Smarana at the 3100 Mile Race

3100 Meilen

Twelf runners, among them also three Austrians, ventured to this year's start of the longest precisely measured race of the world, the Self-Transcendence 3100 Milerace.

The distance of 3100 miles equates to a east west crossing of the North American continent.
51 days is the time available to manage the distance, this means you have to do close to 100km per day to be able to finish on time.

The start was at 6 am and every day the runners had time until 12 pm to manage the distance.
From 12 pm to 6 am there was a compulsory break; this way the race was build up by single 18 hours days, which every runner could plan on his own. Interestingly in most cases a 15 minutes break was good enough to fairly recover mentally and physically.
Some runners were content with one break per day and again others would have more breaks. This way you would be 17 hours a day on the road, 7 days per week and for 7 weeks.

Of course the question will arise how one can bear such thing, as this burden is not only physically but also psychically quite extreme.
Every ultra runner knows that the longer the distance is getting the more important the mental condition is growing, to be able to deal with the monotony, the stress and one owns thoughts.
I observed that nearly all participants meditate or have a very positive philosophy of life.
For me personally it is an extremely important symbiosis, where one aspect can help the other.
Running gives me the opportunity to keep my body fit and meditation helps me to bring peace in my thoughts and to direct them to a higher goal.
After some time running becomes also a kind of meditation that allows me to dive within, there unexpected strength reserves can be tapped which are nearly inexhaustible.
So for me also Sri Chinmoy is always a source of inspiration, if I think for example at his one arm lift of a 3,2 tons heavy dumbbell or at his calf raise machine with which he lifted a full grown elephant.
Within ourselves an unbearable treasure is hiding, this diving within can help us a lot in our outer efforts.

This way I also experience this race much more as a travel to my world within instead of a race to beat the others.
It was a long journey, I have won a lot of friends and run together with Kuranga for nearly 1700 miles.

It was a very beautiful and transforming journey, where the body have grown strong but first of all it was a transforming, purifying experience that allowed me to mature on the human level.