Here I was again, at the start of a multi day race in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in New York. After my last years 6-Day-Race and my 10-Day-Race in this spring this was going to be my third Multi-Day-Race. With the experience of the earlier Multi-Day-Races I went quite relaxed to the start - all opposite to the first two races. Already after the first few laps it was clear for me what I wanted to do different this time. I didn't want to go again beyond my capacities, only to please my ego and get as many Miles as possible by hook or by crook. Of course I wanted to give my best but I realized in the earlier races that this is not going to working with the crowbar.
Again and again during the race a song of Sri Chinmoy came to my mind which words where encouraged to do exactly what my goal was: "Do the best you can, cheerfully!" This was from here on the motto of my race. And so it started. We had unbelievable luck with the weather. Out of twelve days eleven were sunny. Only on one day a weather system connected to a hurricane hit us, which brought us heavy rain and wind. The result of this was a smaller daily mileage for all the runners and the overflowing of the lake next to the track.
The hours and days passed by partially on a glimpse. The first three days I was quite fast and thus besides my four hours sleep could make some additional short breaks and still run more miles per day as needed to reach the 700 Miles within the cut off of 12 days. It was fascinating for me to experience how much you can regenerate in a 10-Minutes-Nap. On the fourth day though a injury came into the play that would prevent me to run until the end of the race. Now walking was on. So I could forget about my extra breaks, as well as about the goal of 700 Miles. The new goal was now: as much Miles as possible in 12 days. In this races I was already more able to prevent my mind to calculate how many days I had still to go, how many hours, laps and minutes, and to envision how many problems and difficulties I still would have to face. Contrarily I was just focusing on the lap I was doing at the moment (around 1,6 km). This is very important otherwise the mind will be overtaxed. The biggest adversary in such a race according to my experience are not the many hundred kilometres you have to go for, or the countless hours you have to hold on, but the own mind, which is able to make a hell out of such a race if you give it the opportunity. You have continuously to cherish self confidence, courage, enthusiasm etc. in the mind, otherwise it will be very difficult. Sometimes you cannot convince your mind about your potential for long time and so it is best to ignore it and remain in the heart for as long as possible. A multi day race is therefore not just outer work, but in the first place also inner work. For twenty hours per day you have to do just one thing: to work on yourself. Usually our consciousness is nearly always focused on outward things, we work, talk to friends, read, watch TV, listen music, make sport, … However in such a race it's working the other way around. You are being confronted with yourself quite intensely. This way you are very much getting aware of your personality. This is an extremely healthy and important process. Hopefully you manage also to put some things of your personality straight, and thus become a more balanced and better person. Now I understand, why Sri Chinmoy says in one of his songs: "Run and become, become and run. Run to succeed in the outer world. Become to proceed in the inner world." At the end outwardly I managed 611 Miles and was inwardly satisfied and happy.
In case somebody is further interested how such a track looks like, you can go and see some of my pictures here.
Rainald P., Innsbruck