I was fortunate to have SRI CHINMOY speak to me very briefly during what turned out to be the last multi-day ultra he would attend in person (3100 mile, 2007). I even have a photo of the occasion. But I also heard him speak at other events– I remember him publicly acknowledging one of my favorite ultra folks, Maine’s MIKE BROOKS, on the occasion of Mike’s raising many thousand dollars for Maine charities. For those who do not know, Mike again raised at least $10,000 for Camp Sunshine (camp for less fortunate kids) in Maine at this year’s New York Self-Trans. 10 day race.
I have missed having Sri C. at the last two New York 6 days. Like many other runners both students and non-students of his, I am CONVINCED I saw Guru (what many folks call Sri C.) out walking along the course this year, often late at night or in the mist and drizzle. This year’s new 1+ mile loop was special in that it had many turns into and out of scenic little side loops. We passed under and around budding oaks and beeches and bushy pines, at one point running down a lane with a complete canopy of trees overhead.
The final 1/4 mile of the loop ran down to and alongside the boardwalk on Meadow Lake, as scenic a path as I have run in any road or trail race. I heard universal agreement about this “home stretch.” Just before the finish of each loop, runners did a sweeping left-hand turn around a little hut that had a life-sized cut-out of Sri Chinmoy inside. At night special lights rigged up by announcer and longtime race worker Chayanaka (a charming young lady, not to be confused with ultralist member, poet, raconteur and veteran runner Chanakhya Jakovic, who as I write this is moving to Slovenia!) made it appear as though Guru was moving around and clapping for us.
Today, one week post-race, I am home gardening and jogging ’round the block and chasing my kids on the playground. My family gave me a GREAT pre-50th birthday surprise by showing up in Flushing Meadows at midnight (!), and helping cheer for me and all the runners (unfortunately while I had fun, my own running all week was “extra medicore”).
A BIG, HEARTFELT THANK YOU FROM MARK, HELEN, AMALIA AND TOBY DORION to all the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and their extended race worker family for putting on perhaps their BEST multiday race yet. Hopefully I can make it out to the first day (June 14) of the famous 3100 mile (5000Km) and thank everyone again in person.
***Longer articles on this year’s record-breaking (Dipali Cunningham 513++ miles, Pam Reed 490 mi, Kaneenika J. and Sarah B. in 10 day) New York multi-day races should appear in several magazines, including the July ULTRARUNNING. (If you don’t subscribe to UR, it is only $30/ year at www.ultrarunning.com –no financial interest)
Best aloha to ultrarunners everywhere,
Mark Dorion (49 years 362 days old) / El Paso, TX