As has been the standard for this Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, Queens, New York event (same giant park in which the Mets play baseball, the U.S. Open Tennis is held, various rowing races happen on Meadow Lake, etc.), at least 20 (twenty) countries are expected to have runners in the field. Leading the men in the Self-Transcendence 6 day race is Ukrainian Galya “Volodia” Baltaksyy, winner of many multi-days around the world and coming off an almost-140 mile 24 hour PR last week in Missouri as a warm-up. Galya is one of those runners who I love having on a 1+ mile loop with me, as every time he flies past lapping me yet again, he makes an encouraging or interesting remark.
Leading the women will be the ubiquitous Dipali C. Cunningham, a longtime NYC resident and veteran server/hostess at the well-known Annam Brahma Indian Restaurant. Dipali has won every edition of this 6 day and won the 10 day prior to that, not to mention many other multi-days during her long career. Her PR for 6 days is 513+ miles, backed up by 510 and– last year at age 55– 475 miles.
Veteran North American racers in the 6 day include upstate New York’s John Geesler, the pride of Corpus Cristi, Texas– Dr. Don Winkley, and Canada’s Roger Martel. Chasing Dipali will be Ukraine’s Nataliya Hlushchuk (whose husband Volidimir has run extremely well in several of the 10 day races here) and someone I am calling a “talented darkhorse”– Chess Coach and master Lyalya Faerman of Brooklyn (just remember that name).
Running on the same twisting loop along the shore of Meadow Lake and around the Heart-Garden Circle, the Self-Transcendence 10 day athletes will be paced by Czech Atmavir Petr Spacil (lately visiting in scenic Ottawa, Ontario). Atmavir is well-known for his bouncing a handball for many of his miles, as well as his unique sense of humor and fun (I have seen him running with a bear, a skunk and other unusual items). Slovakians Baladev Saraz and Ananda-Lahari Zuscin, both finishers of the world’s longest ultra (NY 3100 Mile, which happens in June a few miles to the south of Flushing Meadows), will chase Atmavir as will several “legendary” multi-day veterans.
Dr. Karteek A. Clarke (UK/ Scotland) has– at my last count– 11 (eleven!) successful English Channel swims and has coached many other swimmers of all ages to complete the Channel. “Big Andrey” Andreyev of St. Petersburg, Russia (very muscular big guy, also Special Forces veteran– do not let him shake hands with you or you may have a broken hand!) is always consistent. Georgs Jermolajevs, winner of many multi-days in his youth including an early 2700/ 3100 (for which he was pictured on the cover of ULTRARUNNING magazine), will toe the line at age 72 while the USA’s Fred Davis III will be running his umpteenth 10 day here.
On the distaff side in the 10 day, Australia’s globetrotting Sarah Barnett will face professional cellist and super-talented 50 year young Austrian runner Shamita M. Achenbach-Konig. Another always-encouraging and outgoing runner, Ottawa, Ontario’s Karnayati Morison, will be back for another go at age 68.
BUT WHAT ABOUT THE HUNGARY EMU 6 DAY RACE?? JOE FEJES OF THE USA and many other talented athletes will be there.
Alas, I have run out of typewriter ribbon and energy and will provide updates on that sure-to-be-fast race in the next few days.
Also, as I have always claimed when submitting these little historical race pieces, much of the information provided is accurate only “to the best of my fading memory.”
Race website: Self-Transcendence Six and Ten Day Races
Race website: EMU 6 Day Race