July 14, 1976.

There are times when we all doubt. We doubt the future, we doubt our abilities, we doubt if the bicentennial means anything, we doubt our leaders, and so on and on.

But a society that produces young men - 22 to 36 - who dream up a thing like Liberty Torch, and then set out to carry it out with money from their own pockets, has to have some good in it - very much good in it for that matter...

But as long as there are people like those who are relaying the Liberty Torch on foot through the 48 states, and by air to Alaska and Hawaii, on their own because it seems to be a good idea in a Bicentennial year, we think things are going to continue to go on for a long, long time.

The following words are from a song Sri Chinmoy wrote to honor America:

 

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The Police Officers Journal. Vol 3, No. 12, October 1978.

Winners All: Patrolman Charles Kennedy, running under the colors of the 26th Pct., led a large field across the finish line and copped the annual Sri Chinmoy 5-Miles Run on Sunday, October 1. The race, sponsored by the Harlem YMCA, Harlem Hospital, the 32d Pct., and the Sri Chinmoy Centre, drew an appreciative crowd of athletes and dignitaries.

"On The Final Leg." Greenwich Time, CT., October 1977.

About 275 hardy souls of all ages completed the course...The race, held to raise money for UNICEF, was watched by Sri Chinmoy...who presented medals and awarded the UNICEF Cup to Dr. Norb Sander, 35, the winner of the 1974 New York City Marathon, who finished the race in 54 minutes.

The October 2014 issue of United Airlines Hemisphere magazine, under 'What you want to watch', previews Challenging Impossibility, a 2011 documentary film, produced by Sanjay Rawal and Natabara Rollosson,  which chronicles the weightlifting odyssey of the spiritual teacher Sri Chinmoy, who in 1985 at the age of 54 took up weightlifting and performing feats of strength. The film is available for in-flight viewing and was a selection of the Tribeca Film Festival.

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