Sri Chinmoy 700, 1000 and 1300 Mile Races

Results 1987

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Photo: Marty Sprengelmeyer (l), Ray Krolewicz (c)and Tom Grace (r) enjoy a few minutes rest in the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race

The race was run in three divisions - 700 miles, 1,000 miles and 1,300 miles - and entrants selected a division in which to participate and receive awards. The race itself holds the record as the longest annually held certified race in the world.

Overall mileage winners were Marty Sprengelmeyer of Davenport, Iowa, with 1,250 miles in the 1,300 mile division; and Pippa Davis, a British citizen living in Westford, Massachusetts, with 832 miles in the 1,000 mile division. Both now hold the record for the most mileage ever run in history in a certified race - Sprengelmeyer overall and Davis for women. Tom Grace of Richmond Hills finished as the first man in the 1,000 mile race with 567 miles and Sulochana Kallai of Jamaica, NY set the world record for the most mileage ever run by a woman over 50 - 655 miles in 13 days. She finished fourth overall in the 700 mile division.

One especially rewarding aspect of this race was the large number of trained women participants - 10 in all, none of whom dropped out (two men dropped out, for health or other reasons). Less than ten years ago a main topic of sports discussion was whether women were physically and emotionally capable of running a marathon (26.2 miles). It was not until 1984 that the Olympics permitted women to run the marathon in international competition. In the 1,300 mile race, national women's records were broken or established for the USA, Canada, Britain, France and Japan, as well as world records. Perhaps more importantly, the women stood high in competition against the men. Their top mileage finishers hold positions 5 through 10 in the over all results, against highly accomplished men ultrarunners. The popular theory that at ultradistances the competitive differences between men and women diminish is given factual support in this event. Women took first place in overall standings in both the 1,000 mile (Pippa Davis) and 700 mile (Antana Locs of Canada with 691 miles) divisions. Seven of these women are from the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team itself. Team founder Sri Chinmoy has, from the Team's beginnings, been a strong supporter of equality in training and opportunity for men and women.

Photo: Marty Sprengelmeyer circles the Unisphere en route to winning the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race.

In this third annual running of the Sri Chinmoy race, the distance had been extended from 1,000 miles to 1,300 miles, making the race the longest certified race in history. Two subdivisions, with stringent rules, were established. Runners chose in which event they wished to take part, but had to meet all lower mileage requirements or withdraw. The 700 mile requirement was 12 days (13 days for women) and for 1,000 miles it was 15 days (16 days for women). Everyone had 18 days in which to reach 1,300 miles or as close to it as possible.

After the 700 mile cut off point, only 4 men and 2 women remained in the race. After the 1,000 mile point, only three men remained: Marty Sprengelmeyer in 1st place with 1050 miles, Michel Careau in second with 1007 miles and Dan Coffey in third with 1002 miles. Kouros had dropped out of the race at the end of day 1, having run 150 miles on an injured knee that took him into surgery two days later. Gaudin (4th place finisher with 875 miles) and Touchard ( 14th overall with 626 miles) were both eliminated at the 1,000 mile point.

img172.jpgFor the last three days of the race, Michel like the other two remaining runners, see-sawed back and forth between looking fit enough to run a marathon to looking rather haggard. By race's end Michel had extended his lead over Coffey and finished with 1152 miles to Coffey's 1125. First place winner Marty Sprengelmeyer was the real dark horse winner. His longest runs to date had been several 24 hour races and he had never done a multiday event. His 1250 miles is the longest any human being has ever run in a certified race. At race's end, his wife Donna thanked the Team for taking a chance by admitting such a "new" runner, and hoped they would continue the practice in the future.

Photo: Michel Careau (r) receives a visit at the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race from Rene Marleau, Delegate General of Quebec in New York (l) and Gaston Harvey, Quebec's Consular for Public Affairs (ctr).

Michel Careau, age 47, entered the race holding all Canadian Masters records from 24 hours through six days - the highest a Canadian Master had run to date. His six day record of 613 miles was based on his having run more than the existing Canadian record (403 miles, by Paul Collins), even though it was set by him at a 5 day race. He exited holding the Canadian record for the most miles ever run in a certified race, the Canadian record for 1,100 miles (15 days 19:31:47), and all Canadian Masters records through the 1,100 mile point - including bettering his own six day mileage by running 463 miles on days 6 - 12 of the race. His 1,000 mile time of 14 days 18:54:57 ranks him 6th in the world.

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Photo: Dr. Shataknuma Ferenz (r) treats a wincing Chanakhya Jakovic (ctr) while Antana Locs (l) and a dog look on.

Meanwhile, in the 700 mile division, another dark horse came in first: Antana Locs, 28, of Montreal, Canada. Ms. Locs, a member of the sponsoring Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, had run a number of 24 hour events. She proved to be a strong runner and by day 2 settled into  first place overall. After fighting off a mid-race challenge from American Pragati Pascale that saw Ms. Locs drop to second place for several days in a row, Ms. Locs finished with 691 miles to Ms. Pascale's 673. On the way to this victory, Ms. Locs established a Canadian women's 48 hour record of 137 miles, ran 279 miles to break Kanchan Scott's existing 5 day record of 257 miles, establishing a new Canadian women's record for 6 days (329 miles) and 1,000 kilometers (11 days 21:51:49) and ran the farthest any Canadian woman has ever run in a certified race.

 

About the author:

Rupantar has been the race director of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team since 1985, having been asked by Sri Chinmoy to serve in that capacity. As well as working on the big races the US Marathon Team organise each year - the 3100 Mile Race and the Six and 10 Day Race - he also spends a considerable amount of time archiving the Marathon Team's 40 year history on this website.

...Careau was one of 5 runners of French origin to take part in the Sri Chinmoy race. The others include Bernard Gaudin, France's greatest ultrarunner; Arlette Touchard, one of the greatest women ultrarunners in the world and current 48 hour world record holder; and Jean-Claude Czaja and Jacques de Roquefeuil, both seasoned ultrarunners...

This was the first multi-day race for Gaudin (from Gascougnolles), who specializes in the ultra distance length (up to 24 hours). He finished 4th overall in total distance, with 875 miles in 15 days. Arlette Touchard's 626 miles in 16 days gave her the 2nd place trophy in the women's division of the 1,300 mile segment and 9th place overall in the event. Jean-Claude Czaja, of Haudainville, ran 640 miles in 12 days for 6th place and Jacques de Roquefeuil, of Paris, ran 607 miles in 12 days for 10th place...

Overall mileage winners were Marty Sprengelmeyer of Davenport, Iowa, with 1,250 miles in the 1,300 mile division; and Pippa Davis, a British citizen living in Westford, Massachusetts, with 832 miles in the 1,000 mile division. Both now hold the world records for the most miles ever run in history in a certified race - Sprengelmeyer overall and Davis for women. Michel Careau ranks 2nd in the world, first in Canada for the most mileage in a certified race and Arlette Touchard has the highest mileage ever run by a French woman in a certified race.

 

 

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Photo: Sri Chinmoy places the victory garland on Marty Sprengelmeyer, winner of the 1,300 Mile Race

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About the author:

Rupantar has been the race director of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team since 1985, having been asked by Sri Chinmoy to serve in that capacity. As well as working on the big races the US Marathon Team organise each year - the 3100 Mile Race and the Six and 10 Day Race - he also spends a considerable amount of time archiving the Marathon Team's 40 year history on this website.

 

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A brief history of the three races, including runner bios: ("The Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Road Race." Brochure. June 5, 1987)

 

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The Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Road Race begins at 12 noon on Friday, June 5 and continues until 12 noon on Tuesday, June 23. This is the third year this race has been held. In 1985 and 1986 the race was 1,000 miles in distance. This is the first year the mileage has been extended (700 miles and 1,300 miles). The world record for 1,000 miles was set by Stu Mittleman at the 1986 event: 11 days 20 hours 36 minutes. (Photo: the runners line up for the start. Sri Chinmoy is at center just under the Canadian flag)

 

The pre-race expectations were high:1987 was the birth of the historic Ultra Trio, 3 ultra distance races in one; 700, 1,000 and 1,300 miles. With many of the world's top ultra runners competing in the three races, the pre race buildup was amazing!

("World's Leading Ultrarunners Compete in 1,300 Mile Race" (Press Release). Toy, Atala. May 26, 1987.)

 

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Photo: Yiannis Kouros (#1) passes the Peace Torch to Bernard Gaudin (#2) at the start of the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race. Seen lined directly behind Gaudin are Jaques de Roquefeuil and Jean Claude Czaja.

World's Leading Ultrarunners Compete in 1,300 Mile Race

Yiannis Kouros of Greece, world record holder in all distances from 200K through 6 days, duels France's great ultrarunner, Bernard Gaudin, at the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 mile race, Flushing Meadow Corona Park, Queens, NY, June 5 - 23. Both men are running the 1,000 mile segment of the 3-segment event that has categories at 700 miles (cut off: 12 days), 1,000 miles (cut off: 15 days) and 1,300 miles (cut off: 18 days)...(for the complete article)

 

After 2 days of running with some surprises, our press release read:

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French Runners Dominate Sri Chinmoy 1300 Mile Race:

With muscles tightening from two solid days of running, and the smiles of anticipation replaced by a determined set to newly bearded-jaws, three Frenchmen - and one French woman - are vying for command of the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race, taking place now in Flushing Meadow Corona Park, Queens. Leading the group are Bernard Gaudin and Arlette Touchard (see photo left), who reign as France's greatest ultrarunners. Touchard commands a 10 mile lead for the women with 150 miles at day 2. Gaudin, leading at 1 1/2 days, was surpassed by American Marty Sprengelmeyer in the late evening hours and is battling now to regain his lead. There is a feeling in some quarters that Sprengelmeyer, an accomplished ultrarunner new to the multiday ranks, may be going out too fast and Gaudin is playing a waiting game. Sprengelmeyer has 198 miles to Gaudin's 175 miles at day 2.

Twenty-four athletes - the largest field ever at such an event - began running Friday, June 5 at 12 noon and will finish Tuesday, June 23 at 12 noon. Runners may compete in only one of three divisions: the 700 mile race, the 1,000 mile race and the 1,300 mile race. All French are highly accomplished ultrarunners and elected the longest event (1,300 miles)... (for the complete article)

 

What happened to Yiannis Kouros?

(again from out press release)

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Yiannis Kouros, the pre-race favorite in the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race (June 5-23), bowed out at the 24 hour point as multiple knee injuries turned his easy gait into a steady limp. Despite his injuries, he held first place for the day with 150 miles, only 28 miles off his own world record, and 48 miles ahead of second place runner Bernard Gaudin of France. Kouros heads to surgery on his knee Tuesday morning at Manhattan's Hospital for Joint Diseases. Gaudin, France's top ultrarunner, soon moved into the lead, to a surprising upset in the evening hours from Iowa's Marty Sprengelmeyer, a veteran ultrarunner in his first multiday event. Sprengelmeyer leads at day 2 with 198 miles. France's Arlette Touchard, Women's World Record holder for 48 hours, leads for the women with 160 miles...

Photo: Marty Sprengelmeyer, winner of the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race (with 1250 miles) and holder of several world records.

Over 22 Records Set in Sri Chinmoy Ultraraces

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Photo: Suprabha (left) and Pragati take a short break  while they soak their tired feet in ice water

So, how did the three races end? (from our press releases)

Pragati Pascale of Jamaica, Queens now holds the record for the most mileage ever run by an American woman in a certified race (673 miles) and Willie Rios of Bellerose, New York holds the world record for the most mileage ever run by a man over 70 in a certified race (465 miles). Both records are among over 22 broken or newly established by the 24 ultrarunners who took part in the 3rd annual Sri Chinmoy 1300 Mile Race. The event was held on a one-mile loop skirting the Unisphere in Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, from June 5-23...(for the complete article)

 

 

How did the Canadians do?

(again from our press releases)

 

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A garlanded Michel Careau completes 1,000 miles

 

Many national records were set by Canadians Michel Careau and Antana Locs at the 3rd annual Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race, held in Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, New York from June 5-23, 1987.

The twenty-four runners assembled for this invitational event were some of the finest ultrarunners in the world - with a smattering of multiday neophytes whom race director Tarak Kauff sensed had the will if not the experience. The race was the largest ever assembled for a distance event in this range and the 10 women entrants made it the largest women's field ever assembled. Runners included the legendary Greek hero Yiannis Kouros - holder of every world ultra record from 200 kilometers through 700 miles, the longest race he'd participated in to date; Bernard Gaudin, France's greatest ultrarunner and second in the 24 hour event only to Kouros; Arlette Touchard of France, women's world record holder for the 48 hour event and Dan Coffey, 1,000 mile veterans world record holder...(for the complete article)

"Government Runner". Excerpts from the magazine Saturday Night (Canada) on ultra great Michel Careau

And the French? (again from our press release)...

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Fellow countrymen Jacques de Roquefeuil and world record holder Bernard Gaudin (holding the Peace Torch, right) compete in the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race

French Set Records At Sri Chinmoy Ultrarace

Michel Careau, a French Canadian from Hull, Quebec, set a new Canadian Masters record for 6 days (465 miles) and Arlette Touchard of Chelles, France, set a new French women's record for 1,000 kilometers (12 days 22:56:41) at the 3rd Annual Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race. (for the complete article)

 

The results

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The overall standing of the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race (700, 1000 and 1300 mile races), June 5-23, 1987, and the records established in the race.

Photo: Sri Chinmoy leads the runners in applause for their participation the historic 1,300 Mile Race.

What was it like during the 1,300 Mile Race

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Bhikshuni Weisbrot shares her thoughts in "A Counter's Reflection on the Race".

Photo: Pippa Davis receiving a well  deserved massage. But who's  helping who?

Sri Chinmoy's address to the runners

 

img155.jpg Sri Chinmoy address to the runners prior to the start of the 1,300 Mile Race.

 

About the author:

Rupantar has been the race director of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team since 1985, having been asked by Sri Chinmoy to serve in that capacity. As well as working on the big races the US Marathon Team organise each year - the 3100 Mile Race and the Six and 10 Day Race - he also spends a considerable amount of time archiving the Marathon Team's 40 year history on this website.

by Bhikshuni Weisbrot

img175.jpgDay 12: One builds a 700, 1,000 or 1,300 miles race the same way those high risers in New York go up - one step at a time. By 272 hours 17 minutes and 57 seconds into the run, the leaders in their respective races have racked up miles that look like this: 700 mile race - Antana Locs, 596 miles; 1,000 mile race - Pippa Davis, 594 miles; 1,300 mile race - Marty Sprengelmeyer, 819 miles.

Contrary to the popular opinion of the wear and tear of time, race leader Marty looks limber, cheerful and about as good as he did on Day 1. He has maintained the lead since Day 2, when Yiannis Kouros dropped out to have knee surgery after completing 150 miles in 24 hours...Dan Coffey at 786 miles  in the 1,300 miler and now second place holder, is a veteran and one of only 14 people in the world to have completed 1,000 miles in a race - in last year's Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team's 1,000 miler. He has returned to compete for 1,300 miles and maintains only a 32 mile lead over Canadian Masters champion Michel Careau.

img174.jpgThe 1,300 mile goal indicates a new challenge over last year's 1,000 miler, with the novel twist of three races being run simultaneously. This race is innovative and unique and has drawn an international field who belie the definition of an "ultramarathon runner". There are chaps like Dan Coffey, in a very British-style Nottingham Running Club T-shirt; and the steel-tough Gaulic running greats Bernard Gaudin and Arlette Touchard, who together with the diplomatic French-Canadian Michel Careau, two other French entrants and Bernard's handler Yves Pol (world record holder for the backwards marathon - 4:38) make this an event francaise. There is the mad sportsman Ray Krolewicz, the practical and earthy Pippa Davis and local favorites like the diminutive, graceful Izumi Yamamoto, the humble Tom Grace and the ageless 70-year old Willie Rios. The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team is represented in the running ranks by 7 women and one man, all ultrarunning veterans. This runner's village is a blend of the homespun & the exotic!

Photo: Chanakhya Jakovic rests in the pool at the foot of the Unisphere.

The support for an 18 day race is extensive. NYRRC president Fred Lebow drops in from the Shea Stadium 100 miler across the street, surveys the scene and asks: "You've got a small town here! Who's mayor?" Again the SCMT provides 24 hour medical, counting shifts and race personnel; sleeping quarters and a kitchen fully equipped with stove, potholders and a slightly shorter than wall-to-wall linoleum floor. The menu is bland, vegetarian and high in carbohydrates - widely agreed to be almost perfect for most. Occasional vats of Baskin Robbins ice cream are the signal for Bruce McNeely to serve as town crier, circling the 1 mile loop while enthusiastically announcing "ice cream! to every runner he passes. Bruce is a hang-loose Californian, now teaching in Spain. This is his first multiday, as it is also for Marty Sprengelmeyer, who is an accomplished 24 hour runner.

Day 13: Midnight, June 16 - 12 hours before the close of the women's segment of the 700 mile race. The scoreboard shows checkmarks next to 9 men who did not make the 12 day/700 mile cut off: 4 remain. Izumi's mileage is 678, Pippa's 675. Izumi is having her finest race ever and maintains a brisk pace whenever out on the course. Pippa, in her indomitably spirited way, just keeps going. Arlette is having problems, but with the heart of the true champion that she is, she keeps moving on.

Time ticks by and the clock reads 303:01:47. Antana Locs needs 33 miles by noon to complete her 700. A buzzer rings endlessly as a 3 am wake-up for Sulochana Kallia fails the first time. Counters agree to nudge again at 3:30. The night air is tinged with expectancy as the first race is nearly finished, respective cutoffs are being met and other goals ahead are still in the realm of possibility. One can only express gratitude and wonder during this run as history is made, shins heal and runners for the most part arise alert from their tents after mere catnaps in weeks of no-sleep.

A multi-day race puts life in perspective by simplifying things to running and the tasks that surround it. Take away the complexities, the hustle and hassle of the outside world and it's surprising how many heartfelt experiences can be had in a moment or an hour. In such a lengthy race, the excitement lies in the consistent air of transcendence that the runners lay down layer upon layer each time they go one more mile into personally uncharted realms.

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Photo: With a twist here, and a poke there, Pradhan Balter helps keep the runners on the track during the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race

Under a half moon, race leader Marty Sprengelmeyer begins at 303:50:00, at mile 894, 25 miles ahead of Coffey. From the floodlights of the Unisphere, counters can make out the shadowy forms of runners as they near the counting table. Bernard Gaudin's style is unique: he never walks  but runs in an upright patter and politely thanks his counters each time. When attempts are made to call out his mileage in French, he is delighted and responds "Good French!".

As the rose-tinged dawn appears, the most often asked question by both onlookers and the runners themselves comes to mind: Why run? For Sri Chinmoy, the founder of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and athlete extraordinaire, the answer lies in the fundamental philosophy of the team - self-transcendence. Sri Chinmoy defines self-transcendence as man's natural evolutionary struggle for perfection. In a race, by competing with oneself and going beyond a previous achievement even by one mile, an individual gets tremendous joy and the inspiration to go one step farther towards his own perfection. An event like this 1,300 mile race creates the opportunities for self-transcendence to take place.

For those who are familiar with Sri Chinmoy and his own activities, it is clear that self-transcendence is his own personal credo. When he one-arm lifted 7063 3/4 pounds on January 30, 1987 - the heaviest lift ever achieved in history - the English language failed his students. In watching the miles increase here, the same feeling permeates the air. One wonders if, in this new age of transcendence, Sri Chinmoy's own method of word hyphenation, will replace more paltry expressions - "aspiration-mountain-achievement" instead of "incredible" or "awesome" to describe what these runners are doing.

Early morning philosophy is interrupted by the emergence of Dan Coffey from medical. He sees Marty Sprengelmeyer - who has not yet, and never will, grace the medical tent with his presence. Marty is running slowly by, in his eternally zen-like calm. Dan: "You didn't get much rest, did you?" Marty: "Well, after 900 I'm going to sleep a little more - I believe in moderation." Dan: "Yes, moderation. That's why I never run more than 100 miles a day."

The women's cut off arrives. Antana Locs is lead woman in the 700 mile division, with 691 miles. She leads the race holding the Canadian women's ultradistance records from 48 hours up. Only Izumi and Pippa have made the cut off and will continue on to the 1,000 mile mark.

img177.jpgDay 15: Only three men remain: Marty Sprengelmeyer, with 1050 miles; Michel Careau in 2nd place with 1007 miles and Dan Coffey in third with 1002 miles. The number of people who have run a 1,000 mile race has increased to 16 - Marty now in 6th place with 14+04:45:44. Michel in 9th with 14+18:54:57 and Dan's last year's record maintaining him in 7th place. Marty's wife Donna has flown in from Iowa, encouraging him as he keeps moving forward into uncharted territory, the reason why he should continue running now lost to numb weariness. He keeps logging the miles that are taking him into history as the person who has run the most miles in a certified race.

Photo: Marty Sprengelmeyer, winner of the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race.

img176.jpgDay 16: Pippa Davis and Izumi Yamamoto bow out, at 832 miles and 825 miles respectively. But in the process, Pippa has logged the most  miles ever run by a woman in a certified race and Izumi has established new Japanese women's records from 48 hours up.

Day 18: It is over. Marty Sprengelmeyer has run 1250 miles, Michel Careau 1152 and Dan Coffey 1125. Marty has set the world record for 2,000 k (17+17:59:27) and for the most distance ever run in a certified race; Michel now holds all Canadian Masters records from 24 hours up; and Dan several British and world age category records.

Photo: Pippa Davis (l), women's winner of the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race.

Tom Grace jokes and calls it the race nobody finished. But from the opening day, when each runner ran a lap with a lit peace torch, in the spirit of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run (history's longest relay), to the exuberant float ride of the awards ceremonies, it was the happiest event anyone ever has seen. In all, over 22 national and world records are set - and over 100 helpers learn how to count in French! As Pragati Pascale, the  American women's record holder for this race, says: "It was a oneness-home-family-affair." Y'all come back now, y'hear!

 

About the author:

Rupantar has been the race director of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team since 1985, having been asked by Sri Chinmoy to serve in that capacity. As well as working on the big races the US Marathon Team organise each year - the 3100 Mile Race and the Six and 10 Day Race - he also spends a considerable amount of time archiving the Marathon Team's 40 year history on this website.

Davidson, James. "Government Runner." Saturday Night magazine [Toronto,Canada]. March 11, 1988. Passions. (exceprts from the article)

"A senior Ottawa civil servant, Michel Careau breaks loose by running-and running and running. Last year he came second in New York's 1,152-mile ultramarathon.

Careau.jpgIf it were, say midnight, things would be calm at the corner of Metcalfe and Sparks, but it's 7 a.m. on a Friday and civil servants crowd Ottawa's downtown sidewalks. The day is a splendid one, as pale light the color of new corn provides a backdrop to the Parliament Buildings. No one seems to notice, though, as the armies of the morning march to the Hill with eyes cast downward. From the driver's seat of his Volkswagen Westfalia camper, Michel Careau, passes whimsical judgment. 'These people,' he says ' they all look important with newspapers and lunches in their briefcases.' Then lowering his voice in a tone of mock seriousness, he adds, 'Today they are going to take care of the nation.' Careau is one of 'these people' himself - his job title is director of International and Inter-governmental Affairs, Health and Welfare Canada. That's senior civil servant for short...

Photo: Michel Careau (r) receives a visit at the 1987 Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race in New York from Rene Marleau, Delegate General of Quebec in New York (l) and Gaston Harvey, Quebec's Consular for Public Affairs (ctr).

'It's like I have some kind of dual personality,' Careau explains. 'Part of me is a civil servant and part of me is a distance runner...'

Careau doesn't consider himself physically gifted and his compact, five-foot-seven inch, 142-pound frame is unusual in a sport dominated by willowy, loose-limbed athletes. Careau's special ability is mental discipline, which springs from his schooling, first by nuns and then by Jesuit fathers. Life as a child meant waking at 6 a.m. for Mass at 6:30 and studies beginning at 7:15. When running, that ingrained discipline allows him to keep the body moving long after it first groans for rest. Just three months after he began the sport, Careau finished a marathon. From there, the distances increased to ultramarathons of 552 kilometres over five days in 1985, then 665 kilometers in five days in 1986, and then the 1,854 kilometres over eighteen days last year. Careau admits that not all his friends and co-workers understand. Some consider him pleasantly eccentric, others think he's daffy.

In fact, there aren’t many who can truly understand. Only about two hundred Canadians participate in ultramarathoning. An Ultramarathon is any race beyond the marathon standard of forty-two kilometers…

Careau thinks the most difficult part (of the 1987 Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Road Race in New York) came when the race was over and he had to stop. ‘I was so happy, but I also felt a bit sad,’ he says. ‘It’s a strange feeling when the life you’ve been living for so long – eighteen days – comes to an end. It wasn’t easy for me when I got home. I was still on the wave of my big run. It took some time to mentally come back to real life. Well, I wouldn’t call it real life, but my civil service life.’

Careau plans to make running a full-time venture in about five years...But today, he must be a civil servant once again. After breakfast, he trades a blue jogging suit for a blue business suit, hops in the camper, and drives back across the bridge to Ottawa, At 10 a.m. Careau pulls into a grey cement office complex called Tunney’s Pasture. Out of the corner of his eye he spots a man jogging along the sidewalk. ‘Look at that chap,’ he says, once again affecting a stern government employee’s voice. ‘He should be working.’"

Excerpts from press release, day 2:

Photo: French women's world record holder Arlette Touchard (l) and Izumi Yamamoto (r) enjoy a few minutes rest while soaking their feet in ice water.

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Yiannis Kouros, the pre-race favorite in the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race (June 5-23), bowed out at the 24 hour point as multiple knee injuries turned his easy gait into a steady limp. Despite his injuries, he held first place for the day with 150 miles, only 28 miles off his own world record, and 48 miles ahead of second place runner Bernard Gaudin of France. Kouros heads to surgery on his knee Tuesday morning at Manhattan's Hospital for Joint Diseases. Gaudin, France's top ultrarunner, soon moved into the lead, to a surprising upset in the evening hours from Iowa's Marty Sprengelmeyer, a veteran ultrarunner in his first multiday event. Sprengelmeyer leads at day 2 with 198 miles. France's Arlette Touchard, Women's World Record holder for 48 hours, leads for the women with 160 miles.

Photo: Marty Sprengelmeyer, winner of the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race (with 1250 miles) and holder of several world records.

With muscles tightening from two solid days of running, and the smiles of anticipation replaced by a determined set to newly bearded-jaws, three Frenchmen - and one French woman - are vying for command of the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race, taking place now in Flushing Meadow Corona Park, Queens. Leading the group are Bernard Gaudin and Arlette Touchard (see photo left), who reign as France's greatest ultrarunners. Touchard commands a 10 mile lead for the women with 150 miles at day 2. Gaudin, leading at 1 1/2 days, was surpassed by American Marty Sprengelmeyer in the late evening hours and is battling now to regain his lead. There is a feeling in some quarters that Sprengelmeyer, an accomplished ultrarunner new to the multiday ranks, may be going out too fast and Gaudin is playing a waiting game. Sprengelmeyer has 198 miles to Gaudin's 175 miles at day 2. Twenty-four athletes - the largest field ever at such an event - began running Friday, June 5 at 12 noon and will finish Tuesday, June 23 at 12 noon. Runners may compete in only one of three divisions: the 700 mile race, the 1,000 mile race and the 1,300 mile race. All French are highly accomplished ultrarunners and elected the longest event (1,300 miles)

img167.jpgArlette Touchard, 46 from Chelles, France, holds the Women's world records for 48 hours, indoors (314K) and outdoors (215 mi), and for 200 miles (43.36). Bernard Gaudin, 38, from Gascougnolles, is constantly contesting Yiannis Kouros of Greece for this title. Gaudin held the World Record in the 24 hour event (170 miles) before it was wrested from him by Kouros (178 miles). Gaudin was originally to have met head to head with Kouros, but the Greek runner suffered a leg injury and after running 150 miles in 24 hours was forced to stop: he is scheduled for leg surgery on Tuesday at Manhattan's Hospital for Joint Disease.

Also taking part in the event is Jean Claude Czaja, 38, of Haudainville, France, currently in 3rd place with 167 miles. He is known in France for taking part in unusual endurance events, including swimming 24 hours non stop in a pool, doing a double Ironman Triathlon and for completing 110 marathons - often two on the same day, both under three hours. The fourth member of the group is Jacques de Roquefeuil, 32, of Paris, in 9th place with 135 miles. Jacques took part in last year's Sri Chinmoy 1,000 mile race, running 806 miles for a rank of 19 in the world in the event.

Crewing for the French men is another ultrarunner, Yves Pol, well-known in his own right. He holds the Guinness world record for running backwards in a marathon (4 hours 38 minutes), and also hold the record for the longest backwards race - 200K in 59 hours, in the "Marathon de Sables" in Morocco.

About the author:

Rupantar has been the race director of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team since 1985, having been asked by Sri Chinmoy to serve in that capacity. As well as working on the big races the US Marathon Team organise each year - the 3100 Mile Race and the Six and 10 Day Race - he also spends a considerable amount of time archiving the Marathon Team's 40 year history on this website.

img153.jpgSri Chinmoy gave the following address to the runners at the start of the 1300 mile race in Flushing Meadow Park on June 5 1987:

"Brave runners, my heart is all gratitude to you. The English dictionary houses the word "impossibility", but your life-history-book does not include the word "impossibility". You live not only in the world of possibility, but also in the world of inevitability. This race is new, unique and unprecedented. Only your heroic hearts can accept the challenge and become victorious in every possible way, inwardly and outwardly.

When we think of 700, 1,000 or 1,300 miles, we are reminded of Eternity. We all are running along Eternity's road, which is at once birthless and deathless. You are the pioneer hero-runners who will be running along Eternity's road. Today humanity is loving your hearts and treasuring your lives with utmost joy and utmost pride.

Once more, to each runner, on behalf of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, I wish to offer my most humble and most soulful gratitude and gratitude. Each runner is marking the beginning of a new dawn that transcends at every moment its beauty, its light and its divinity. This divinity is embodying world joy and world peace. You are the true and perfect embodiments of world peace. For that, to each of you my heart bows with boundless love and gratitude."

Photo: Pippa Davis, women's winner of the Sri Chinmoy 1,300 Mile Race and holder of several world records.

With many of the world's top male and female ultra runners participating, the pre race expectations for the 1987 1,300 Mile Race were sky high!

"This is the third year the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team has held such a distance event. It is the first year the race has been extended beyond the 1,000 mile category into the other two areas. Last year's event was won by Stu Mittleman, who set a new world record of 11 days, 20 hours, 36 minutes. The 1,000 mile race was first held in England in 1877, when the legendary Edward Payton Weston completed the distance in 16 days 15 hours. In modern times, this will be only the seventh such race held since 1975. Twenty-five registrants have been accepted in the invitational event - almost double last year's field of thirteen.

Arlette Touchard, from France and women's world record holder for the 24 hour and 48 hour events, also has a duel for first place. She meets Pippa Davis, a British runner now living in the Boston area who has for the past year been winning virtually every ultra and multiday event she enters. They are among 11 seasoned women ultrarunners taking part in the race - the largest women's field ever seen at such an event. No women are yet among the fifteen athletes on the record books for having completed the 1,000 mile event. It is hoped that milestone might fall at this race.

img166.jpgAlso running is French Canadian Michel Careau - holder of every Canadian Master's record over 24 hours; Britain's Dan Coffey, ranked eighth in the world in the 1,000 mile race; Jose Martinez Martinez of Spain, one of that country's leading ultrarunners; and 70 year old Willie Rios of Bellerose, New York. Rios, a several-time world record holder in the 65-69 ranks, moved up a category this year and has begun to set a whole new range of 70-79 age category world records. He ran this event in 1986, completing 806 miles in the 15 allotted days. Izumi Yamamoto, the Japanese woman ultrarunner who holds her nation's records in everything from 24 hours up, is taking part as well.

Photo left: Canadian Masters World record holder Michel Careau passing the Unisphere en route to 1,000 miles

The race is a broadly international event. There are 5 Canadians, 4 British, 4 French, 8 Americans and 1 each from Greece, Spain, Japan and Hungary. All entrants are highly qualified ultrarunners with extensive race experience.

Yiannis Kouros returns from Tripolis, Greece to the same race course upon which he set his world records in the 100 mile road and 24 hour road events. His 24 hour record of 178 miles was set in the middle of 1985's Hurricane Gloria. He has consistently reached goals never before conceived as possible in the running community. His contributions in his field are similar to what happened when Roger Bannister ran the 4 minute mile. One of the records he wrested belonged to his competitor in this race, Bernard Gaudin. From 1982-1984 Gaudin held the 24 hour world record of 170 miles - considered at the time strong enough to stand for at least a decade.

The 1,300 mile race begins Friday, June 5, 12 noon at Flushing Meadow Corona Park, near the entrance to the Children's Zoo. The 700 mile segment will conclude at 12 noon on Wednesday the 17th for men and on Thursday the 18th for women; the 1,000 mile race on 12 noon Saturday the 20th for men and Sunday the 21st for women; and the 1,300 mile race on Tuesday the 23rd, 12 noon, for everyone. It is expected the winners of the different segments will finish several days ahead of the cut off times. If the world record is broken in the 1,000 mile segment, for example, that would have to occur before early morning of Wednesday, June 17. Mittleman's world record time appears to be, going into the race, a strong one. However, the duel between two of the greatest ultrarunners in the world is expected to yield some surprising results.

An entire temporary running village is built for the runners during the race period. In the fields adjacent to the Children's Zoo, sleeping sheds go up, as well as medical, food and statistical buildings. The entire course is marked off with stanchions and rope, and Sir Chinmoy Marathon Team personnel man stations along the route. The course is a flat one-mile loop, on well-paved macadam, that skirts the zoo, the Science Museum and Carousel."

Runner Bios:

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