Sri Chinmoy Multidays: Cunningham, Corbitt, and Jakelaitis Reign
On April 29, 2001, 19 runners began the Sri Chinmoy Ten Day Race at Wards Island Park, New York. The one-mile loop course has been home to many excursions into the realm of individual-limit-exploration since 1992. The sixth edition featured seventeen men, led by the nimble Rimas Jakelaitis, a native of Lithuania. Rimas,46, was intent on breaking Yiannis Kouros' record of 964 miles for 10 days, an awesome mark that has stood for 13 years. Kouros did 1000 miles at Flushing Meadow Park in 10 days 10 hours- the 10 full day mark was 964 - and no one has come closer to that mark than Stu Mittleman's 857 miles in 1986 at the 1000 mile race, Al Howie's 840 miles in the 1991 1300 miler, and Jakelaitis' 823 miles last fall in his 1300 mile record run on this same course( 16 +00:28:10).
Rimas proceeded to run 127 miles in the first 24 hours of this race. He then hoped to run close to 100 miles for each of the remaining days. Ashprihanal Aalto from Finland gave chase with 110 miles. Some might recall that Mr. Aalto finished second to Rimas last year in the Ten with 640 miles( to Jakelaitis' 745 mi). The young Finn then ran the other two multidays which the SCMT puts on here in New York, finishing first in the 3100 miler, (47+13:29:55)and first again in the 700 miler(9+05:44:59). The only other runner in the Ten Day to reach 100 miles was Aldo Maranzina , 54, of Trieste, Italy. Lenka Svecova from Czech Republic led the women with 87 miles.
Rimas pushed through 228 miles at the 48 hour mark, a very solid total, with only Mr. Aalto giving chase with 194 miles, a PB for him. The weather remained cool and dry as the runners pushed on. By the end of the third day, Rimas had uncorked another 101 miles, reaching 329 miles, only 26 behind the wake of Kouros. His stride was still smooth as the boats passed along the waterkills that surround Wards Island, across the river from Manhattan Island, but a world removed from the urban sprawl of the big city .Rimas was gradually picking up time on Yiannis, but there was a question that faced the tired runner- should he go for the six day road best (639 miles) or just try to hold on for the 964 mile mark?
The atmosphere in the race village was now becoming more intense as the fourth day was winding down in the Ten- the six day people- 40 strong- were about to join the fray. Top runners included Stefan Schlett from Germany, fresh from a hard race in the down-under summer of the Australia's Race of Fire; Trishul Cherns, the veteran Canadian multiday specialist, and Tom Andrews, an excellent 48-hour runner taking on his first six-day. Dipali Cunningham, the women's world road best record holder(504 miles) from Australia was a formidable opponent, as well as the always fit Silvia Andonie from Mexico. Not to be forgotten was the presence of 82 year-old Ted Corbitt, the father of US ultramarathoning, and a record setter himself from last year's race. Ted did 240 miles in 2000, but was determined to not only better his distance, but put the record up high.
The four day total for Rimas stood at 432 miles- 23 behind Kouros' pace, an incredible total. On Day five he fashioned another 95 miles to reach 527. There was lots of fatigue visible on his face, and the smooth form was more labored and choppy. Humid, hot weather also moved into the area- 85 º and breezy, which complicated plans for a push to the 639. Rimas decided to try and keep going towards the 1000 mark, and let the six day mark remain untouched.Ashprihanal Aalto dropped out after four days with a knee injury. Rimas was helped by the fresh runners from the Six day-Dipali's 110 miles and Trishul's 100. It seemed that Cunningham was the cream of the crop, and after only one day, was in the lead overall and on cruise control. Ted Corbitt covered 59 miles and was pleased with his efforts. Stefan had 91 miles, and continued to push on Day 2 with another 88 miles. He came a little closer to Cunningham's lead(193 miles), but the Australian lady was only warming up.
On the sixth day of the Ten, Rimas gave the push to 600 miles, an amazing total- he became one of only a handful of men in the last 100 years to top 600 miles, and the 11th man in history to ever reach the lofty goal. Still, his race was not over, and four more days of effort were required. Hubert Muckenhumer from Austria and Aldo Maranzina were waging a battle for second, which was far back from the Rimas' reality show at the front. After two days, Ted Corbitt had reached 110 miles, five miles ahead of his pace from last year. Tom Andrews kept within striking distance of Stefan, but Schlett's experience would prove to be the important factor in knowing what to do and when to do it. After three days in the Six, Cunningham was firmly entrenched in the lead with 272 miles, 22 ahead ahead of Schlett, 52 ahead of Cherns, and 30 ahead of Andonie.
Rimas had now completed seven days with 693 miles, and still picking up miles on Kouros, but not as quickly as he had hoped. Sleep breaks were starting to become longer, and the lap times were now slower. His resolve was still intact, but the continued warm, humid weather was sapping his strength.Ted Corbitt had pushed his total to 10 miles better than last year at 160 miles, and for the second year in a row had made the cut-off- another impressive feat. But Ted was also ahead of 14 other people, and he was only walking. His resolve cannot be measured, only felt and appreciated. Imagine if Ted could run. I looked at Ted and wondered, sometimes aloud, if Ted had only been born 30 years later, he would probably be the one topping 600 miles for six days.
Rimas again made a tough effort and ran 83 miles on Day 8, giving him 776 miles, and still inching closer to Yiannis Kouros' legend. He had surpassed the event record with two days to spare, but was having a hard time staying on the road now. His close friend and only handler was also fatigued, and she was almost ready to pack it in and go home. He gave her the night off and ran on, running another 82 miles,reaching 858 but feeling weak and light -headed. In the Six day, Dipali was running away with the title, and had only herself to contend with. She reached 350 for four days, and was on pace to break her own record. She moved along to 420 on day 5, but was conserving her energy for the last 24 hour push- her trademark. Stefan was also well ahead for the men with 378 miles, but the early speed had vanished. Ted Corbitt was now 26 miles ahead of last year,reaching 207 miles for 96 hours, and then 255 miles for five days,and was also picking off people with every step. Ted had passed his previous mark during the early morning hours, putting him 30 hours ahead. Excitement was now charging everyone in the camp, as we awaited the last 24 hours of the two races, and the runners' attempts at history.
With a formidable hurdle of 106 miles to reach the record, Rimas stumbled for the first time in the race. He somehow got to 901 miles, the second-best total for 10 days in history. His 301 miles for the last four days was still better than all the other men's totals for the first four days of this race. Perhaps if the weather was not as hot, or if there was competition, we thought, maybe he would have done it."No," he said,"I was not able to do it because I was not fully ready. Next time I try, I will be ready." Rimas trained 180 miles(300km) a week for five months after last fall's 1300 mile effort. This performance was every bit as good, or even more impressive. He still wants another crack at 1000 miles. This observer thinks if everything works right for him, he may yet have another superlative run or two inside him. His multiday effort curve has been on a steady rise- stay tuned.
Back in the six day, Dipali Cunningham became the first female overall winner in the race, blasting 90 miles the final day to break her own world road best with 510 miles. Stefan Schlett, Trishul Cherns,and Silvia Andonie were distant top-finishers for the men and women, respectively. Cunningham's ease of victory was stunning, to the point of- â€˜where was everyone else?' She has won all of the multidays she has entered since 1995, including all four versions of the Sri Chinmoy Six Day. Three of those 12 races were overall victories. She is at the top of her game, and is only 42 years old.
For the man almost twice his age- Ted Corbitt- there appear to be no limits. Beset with severe asthma attacks since the early 1970's, Ted has quietly gotten himself into tremendous physical condition the last few years. Ted completed 48 miles on the last day, still in good form, and crossed the line with 303 miles, breaking his previous best by 63 miles, and sending the 80-84 men's record into orbit. This mark may never be broken, unless, of course, Ted decides to transcend himself and come back again. He is already thinking about serious running training for the summer and fall.
Sri Chinmoy, the founder and inspiration of the SCMT races lifted Ted and the other winners in the race overhead on a special platform, to recognize and honor their great achievements. He later said that Ted embodies the philosophy of self-transcendence- going beyond self-thought barriers to reach new goals. Ted is already one of the immortals of long-distance running and endurance sports. This performance could be one for the ages- or perhaps just a stepping stone into a whole new age for the pioneer athletes. The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team offers gratitude and best wishes to all the athletes and volunteers that made the event so special. Gratitude to Sri Chinmoy is also due; his continued support in these events is irreplaceable. And to all the ultra-athletes ready to test their limits in the multiday arena, the challenge has been made. Try to go beyond, if you can.
- Sahishnu Szczesiul
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Sri Chinmoy Ten Day Race
April 25- May 5, 2001 Wards Island Park,NY certified, flat mile loop (with 24-hr,48-hr, 6 day splits)
1. Rimas Jakelaitis, 46, LIT 901! (127,228,600) 2. Aldo Maranzina, 54, ITA 639 (100,152,374) 3. Hubert Muckenhumer,33, AUT 627 (77,148,375) 4. Lenka Svecova,26, CzRep 572 (87,146,366) 5. Tibor Malits,29, HUN 564 (77,129,331) 6. Harald Reisecker,31, AUT 550 (75,135,329) 7. Abichal Sherrington,40,Wales 540 (80,124,332) 8. Luis Rios, 54 525 (75,128,321) 9. Elvira Janosi,45,YUGO 514 (80,130,331) 10 Daan Rob,57,Neth 500 (76,133,302) 11 Martin Vladovic, 25, SLK 488 (85,141,307) 12 Jirka Caslava,26, CZ Rep 452 (71,122,289) 13 Micha Pavlovic,46, YUGO 444 (78,126,300) 14 Unnatishil Bravo, 42, FRA 382 (62,110,241) 15 Aryavan Lanham,49, AUS 375 (64,100,258) 16 Al Prawda,52 364 (86,127,238)
19 starters Sri Chinmoy Six Day Race
April 29- May 5, 2001 Wards Island Park,NY certified, flat mile loop (with 24-hr,48-hr splits)
1. Dipali Cunningham,42, AUS 510! (110,193) 2 Stefan Schlett,42, GER 442 (91,179) 3. Trishul Cherns,44, CAN 413 (100,150) 4. Sylvia Andonie,45, MEX 406 (96,166) 5. Jose Luis Carrera,42,MEX 395 (85,133) 6. Andreas Puntigam,29,AUT 391 (91,159) 7. Tom Andrews, 46 388 (97,170) 8. Gregor Knauer, 45 382 (74,135) 9. Michael Misteli,36, SUI 373 (97,163) 10 Teresa Janakova,27,SLK 364 (80,142) 11 Jeff Washburn, 51, 360 (81,144) 12 Barny McBride,36, NZ 340 (81,142) 13 Ed Rousseau, 61, 333 (92,145) 14 Rastislav Ulicny, 21,SLK 324 (77,116) 15 Maria Horvath,36,HUN 321 (60,112) 16 Brian Collings, 48, RSA 313 (84,142) 17 Dejan Kakonji,32,YUGO 313 (74,134) 18 Rene Horlbeck, 33, SUI 311 (70,117 ) 19 Michael Purwins, 40,GER 311 (64,99) 20 Ray Bell,53, 304 (84,139) 21 Ted Corbitt,82, 303 (WR 80-84) (59,110) 22 Visuddhi Trummer,38, AUT 301 (69,120) 23 Zoran Stanimirovic,35, YUGO 300 (65,119) 24 Namitabha Arsic,35,YUGO 290 (92,145) 25 Chanakhya Jacovic,47 UK 288 (71,119) 26 Dennis Kranz,54, 280 (92,144) 27 Andreas Zand,31, AUT 279 (65,112) 28 Maria-Therese Karasek,45, AUT 278 (57,100) 29 Heide Milotta,58, AUT 277 (60,110) 30 Andrea Reisecker,29,AUT 270 (62,107) 31 Willie Erasmus,52, RSA 266 (67,120) 32 Svitlana Maksymova, 31,UKR 250 (69,118) 33 Pete Coffin,55 246 (70,114) 34 Tzvetan Tzekov,20, BUL 244 (57,107) 35 William Campbell,47 241 (59,110) 36 Valeri Stobski,36, BUL 237 (85,121) 37 Tim Kourounis,63, 229 (66,106) 38 Zoran Marinkovic, 37, YUGO 227 (70,115) 39 Tom Moore,56, 222 (69,109) 40 Michael Dorovitsine, 42 150 (70,89)