A Clean Sweep for the Commonwealth in the Sri Chinmoy 5 Day Race
"French Canadian Michel Careau led a star-studded field of 9 Commonwealth athletes to victory in the Sri Chinmoy 5 Day Race in Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, NY, November 7 - 12. Careau ran 413 miles for a Canadian 5 day record, also setting Canadian Masters records for all distances from 48 hours through 5 days. Claiming positions two through four were British ultra stars Dan Coffey (394 miles), who set four over 55 world records and 3 time Guinness world record holder Malcolm Campbell (326 miles). Two U.K. transplants took prizes: Pippa Davis, formerly of England and now of Westford, Ma. won the women's division with 311 miles. Tom McGrath, formerly of North Ireland and now residing in New York, completed the Commonwealth sweep, taking fifth place with 286 miles.
Michel Careau, Radio Canada's 1985 Athlete of the Year travelled to the USA ostensibly to improve his mileage a bit over his last year's second place win of 343 miles. For the first two days he seemed content to carry out his plan in this, his 21st ultra. He held snugly onto his second place position as first place Dan Coffey, of London, England, began breaking all the world over 55 records in all events from 48 hours up. Then, sensing a slight flagging of energy, Careau began pouring out his own, completing 86 miles on his third day out, and, as day four matured, finally moving into a commanding first place lead. As he ran, he began mowing down his own Canadian Masters' records in all distances from 48 hours up. By the race finish, Careau achieved his unspoken dreamed of goal of running over 400 miles in the event and held a lead of almost 19 miles over second place Dan Coffey.
Turning in a good showing on his first multi-day race, and earning the respect of his fellow runners, was another French Canadian, Jean-Marc Miron of Verdun. At 29 the youngest of the participating athletes in a sport geared to the endurance-craftiness of the seasoned runner, the tall and lean "youngster" approached his task with quiet dignity. He awed shorter runners as he ambled along taking one step to their every two, and brought many comments from the proud paternalistic athletes that this was a young man to keep tabs on. His attitude and running style portend a successful future in ultras. Crewed by his dad and mom, who gave up a week of work to help out - bringing their own camper - Miron turned in 273 miles for the event, placing 10th overall, 8th for the men.
Photo: Dan Coffey en route to a 2nd place finish with 394 miles at the 1986 Sri Chinmoy 5 Day Race
Helen Klein, 62, co-director of the 100 Mile Western States Endurance Run, moved off the trails and onto the roads for her first multi-day race in the Sri Chinmoy 5 Day Race, Queens, NY. The oldest woman to ever run the Western States and the Ironman Triathlon, Helen also lays claim to the world over 60 record for 100 miles (22:15:25) and the US over 60 record for 24 hours (105+miles). Helen logged 280 miles for the women's number two slot, braving three days of fog and rain."
Psychiatrist Analyzes 5 Day Race
Andrew Lovy is a psychiatrist from Michigan. One wonders how he would analyze his own performance during his third sleepless night at the Sri Chinmoy 5 Day Race. Andrew, age 51, "sleepwalked" off the course, but was spotted and retrieved by lead runner Dan Coffey before he strayed too far!
Dr. Lovy, also a sports fitness consultant, has 34 ultras to his name, but this event is his first multi-day run. He is one of several over 40 runners proving age is no barrier in ultra sports..."Aging," Dr. Lovy points out, "is only a misuse of the body. These runners are showing the potential we all have."
How does a psychiatrist justify such extremes as ultra racing? "In these events, I experience the ultimate of pain, then recover," he explains. "So when I tell my patients to do the same, they sense I've been there, too - and believe!
Westford Woman Wins 5 Day Race
Pippa Davis, 39, just won her first 5 Day Race. If only she could find her childhood gym teacher, she'd tell her. That teacher told the pudgy 14 year old she could be excused from gym class because she'd never - never - be any good at sports!
Left: Pippa Davis, women's winner in the Sri Chinmoy 5 Day Race. Photo: Peter Sutliffe
Now a trim and accomplished ultra athlete who commands the respect of her international peers, Pippa has run over twenty marathons and twenty ultra races. With increasingly consistent regularity, the Westford, Ma. resident has been placing and winning in these rarefied events. Most recently, Pippa won the first multi day race she has entered, the Sri Chinmoy 5 Day Race, held November 7 - 12 in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, Queens, NY. She ran 311 miles in that time - an average of 62 miles each day.
In a field in which women are able to challenge the best of the male athletes, Pippa also succeeded in placing fourth overall in the event. She held her own in an elite field of runners that saw Canada's CBC 1985 Athlete of the Year, Michel Careau take first place with a new Canadian record of 413 miles...
A health and fitness consultant in the Westford area, Pippa began running with her husband, Richard, in 1977 - keeping him company while he trained for the New York Marathon. Now, while Richard works...Pippa runs. "But if it weren't for my fifteen year old daughter, Lucy," she confided, "I wouldn't be able to do these events. She takes care of the home while I'm gone: cooking, cleaning - the place looks better than when I left!" The rest of Pippa's support crew is her son Tim, a sales rep and a student at the University of Lowell.
A native of the Lakes District of England, Pippa has captured the adventurous spirit of her new homeland. She loves the world of ultras and multi-day races, especially the independence/comradery that develops among the athletes. "Every time we pass on the looped course, we give each other a wave, a smile...We depend on each other, yet we're all doing individual things," she says. "It's a very New England attitude: a pioneering approach to life. In fact, I probably would have been a pioneer if I'd lived earlier. I'd like to have travelled over the Rockies.
The Results for the Sri Chinmoy 5 Day Road Race, November 7 - 12, 1986