"The Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Race, September 15, 1990". (Brochure).
"About the Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Race 1980-1990.
A decade of Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Races have been the venue for many an inspiring performance. We have seen times and mileage that made leaps and bounds in ultra-distance running...
1980 saw a 19 year old Japanese, Kirit Makita, who had never run more than 11 miles at a time, not only run and complete the whole race with joy, but win with 111 plus miles - an astounding total for a complete novice. Then we experienced a quantum leap the next year on a strange shaped dirt track in Greenwich, Connecticut when the great Turkish runner, forty four-year-old Cahit Yeter, set a new North American Record of 155 miles, 1182 yards. Not to be outdone, Sue Medaglia set a women's world record of 126 miles.
We watched and marveled as arguably the greatest male ultra distance runner in history, Yiannis Kouros, ran a world record 177 miles in 1984 with plenty of energy to spare. The following year Kouros, which in Greek means young man - as in the strength and vibrancy of youth - did it again. In the thick of hurricane Gloria, as Park and City officials tried and failed to stop a race which was destined to be, Kouros ran just one more mile through the wind and rain, to set another new world record of 178 miles.
Last year the race was the TAC/USA National Championship, so we knew it was going to be a special race with new triumphs, although I am sure none of us realized how special or how triumphant.
Twenty runners, almost half the field, broke the 100 mile mark. That was pretty good. The top five competitors all went over 130 miles and were all within a few miles of each other. That was good. The top two men, Scott DeMaree and Tom Possart both hit 139 miles with DeMaree just winning with an extra 776 yards. That was exciting. We had a heavy rain storm during the night that the runners had to persevere through. That added drama.
But the most incredible triumph and the story of the race was Ann Trason's' victory. First she set a new world record at 12 hours with 88 miles, then she cruised to an astounding 13:55:02 and 100 miles, devastating her own record by over 30 minutes. After the 100 miles she could have been excused if she rested or even stopped with a great new record in her possession and the weather turning nasty. Ann was tired then, we all could see it. This was new ground for her, beyond the hundred, which she had just done even faster than when the race was only 100 miles and she could legitimately finish. Her greatest triumph came as she pushed on, through the fatigue, the pain, the desire to stop, rest or quit, and the cold, wet night. Visibly slowing, yet still moving, in the early morning hours she passed 200 km in 19:22:05, breaking the great Hilary Walker's world record by 44 minutes...
...Pulling out the stops, Trason finished with 143 miles, 152 yards, to set yet another record, the new American woman's 24-hour and more importantly to become the first woman ever to win overall at a national distance championship.
Oh, who finished in 4th place overall, just a few miles behind Possert and DeMaree? Another woman, 43-year-old Sue Ellen Trapp, running a great all out effort with 136 miles, 1514 yards...
About the 1990 race...
"The first race in a circuit...." (Press Release). Retrieved 2013-02-18. Archive copy at Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team office, Queens, New York.
...The race was an upset-victory of Dan Brannen, usually seen at races at TAC's well-respected ultra running statistician. Brannen went out fast, taking a forceful lead on two of America's top distance ultra runners, Brian Purcell of Sebastopal, CA and Tom Possert of Cincinnati, Ohio. A mid-race charge took Purcell into the lead and then out of the race altogether at the 12 hour mark with 64 miles while Purcell, who also burned out, dropped back to an 11th place finish of 102 miles.
Age group winners were Long Islanders: Michael Broadwell of East Islip, NY - over 60 division with 73 miles and Willie Rios of Rosedale, NY - over 70 division with 90 miles.
After a one-day break, the Flushing Meadow race site was turned into the venue for the Sri Chinmoy Ultra-Trio. Around the clock, from September 18 - October 5, runners will be taking part in either a 700 mile, a 1,000 mile or a 1,300 mile road race.
Charlie Eidel (l) with the author (r),
Wagoner, Michael D. "Sri Chinmoy 24-Hour Race, September 15/16, 1990."
On September 15, a decade of Sri Chinmoy 24-hour races culminated with another splendid event. The assembled runners felt a special sense of history, ending a decade which had witnessed major performances such as a world record performance by Yiannis Kouros in Hurricane Gloria (1985), and an American record by Ann Trason (1989), and, hopefully, initiating another decade of triumphant performances. While Mr. Kouros and Ms. Trason where not on hand for this year's event, a festive atmosphere of expectation filled Flushing Meadow. The park denizens, bored by the recent US Tennis Open, were ready for something exciting and who could ask for more than the 24 Hour Race and the subsequent Ultimate Ultra Trio to begin the following day (1300, 1000, 700).
A field of 42 runners answered the opening gun. Brian Purcell, holder of the Western States record, was aiming for a North American record, and was the favorite in the men's race. He was expecting a stiff challenge from a deep field of contenders including Dan Brannen of New Jersey, Robert Nelson of New York, Ed Finnegan from Connecticut, and Tom Possert from Cincinnati, Ohio. Although not expected to challenge for the victory a number of other ultrarunning celebrities were on hand. Ray 'Never Waste any Energy' Krolewicz arrived one minute before the start, increasing the apprehension of the favorites. Former two time champion Luis 'How are the Mets Doing?' Rios, 1980 champion Kirit Mikita, and perennial over-65 champion Willie 'Where's the Next Race' Rios were prepared to challenge if the leaders faltered. Finally, 'Sleepwalker' Prawda came for the 'work out' having recently dealt with the frustration in trying to get the Guinness Book of World Records to recognize his recent feat of running 70 miles backwards in one day. Undoubtedly, if this category is recognized in the future, Al will petition Ultrarunning for a change of name to 'Backrunner' Prawda, followed by record attempts at every distance from the one mile to the 1300 miles. For me, it was my first attempt to complete an ultramarathon. I just hope to finish and turn in a lot of miles. I was singularly impressed that such novice status did not keep the greats of the sport from spending time offering me much needed advice.
The race opened quickly, despite a bright sun and temperatures in the sixties. Brian Purcell opened an enormous lead in the first 50 miles (6:33) of 48 minutes over Dan Brannen and Tom Possert, and over one hour with his blazing speed and perseverance, a collective sigh of dismay was registered when he was forced to drop out after only 64 miles. By 100 kilometers, the field was reduced to a two man race between Tom Possert (9:14) and Dan Brannen holding a six mile lead over a rapidly fading Tom 'Shades' Possert and Ray 'Never Fail to Get a Good Night's Sleep' Krolewicz who laid down for his customary 3 hour nap. As the sun rose on the 16th, only Robert Nelson and Ed Finnegan posed any threat to Dan who held on to a nine mile margin of victory. In all, a total of 16 men crossed the 100-mile barrier, with me (as expected) pulling up the rear.
The women's field was just as talented and the race no less exciting than the men's event. Suprabha, holder of the women's 1000 mile record, and Janet Johnson put on a duel from the opening gun. Janet led by only 20 minutes at 50 miles, but opened a 1 1/2 hour lead by 100 kilometers. Undaunted, Suprabha rallied for a stunning comeback. At 100 miles, Janet's lead had been cut to a mere 10 minutes. Still, the energy expenditure of this rally proved to be to much, and Janet hung on for a 4 mile victory (113 vs 109). Ruth Greher, a seasoned veteran, overcame predawn confusion and leg pain to be the third female finisher over 100 miles.
Once again, the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team is to be congratulated for splendid organization. The spirit of Sri Chinmoy, the dedication of his followers, the constant vigil of Tarak Kauff over the runners, and the excellent support staff of the kitchen, medical tent, and counters, raised both the performance and the mental rewards of every participant. While no new records were set, many runners (myself included) found all we expected and more at this event. The next decade is bright for this great series of Sri Chinmoy races.