During and after our very successful and inspiring race, we have received many uplifting comments not only from the runners and visitors to the race, but as well as from those who followed the race on our web site. Following are excerpts from some of them.
Martin Fryer: "It's hard to believe that more than 6 weeks have passed since my wonderful experience at the 6 Day race there. I can honestly say that this race changed me forever.
The love and joy that I felt that was generated by all of the SCMTNY, runners, supporters and crews was both inspirational and humbling.
I came into this race desiring to learn how to run more from the heart than from the mind and I had several ecstatic glimpses of pure inner poise and calm that could only have come from the amazing atmosphere of gratitude and support that surrounded me.
There is so much to learn and I am eternally grateful for the SCMTNY for this experience..."
(to view Martin Fryer article about the race: June edition of the Australian Ultrarunners magazine and proceed to pages 40 and 41)
Mark Dorion: “…I have run approximately 200 ultras over the past 33 years. I have also run thousands of other races…but the 544 miles I somehow managed at the just-completed Self Transcendence 10 Day Races rates as one of my most shocking efforts…To paraphrase Forrest Gump, in life “you never know what you’re going to get.” As I told several different interviews on day 10, I was “incredulous” to finish with a 21+ mile PR. I would have been happy with 450 miles. The support and cheering out on the course of various ultra list members and many other friends helped greatly, but for me the biggest key was the wonderful, round-the-clock support of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and its many helpers and friends. This was a new journey for me, going a longer distance in one race than I had ever done, on a creaky old body. Sri Chinmoy wrote that “Encouragement is the heart of a new journey”…Best wishes to all utra runners, Mark D in the Big Apple”.
Ray Krolewicz: “So I ran a six day after 25 years without one. I’d forgotten all the fun I was missing. First, enough accolades cannot be given to the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team for hosting, and supporting this event. (photo: Antara-Prabhat).
From a dry space to lay my head to some of the best food I’ve ever eaten the event was fantastically maintained. Add in lap counters, security, porta potties that were cleaned every day, round the clock aid station, a beautiful course, enthusiastic support, and so much more the event lent itself to great performances.
The only thing the team could not control was the weather, and for me personally (being the wimp I am) I sought comfort, dry in the rain, and even shelter from the wind far more often than I would have liked. This adversely affected the mileage tribute I would like to have given. I wrote a poem instead (click here to read Ray's epic poem, "One People")…Ray K (with a whole new respect for 350 miles).”
Cheire Yanek: “I stopped by in between work and laundry…to bike/subway/bike over to Flushing Meadows Park to see the amazing 6 & 10 Day Races. I want to run this race – it is so inspirational. Anyone that says, “Boring. A one mile loop,” obviously doesn’t understand. They don’t understand the “dugout” where runners have tables piled with lots of things – everything from ibuprofen to twelve pairs of shoes and sandals to clothes to deodorant…to all kinds of food…It is so amazing and inspirational.-cherie.” (photo: Prabhakar)
Lynn Newton: “Did anyone notice? At the Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence 10 Day Race the first woman had more mileage than the first place man. The second place woman was only five miles behind the first place man. As a great fan of women’s running, I tend to notice things like that…In the 6 day the invincible Dipali Cunningham had the third most amount of mileage overall (one mile behind the second male), but beat all other women by a margin of 145 miles. That woman is truly phenomenal…Lynn David Newton, Columbus, Ohio.”
Shannon McGinn: “I drove up to Queens yesterday to see Ray at about 10 hours into his 6 day. They started at 12 noon and I left at 10 pm with Ray starting his 47th mile…This is probably one of the coolest running events I have ever seen. There is a camp of semi-permanent tent structures that line the shoot after the start finish area. The area is brightly lit and alive with action…Each runner gets a unit in this little tent-townhouse structure. People have set up little homes for the week. Clothes hand on hangers. People are burning incense. Some have decorated the space. (photo: Antara-Prabhat)
People are from all over the world so those who can speak English do so with heavy accents making it feel like we are no longer standing in a park in Queens and those who can’t speak English just smile and nod as you cheer for them…I mentioned to Ray that if an artist declared this to be some type of art installation, maybe a living museum of some sort, I bet people would pay admission to witness people in motion for 10 days straight. And here it is, this amazing feat of perseverance and endurance happening almost in secret and very few people are there to cheer them on…Go Runners!” (photo: Prabhakar)
Joe Judd: “…Next time some of you think that 50 or 100 miles is a long way, try to wrap your head around going for 6 or 10 days at a shot. Imagine how you feel after finishing 60, or 100 miles…then going at it on day two, day three, day ten. This is a true mental discipline. Training will get you a long way in running. But, it’s pretty tough to knock out a 50-60 miler every day in training to prepare for something like this. I really enjoy the cerebral aspects of this type of event…”
Marina Brown: “…Best of luck in a wonderful adventure. I can’t think of a nicer way to spend 10 days in spring!---Marina Brown.” (photo: Antara-Prabhat)
Progress guaranteed, a personal account of the Self-Transcendence 6 Day Race 2011 at Flushing Meadow Park in New York – Shashanka Karlen (full article follows. All following photos by Antara-Prabhat).
“Of course there are as many different stories to tell about the race as there are runners. But I am sure that all runners would agree with me on one thing that is common for all: Personal progress is guaranteed! Outwardly it looks so easy – you are simply running around the same loop for an infinite number of times. But inwardly life looks totally different. It is so intense, accelerated with countless things happening at the same times on different levels. Thoughts may try to strangle you, great emotions of joy are flooding each cell of you, the body is sending signals of pain and fatigue, the soul wants to go on and fly towards the goal. Some say it feels like being thrown into a washing machine at the beginning of the race and coming out clean and purified at the end.
I had a hard time for the first 4 days as I went into the race undertrained and coming out of a period of hard work at the restaurant where I make my living. I knew this but hoped that somehow I would get away with it. This only happened in the sense that day 5 was going great and I came into a beautiful running flow for the whole day. It seemed to me it was the same with many other runners as well and it felt almost that we were running under a special energy spell or as somebody was infusing some extra energy. It felt great and it is these moments that make most of the runners come back year after year.
Besides all that is going on in your inner universe there is also a lot happening around you. I got so much inspiration from fellow runners this year. In a way they expressed certain qualities in their purest forms. Kaneenika (winner of the women’s 10 day race with a new personal best of 724miles) was perseverance and focus personified. I thought, if you could go through life like that, then you do not have to worry about anything…. Arpan and Sarvagata at times demonstrated purest determination and Andrey Stefanov from Bulgaria - he was the youngest participant with 23 years and came second in the mens 10 day race! - showed such tremendous devotion to the goal.
And then there are all the runners that are already in their sixties or even seventies and that are bravely fighting the elements. Not only is the fact that they are actually participating a victory in itself but many of them still have a level of performance that can compete with runners of all ages. How I wish I could be still out there when I am over 80! Don Winkley, an ultra legend and now at 74 years of age is always a wonderful addition to the race. He is not only a fine performer but also carries an endless reservoir of stories with him, many of them make you laugh that you completely forget that you are actually in this hard endeavor that is a multi-day race.
I am ending with one of his stories that made laugh a lot of runners this year.
One year in a race somewhere in the world, Don was getting blisters all around his feet and it was so bad that he could hardly walk by the end of the race. After the race he went to a hotel and was pleasantly surprised that they had upgraded his room to a beautiful huge suite. The only problem was that the bathroom was so far away from the bed. Considering the pain this would cause to his feet he finally decided to sleep in the bathtub…. Welcome back in 2012!
PS. I am sure I am speaking for all the runners if I express my deepest gratitude to the organizers and all the countless helpers and selfless servers who are in involved in putting on such a beautiful event. They may never really know how much this race really values for each runner. But we runners know.
And thank you Sri Chinmoy for being as present as ever on the course and all the big and small miracles.”
Al Prawda: "...Excuse the often used cliche, but I turly mean a collective "thank you" for allowing me to have an adult life dream be realized while having lots of fun. Despite the weather challenges, on occasion, it all worked out for me - at least for 5 days worth. I feel slightly blunted knowing that I didn't complete the full 6 days, "c'est la vie".
...the food, fluids, etc., and the encouragement provided throughout was as usual - impeccable. Lastly, the construction and efficiency of the unbelievable shower facility was beyond my comprehension. Next year if I'm worthy of entrance (training, etc.) I'll take full advantage of that shower! See you next year. Al "Ultra".