Sri Chinmoy 1300, 100 and 700 Mile Race - race report
By Rupantar LaRussoauthor bio »
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.
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.