This year’s competition was extremely significant. New world records were set for both men and women, as well as two national records and many personal bests. And that was only the outer aspect of the race, visible to the naked eye . . .
Ashprihanal Aalto of Finland raised the world record for 3100 miles to a new level, bettering the previous record, set by German Madupran Schwerk, by 23 hours. Madupran’s record had lasted nine years. Ashprihanal’s new world record, 40 days + 09:06:21, is an average of 123 km/day! Ashprihanal had been working towards this achievement over thirteen attempts in thirteen years!
Austrian Surasa Mairer surpassed Suprabha’s Beckjord seventeen-year-old record by more than six hours, making it the best performance ever by a woman! The new world record is 49 days + 07:52:01. It is especially impressive that Surasa’s best performance, out of the three times she’s run the race, came at the age of 56.
Galya Vladimir Balatsky set a new record for a Ukrainian: 42 days +17:39:59. Along the way, he managed to set a record that surpassed even Madupran and Ashprihanal—he ran 70 miles or more every single day—including the very last one!
And Vasu Nicolai Duzhy set a new Russian record: 44 days + 06:10:42
For me the race started with difficulties. It was my eleventh running of the race, and I was well prepared. But all my efforts to run at a good pace failed. I had to start walking all day every fourth or fifth day. I had two major crises in the first half of the race, both psychic and physical. I think these were partially a result of all the construction going on at the Thomas Edison School, which the race course circles. Other factors that affected me were tremendous variations in the weather, inadequate nutrition and a full moon. For some unknown reason, I always get incredibly weak during a full moon! The list could go on . . . But the fact remains that during the first half of the race, almost every day I felt I was getting sick. Nevertheless, I was able to keep moving.
When I got to the point where there were only three weeks left to the race, I had done so much walking that to meet the deadline I had to run 112 laps daily without fail. I realized that it was time to get going. Perhaps the secret to running the 3100-Mile Race lies in determination, which can attract Grace from Above and cancel the impact of construction, a full moon or anything else that stands in your way.
Gradually, I adopted a middle path—not chasing high daily mileage, but trying to cover the miles I would need to finish before the deadline. On some days I was able to do more than the minimum without a lot of stress or tension. Over the last nineteen days I was able to run very smoothly and maintain my pace. I even kept going strong through the second full moon.
Kausal, our “super doctor” from Italy arrived at the race ten days before the end. He is an expert in Ayurveda, homeopathy and subtle energies, and he helped me a lot including stabilizing the functioning of my internal organs.
My time for the race was 50 days + 12:52:49. I finished one day before the end of the race. That was 48 hours worse than my best time, which I ran in 2014. But it was still a huge victory for me. Just finishing the 3100-Mile Race, no matter how fast, is a special milestone in the life of a runner. I was incredibly happy!
To see the details of this year’s race, you can watch my video reports that I posted almost every day during the run.
As I write these lines I have the feeling that the moment I try to express my feelings about the 3100-Mile Race experience, I immediately separate it from the actual reality. When I talk or write about the race the experience gets diminished so that what I say or write has only a faint resemblance to the original.
I can only imagine the difficulty spiritual Masters must have when they see the Truth in all its radiance, grandeur and immensity . . . and then try to explain their Vision and Experience to people through words, poetry, music, gestures and so on. It’s like trying to put the ocean in a nutshell. But at the same time, if these limited expressions of the Truth are so inspiring, what can be said about the Original? )
It seems that the only way to get the full and undistorted experience is to become the experience itself; to become the Truth.
In 2004, when Arpan DeAngelo started the 3100-Mile Race for the first time, he said, “helping runners at the 3100 all these years, coming to the loop on almost a daily basis, I thought I knew everything about the 3100 miles. But when I started, I realized that I know nothing! The only way to grasp the distance—is to start the race.”