Self-Transcendence Six Day Race 2013 Don Winkley

Don Winkley and Luis RiosPhoto by Prabhakar Street
Don Winkley and Luis RiosPhoto by Prabhakar Street

Self-Transcendence Six Day race NYC    4/21-27/13    UltraDon

It’s been some time since I wrote up any race report. I guess when the performance is so bad it is hard.

I have always wondered why those who are well past their prime and with no chance set any records – Why do they keep showing up at multiday races? Now I have to answer that question myself. It has many facets but I have witnessed and now myself realize that it is the desire to rekindle the memory of days past. Not only my performances of days past but to recall the wonderful performances of others. Few can appreciate the stories of races past except those few that attend the latest multiday race.

So I drag this 75 year old body back to where it all started so many years ago when I entered the Sri Chinmoy 7 day race in May 1994. I had only the best teachers in the ultra world namely Antana Locs, Suprabha Beckjord, Dipali Cunningham and Dhvaja Dorn. I followed them around the track – we called it joining onto the train – for hours. Never again would I have the drive-enthusiasm that resulted from their friendship. It seems unreal that it was almost 20 yrs ago.

Suprabha went on to 3100 mile fame, Dipali still wins 6 day races (which she did again this year) , Antana works the scoring table (this year and in years past) and Dhvaja seems to have disappeared. They were 20 years younger than I as were most of the crew that put on the race. We have all aged together.

Actually overriding nostalgia is the fact that I believe if one stops doing multiday races, than one’s multiday racing career is over. One trains for multiday races by doing multiday races. It’s that simple.

So I am once again at the starting line. I don’t try to bore anyone with my preparation of 36 mile weeks. It is a game of liars poker many play at the start of races. Only I have probable overstated my weekly mileage.

Now that I am here my goal is to attempt to meet the 150 mile cutoff at the end of day 3. So I must run (actually doubt if I ran a step) 50 miles/day for the first 3 days. If I can meet the cutoff I would gain confidence that in a couple of months I might be able to finish my 10th Transe Gaule. Transe Gaule is a 18 day 714 mile stage race across France, and as the only 9 time finisher that 10th finish – I cherish. In Transe Gaule I must run faster than 3.5 miles/hr while covering 42 miles average per day. Well it gets harder each year. I don’t race as many miles or train as hard as in the days of old and sub 4 hr marathons are only memories.

So in the 6 days of hanging out with friends in Flushing meadow I finish with 251 miles. I was worried that my hip injury – that has plagued me for over 6 months – would it reappear if I attempted any serious mileage. Knock on wood the hip seems to have recovered.
I walked zillions of laps with my friend Luis Rios who walked an astounding 338 miles. Luis walked 50+ miles/day at 2.5 miles/hr. You can do the arithmetic yourself – he was on the track 20+ hrs/day. I suspect he had more hours on the track than anyone including the winners. If you want to see a profile of Luis

There is another really good race report covering Luis

Some time ago I heard of gifts of random kindness. So I have attempted to give gifts of random kindness on several occasions. In this instance it began with asking Louie for his old race shirts. Louie I had learned is a devout minimalist. He wants nothing that is not absolutely necessary. His shoes and clothing remind one of the ultimate homeless, but not because of necessity but because “the old jacket still keeps off the cold as well as any new one”.

So two years ago Luis gave me a number of his old Sri Chinmoy race shirts that he was happy to give to anyone wanting same. I was tempted to make a quilt for myself adding his shirts to my collection of Sri shirts. In the end I had a quilt made for Luis using his shirts. So last year I gave Luis a bottle of Johnny Walker black and had the finished quilt mailed to him.

Luis was not so pleased with the gifts. He goes months without alcohol and what use was a quilt. Then hurricane Sandy, Luis was without electricity, heat or water for several weeks. He found use for the useless quilt and Johnny Walker black warmed the belly in the cold dark nights after hurricane Sandy. So my random act of kindness scored.

Being a collector of everything and I am now wondering about this stuff accumulated over the years – is it a treasure or a burden? Well Luis is the other extreme. I am not sure if he isn’t the one to be admired – not pitied. The home of multiday running news and events.


  1. Very inspiring and motivative post! I enjoy reading sports-related stories, because they are all about challenges, struggling, losing, winning and real friendship. I have found very informative resource for athletes – They write about so many things which might help athletes get stronger and achieve higher results.

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