The longest foot race in the world Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100-Mile Race ended on November 3, 2020, in Salzburg, Austria. Of the 5 starting athletes, three runners met the 52-day limit. Andrea Marcato became the first Italian to finish the 3100-Mile Race. He managed to finish from the first attempt and immediately took the fifth line in the world ranking of 49 athletes who had conquered the distance in 24 years. His phenomenal result – 43 days + 12:07:26. Ushika Mukenhumer from Salzburg finished second with his PB – 49 days + 11:27:55. On the last day of the race, Nirbhasha Magi from Ireland also finished with a time of 51 days + 09:41:53. Ananda-Lahari Zuschin from Slovakia and Milan Javornicki from the Czech Republic stopped on day 51, having covered 2799.603 and 2713.997 miles, respectively.
Start of the 3100-Mile Race on September 13, 2020 in Salzburg
It is worth noting that despite the general cancellation of shorter events around the world, the organizers managed to transfer the race, which has been happening since 1997 in New York, to Austria and successfully organize needed service for runners for 52 days with the support of the local authorities of Salzburg. So the series of the longest race in the world, which was first held in 1997 on the initiative and Vision of Sri Chinmoy, as a manifestation of the unlimited capacities of the human spirit, was not interrupted.
In 24 years, only 49 athletes were able to successfully complete the distance, many more times than once. So far, the record for the distance belongs to the Finnish postman Ashprihanal Aalto – 40 days + 09:06:21 (an average of 124 km per day), who has 16 successful finishes.
For all the athletes who took part, the race goes far beyond a simple competition for prizes and, along with numerous sports discoveries and nuances, includes an extensive layer of spiritual practice, mantras, and visualizations for moving forward during extreme fatigue or challenging weather conditions.
Ushika at the 3100-Mile Race
I managed to visit the race in Salzburg during the week closer to the end – this time not as a participant, but as a journalist. I noted the great attention of the organizers, helpers, and volunteers to the runners. And, of course, the familiar spirit of self-transcendence that pervades this race.
For the first time in the history of the race, the current President of the country sent a letter of support to the runners. Austrian President Alexander van der Bellen wrote in his address:
«Dear participants of the 3100 Mile Race in Salzburg!
I can’t even imagine what it’s like to go through 52 days. Yes, I like to go hiking for a few hours. But running 52 days, 118 marathons – unbelievable! What a breathtaking endurance performance! My respect is for you.
I wish all participating athletes, especially the Salzburg local hero Hubert Muckenhumer, all the best, lots of success and the necessary perseverance for the extremely challenging days of the race»
I was very pleased to once again dive into the atmosphere of one of the most challenging races in the world and interview the participants on the run.
«Besides outer challenges and suffering you can clearly feel, that gold is only here exactly here on the track. No other place, no other time as during the race. Means spiritually you can climb or dive deep into the race, into experience, into yourself only only here»
And his favourite aphorism from the Race:
“Compassion is the voice of God
Patience is the religion of action.”
Sri Chinmoy, Flame-Goal. Daily Meditations
In his second finish of three starts at 3100-Miles, Ushika looked extremely happy! His whole face was transformed. In his closing speech, he said:
«First I want to thank my Guru Sri Chinmoy, who not only created this race, but is running this race in and through us and serving this race in and all through the helpers»
I was also impressed by one of the letters that the organizers received from people who live near the park, where the race took place, or who came from afar to support the runners and get inspiration.
Letter from kindergarten teacher
«I feel profoundly honored for this outstanding activity of the Sri Chinmoy 3100 Mile Race. In the name of the many people I would like to describe a subtle change that I experience since the beginning of the race. At this moment one can experience a much more peaceful atmosphere because of those who hoist this event. Im very happy for those who can experience all this especially the children. This race brings out atmosphere that is not about fighting or being better, faster. It has already created a desirable future of life side by side and of togetherness. A sincere and profound heartfelt thank you to all those who are part of this event. Yes, this is a gift to the neighborhood»
Runners told many stories of support, inspiration, and even miracles that happened to them during the race. You can hear some of them in the interviews directly from the track.