In 1996 Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team organized the 2700 miles race in New York. Five athletes finished then within 47 day limit. And next year, Sri Chinmoy had increased the distance to 3100 miles with a limit of 51 days. This meant that the runners must do the average of 60.7 miles daily. Since then, the race is held annually on a half mile loop in a residential area of Queens, New York. This is the longest certified road race in the world up to date.
By 2014 year only 37 people have finished the race. I was lucky to be the first runner from Ukraine and all post Soviet Union countries, to first complete the race in 2004. Since then I have 8 successful finishes to my credit with a personal best of 48 days + 3:57:19 (2014) – #16 overall in ranking.
What prompted me to come to the starting line of the longest race in the world? Probably a dream … In 2003, 7 runners should start the race. Then the director of Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team – Rupantar La Russo, sent out to Sri Chinmoy Centres worldwide message stating that Sri Chinmoy feels that among his students there are those who can run this distance, even if longest completed race at their history was just a marathon. Something responded in my heart. I remember when I said to myself, “This is about you.” Moreover I had just finished a 13-hour run in Moscow (105 km). I sent my application by express mail, but that year, approval did not come. In August of the same year Rupantar told me: “Do not worry, you will run next year.” I took it as a joke at the time and forgot about 3100 miles. To such an extent that I even didn’t apply for 2004! And now, at the beginning of March 2004, Sahishnu, another race director, send me a message: “Congratulations, Sri Chinmoy has approved your participation in 3100 miles!” I immediately accepted the challenge of the race. I started realising that running 3100 miles was an ancient dream of my soul …
Now I can say that the most powerful motive to participate in this race for me is the thirst for real life. Real life, because on the race everything is simple and sincere. There is no place for falsehood. You learn so much about yourself, you learn to work with your body, and you see what’s preventing you from moving forward and what to do. And you learn a lot about the world around you and the people and become an conscious part of this world. All up to maximum. After a while you see that you are running nearly 65 miles a day – and it is natural for you. You sleep for 4-5 hours and at 6 am every day you are standing at the starting line of the infinite concrete loop – and it is natural for you. It’s – okay. This is – your true capacities …
We are all truly unlimited,
If we only dare to try
And have faith.
– Sri Chinmoy
For the inner experiences and intensity that a runner having on the track during one and a half month we can say that he having experiences of a few lives. This is the greatest reward that beckons him to be at the start year after year. Difficult days, pains and suffering are disappearing after finish quite quickly. But the fullness of life – remains.