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.

From our race brochure:

brochure.jpg"America's First 1,000 Mile Race" (Press Release). April 29, 1985. Retrieved 2012-05-23. Archive copy at Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team office, Queens, New York.

"America's first 1,000 mile footrace - 12 to 16 days of running - will take place in Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, New York starting May 1 at 8:00 am. This is only the third such race in history.

Winner of this premiere event will automatically establish the North American 1,000 mile record. There is a 16 day cut-off.

Runners are allowed to run, sleep, and eat at will during the race, bearing in mind they must average 62.5 miles per day to finish before the cut-off. The course is a one-mile loop in the zoo area of Flushing Meadow, near Terrace on the Park.

The world record for this event is currently held by Siegfried Bauer at 12 days, 12 hours, 36 minutes and 20 seconds. "Ziggy" Bauer is the only person in history to have completed the distance in either of the previous African and Australian races.

This American race will host an international field of ultra and multi-day race record holders including multi-day running pioneer Don Choi, Canadian Trishul Cherns, now residing in Queens, and Emil Laharraque of France. Five other New York ultra runners are starting. Entry is free.

Hosting the event will be the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, widely known for its excellence in organizing ultra distance events. This same team was host to Greek runner Yiannis Kouros' triple record run at the 1984 Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Race in Flushing Meadow..."


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12 runners prepare for the start of America's first 1,000 mile race. (l) to (r): Sri Chinmoy, Nathan Whiting, Stan Leventhal, Don Choi, Emile Laharraque, Bob Wise, K. Makita, S. Sheridan, Trishul Cherns, Kim Cavanaugh, Sharon Yeter and Cahit Yeter. Bios of the 12 Runners.

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bob wise.jpg"Mailman Becomes America's First 1,000 Mile Runner" (Press Release). Atala Toy. May 16, 1985.Retrieved 2012-05-24. Archive copy at Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team office, Queens, New York

"San Francisco mailman Don Choi averaged 2-3/4 marathons a day to win America's first 1,000 mile race...Don's time of 15 days, 6 hours, 24 minutes and 43 seconds established a North American record for the event, which is the longest established race in American history. An international field of eleven multi-day runners competed in this premiere event which was hosted by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and held on a one mile paved looped course in Flushing Meadow Park, Queens. New York.

Trailing by a slim 14 miles was Canadian Trishul Cherns who in turn was leading French adventurer Emile Laharraque by 21 miles when Choi crossed the line. Both runners will establish national records for 1,000 miles, as will race walker Bob Wise of Atlanta, Georgia.

Only one other man in history has completed thetrishul cherns.jpg grueling 1,000 mile race - the indomitable Siegfried Bauer, who first ran in Africa and then ran 12-1/2 days on a grass track in Australia to set the world record for the event. Previously, the longest accepted race distance in America was the 6 day race. The Sri Chinmoy event creates a new race category, one which, by all indications from the ultra distance community will prove to be popular in coming years."


"3 Runners Break 1,000 Mile Barrier" (Press Release). Atala Toy. May 20, 1985. Retrieved 2012-05-24.

Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team member Jogyata Dallas (l) congratulates 1,000 mile finisher Emile Laharraque.

"The 1,000 mile barrier was shattered three times in North America's first 1,000 mile footrace. First place was taken by 36 year old San Francisco mailman Don Choi, who ran 15 days, 6 hours, 24 minutes and 43 seconds. Second place went to a Jamaica florist, the 28 year old Canadian Trishul Cherns (15:9:37:35). Third place was won by French adventurer Emile Laharraque (15:17:58:30). The event, sponsored by the Queens based international Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, took place on a one mile loop in Flushing Meadow Park, Queens, NY from May 1-17.

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Each runner averaged 2 3/4 marathons a day during the entire sixteen days of non-stop running. Each set his own country's national record. They became the second through fourth people in history to ever run a race of this distance. The only other runner to ever complete a 1,000 mile race is Siggy Bauer of New Zealand.
'We thought Bauer's 12 1/2 day record was easily reachable,' Cherns commented at the finish. 'Most of us had easily done 450-500 miles in the 6 day races.' Rubbing his aching legs, Trishul grimaced: 'By the seventh day we began to appreciate Bauer's achievement. A 1,000 mile race is in a new league altogether!'
Winner Don Choi nodded agreement: 'The immensity of this race is so great, I can't comprehend it yet.'
NYRRC President Fred Lebow presented trophies at the awards ceremony to the twelve multi day runners who competed in the event. Among them was the sponsoring Team's leader, running Guru Sri Chinmoy. Bob Wise, 46, a national race walking champion from Atlanta, Georgia, completed 903 miles during the event; Brooklyn running poet Nathan Whiting completed 817 miles.
Several part time runners completed high mileage, logging miles at night, returning to work at day..Bronx bus driver Cahit Yeter and his wife Sharon piled up 334 and 111 miles respectively.
The inspiration to run 1,000 miles came from Trishul Cherns, a veteran ultra runner looking to set a world record. Comparing his 6 day race daily totals of 80-84 miles to Siggy Bauer's 1,000 daily totals of 60-62 miles, he concluded the 1,000 mile record was attainable. 'Little did I realize!' he later commented.
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New York Road Runner's President Fred Lebow (l) congratulates 1,000 mile champion, Don Choi.

After day 6 of the race, runners reached territory explored before only by Bauer himself. Day 8 reportedly was the low point. 'We hit rock bottom,' Trishul recalls. 'We were shattered, emotionally and physically. Guess that's why God created the world in 7 days, not 8! We should have rested on the 7th day - we didn't, so were put to rest!'

Having finished 500 miles, with 500 more to go, the runners collected themselves, changed diet and sleep plans and kept running. All sugared junk food disappeared. In its place came vegetables, brown rice, pasta and yogurt. Sleep went from 2 to 3 hours a night to 5 or 6.

Don Choi led the entire race, although at one point Trishul was only 14 miles shy of him. On the last two days, with the goal in sight, runners eagerly pushed themselves..."


trishul counter.jpgWhat was it like during this historic race?

Two members of the 'graveyard' shift share their experiences during their 16 days on the overnight shift.

'One thousand miles. We couldn't conceive of it, but Trishul's vision coupled with Sri Chinmoy's enthusiastic support seeped into our bones and once more we found ourselves juggling jobs and  family to sign up for day and 'graveyard' shifts at the one mile asphalt course on the zoo grounds of Flushing Meadows Park, New York...' read more...

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Sri Chinmoy, founder of the Marathon Team, was an official entrant in the race and completed 208 miles. Photo: Bhashwar

The Final Results...

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Sri Chinmoy 700, 1000 and 1300 Mile Races

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