"Something serene that’s beyond words": report from the Sri Chinmoy Marathon
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.
We had about 500 runners at this year’s Self-Transcendence Rockland Lake Marathon. After the race, dozens of runners posted their experiences in various places online. Many of the comments gave a sense that the runners were drawn to this particular race for inner reasons, sometimes without quite knowing why. One wrote that while our marathon isn’t the wildest or loudest, we have something serene that’s beyond words—and this atmosphere is really conducive to transcendence.
As well as founding our Marathon Team and being an avid sprinter and long distance runner, Sri Chinmoy was also well known for his feats of weightlifting, which included honouring people for their service to humanity by lifting them overhead using a specially constructed apparatus. Between 1988 and 2007, he honoured over 8,000 people in this manner - people like Muhammad Ali and Nelson Mandela, but also . He once said that everyone who came to be lifted had an inner expectation of having a spiritual experience - and then Sri Chinmoy added that he never disappointed them. We get the feeling that people who come to our races also receive a similar kind of fulfilment.
We should note that dozens of runners commented how grateful they were to our medical team. Nowhere else, they mentioned, could a non-elite runner get such a high-quality post-race massage! Not only did our amazing crew soothe their muscles, but in many cases, runners received performance and nutrition advice!
We actually recognized a number of the runners not just from their participation in past Sri Chinmoy Marathons in Rockland Lake State Park, but because they also had visited the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race held in Queens this summer. There was even one runner who had entered a number of our monthly Rainbow Marathons that we held in the 1980s! As a side note, a number of the outside runners had also seen the recent documentary 3100: Run And Become, which chronicles the 3100 Mile Race and the spiritual significance of ultrarunning around the world. A few people gasped with joy when they saw Shamita Achenbach-König – one of the stars of the movie – on the course running the marathon! A number of folks took pictures of her for their collections and a few got to say hello to her as she passed them.