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.

"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."


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.

results 24 hour.jpg


More about:

Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Race

View event page »