Yiannis Kouros: “I Don’t Believe in Long Runs”

By LetsRun.com
August 31, 2021

In 2019, LetsRun.com did a month-long exploration of the ultramarathon sceneduring which we spent a lot of time searching for the greatest ultramarathon world record. At the end of the exploration, we declared Yiannis Kouros’ 24-hour world record of 303.31 km (188.68 miles) to be the greatest ultramarathon record in history. After all, no one else in history had even come within 21 kilometers/13 miles of it. That all changed last weekend as Aleksandr Sorokin of Lithuania broke the record by running 309.40 kilometers (192.25 miles).

It reminded us that we never published a fantastic emailed interview that Robert Johnson did with Kouros in 2019. We didn’t publish it at the time as there was a delay in getting the responses back — Kouros had some problems with his eyes as he had been busy welding iron as he worked on his house. By the time we got the responses, our ultramarathon exploration was over and Robert had stopped looking for the reply. Thus it was AWOL in his email inbox for many months until being discovered. Since then, we’ve been waiting for an appropriate time to publish it. Now is that time.

Few excerpts from that interview:

I think that my records last so long because the majority of runners believe in fitness. Ultra-running is a mental sport that touches metaphysical/spiritual aspects of the human [being] and this is the main reason why it is not for the masses. Organizers who leave it open and accepting everybody –regardless of their abilities – are wrong, using people who love running, while in those of the participants who do not belong to the sport, there is lack of self-knowledge.

 

There is no distance or time-limit event in which I performed with -not just ideal, but not even- good conditions, either personal or weather/course conditions

 

In the last few decades may they came some good runners in the scene, but I don’t follow as they really [race] based just on fitness.

 

Continue reading the full interview

Secrets of the 3100-Mile Race. Meet the runners online!

27 November 2021
10:00 New York
16:00 Zurich
17:00 Kiev
18:00 Moscow
YouTube Live Stream https://youtu.be/fi58tHhoOMA

Meeting with the 5 runners of the world’s longest 3100-Mile Race in 2021. Race took place in New York Sep5 – Oct 26

Languages: English and Russian.

Andrea Marcato, Italy
Harita Davies, USA/New Zealand
Vasu Nikolay Duzhiy, Russia
Ananda-Lahari Zuschin, Slovakia
Stutisheel Oleg Lebedev, Ukraine

Also Race Director Rupantar LaRusso, USA

The race takes place annually over a 52-day period. Traditionally, it has begun on the third Sunday in June and ending in early August, with runners traversing a .5488 mile loop around a sports field, playground, and high school in Jamaica, Queens, New York City. (In 2020, we had to cancel the race in New York, instead it took place in Salzburg, Austria under strict health supervision.)

Conceived of as both a physical and spiritual journey, the race allows athletes to test themselves in a format, unlike any other ultra-marathon. In order to meet their goal of 3100 miles in 52 days, they must log an average of 59.6 miles per day.

The Self-Transcendence 3100-Mile Race was conceived by Sri Chinmoy (1931-2007), a spiritual teacher, athlete, artist, musician, poet, and humanitarian. His emphasis on self-transcendence and the triumph of the human spirit provides the inspiration which has powered the race since its inception.

World’s longest 3100 Mile Race kicks off in New York Sep 5, 2021

The world’s longest certified 3100 Mile Race kicks off at 6:00 New York time on September 5th. The race takes place for the 25th time in the New York suburb, in the Jamaica, Queens, in a lap of 883 meters.
The annual Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race has been named the “Everest of Ultramarathons” by the New York Times. Runners must cover an average of 96 kilometers per day to cover 3,100 miles (4,987 km) in a 52-day deadline. Runners are given 18 hours every day – from 6 am to midnight. In the previous 24 3100 mile starts organized by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and the one-time 5000 km start in Athens in 2020, only 49 people were able to finish the distance.

This race is the major competition of the Sri Chinmoy International Marathon Team.

This year there are 7 runners from 7 countries at the start.

Men:
1. Andrea Marcato, 39 years, Italy (lives in Zurich, Switzerland). Winner of the Salzburg 3100 Mile Race in 2020.
2. Vasu Nikolay Duzhiy, 54 years, St. Petersburg, Russia.
8 finishes at 3100. Three-time race winner (2013, 2017, 2018)
3. Stutisheel Oleg Lebedev, 51 years old, Kiev, Ukraine. The first Ukrainian to finish the race in 2004. There are 9 finishes in total at his credit.
4. Ananda-Lahari Zuschin, 47 years, Kosice, Slovakia. 6 finishes for 3100 out of 16 starts.
5. Takasumi Seno, 39 years, Japan. Ran 4000 km in Athens in 2020. Will start 3100 Miles in New York for the first time.
6. Lo Wei Ming, 58 years, Taiwan (ROC). Holder of national records for 48 hours, six days, 1000 km, 10 days and 1000 miles. Will start 3100 Miles in New York for the first time.

Women:
1. Harita Davis, 46, Christchurch, New Zealand / USA. Holder of the national 3100 Mile Record. Has 2 finishes at the Race.

The official website of the competition www.3100.SriChinmoyRaces.org has a link to the webcams. On the website you can follow the results and you can also send a letter of support to the runners.

Stutisheel’s blog – 3100Mile Race first-hand experience available at www.3100.Lebedev.org.ua

3100-Mile Race Impressions in 2020

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»
Ushika

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.

Video Reports on 3100-Mile Race 2020

Now we know that even in the most difficult year, you can find a way out with the organization of the longest race in the world! We look forward to the next start in 2021!


More inspiration

Official 3100 Mile Race Page
Photo gallery 3100-2020
Videos
Publications

The 3100 Mile Race started on September 13, 2020, in Austria!

Although the official start of the traditional 3100 Mile Race in New York, which was scheduled for June 2020, did not take place, the organizers hoped that the race could be held at another time, possibly in a different location, but still this year. Several European and American cities have been suggested…

And in early September, it became known that the authorities of the Austrian Salzburg had given the go-ahead to hold the longest race in the world Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, from September 13 to November 3, 2020.

The athletes actually did not have time to prepare and strategically plan their vacation – five people went to the start, who turned out to be not under the pressure of other projects and who had the opportunity to come to the start in Austria.

All my active runner friends from Russia and Ukraine were unable to participate due to Austrian entry restrictions. As always, this is a whole complex of circumstances and connections (which is usually called “divine play”) – we have what we have.

Five bravest runners started in Salzburg on September 13:

  • Nirbhasa Magee, 41 (IRL), living in Reykjavik, Iceland – 3 finishes, ranked 22nd
  • Ananda-Lahari Zuscin, 45, Kosice Slovakia – 6 finishes, ranked 25th
  • Ushika Muckenhumer, 52, Salzburg, Austria – 1 finish, ranked 30th
  • Andrea Marcato, 38 (ITA), living in Zurich, Switzeland – first time runner, two times over 1000km in 10 day race
  • Milan Javornicky, 46, Celakocice, CZE  – first time runner, 569 miles in ten day race

The racecourse was chosen in a picturesque place along the river – the lap is certified, the length is 1.04367 km (slightly more than our original 0.883 m in New York). Athletes need to complete 4,781 laps to finish 3,100 miles. The daily routine remains the same: the common start is at 6:00, the lap is open until 24:00. Runners rest from midnight to 6 am. There is a 52-day deadline to cover the distance.

Let’s wish them good luck!

Stay connected – let’s follow the news of the race together.

Trophy prize in the 7.5 km Oceanman swim

September 5, 2020, I finished in the Oceanman swim for 7.5 km in Odessa together with my wife!

In the middle of the summer, when almost all running starts were canceled, the inspiration came to join my wife, who was preparing for a 10 km swim after a not so successful start in Cherkasy across the Dnipro river. I then figured – there should be enough time to prepare for 2 months. And training began 5 days a week in the pool.

It took me a month to pick up speed, strengthen arms, and even out the balance. In August, I already confidently kept the pace of 2 min / 100 m during long swims of 4-5-6 km. I noticed from my past training sessions for a swim across Zurich Lake, with an emphasis on swimming, the shoulders and arms are strengthened, the legs are weakened) Correspondingly, the body balance in the water improves – the legs sink less and the body position is closer to the horizontal line. Our maximum swim was 8 km, and in that week we swam 26 km in total.
Now about the start itself in Odessa.

The distance was supposed to be 10 km, but due to difficult weather conditions, the organizers reduced it to 7.5 km on the day of the start. It seems the waves, wind, and rain intensified with each lap) The sea was stormy by 3 points.

We swam three laps of 2.5 km each. One stretch directly against the wind and waves with burunches was something! Despite having already swum  10 km in Miami and 26 km on Zurich Lake, conditions in the Black Sea were the most challenging.

But everything went very cool! Immensely happy! Swam in 3:04 (pace 2: 27/100 m or 2.4 km / h), Irina – in 3:20. She was attacked by seasickness, as in Cherkasy. The pills she had stocked up didn’t work very well …

Although I did not expect much from the organization (according to the stories of the participants of past starts), practically everything turned out to be ok. Of course, I would put more buoys for a reference point, otherwise, there were only four large buoys in the corners on the 2.5 km lap in the sea with waves. And even they were not always visible because of the waves! Plus the 5 km swim (they had two laps, and we had three) started when many of the 7.5 km swimmers finished the first lap. I got into the cyclone of the mess)

I was ready to swim another lap to a full ten! Sped up at the end. Although when I got out of the water, I realized that I did my best and was tired.

Super positive drive! Several times I caught myself thinking that I got the flow and made friends with the sea)

Another self-transcendence! As a result, we also won prizes in our age category 50-59 (Irina – the first, I – the third) and perfectly presented the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team.

The fullness of life is in motion!