SOMETHING INCREDIBLE WILL HAPPEN TODAY by Adrian Tarit Stott & Abichal Sherrington

self-transcendence 3100 mile race 2015 day 41
Day 41 start Photo by Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team

“Flying Finn” Asprihanal Alto set to break the record for the Self-Transcendence 3,100 mile race.

Something incredible will happen today. Sometime this afternoon, Ashprihanal Aalto the Finnish multi day ultra runner, will step into the record books as he completes the Self-Transcendence 3,100 mile race, the world’s longest certified footrace for the 13th time.

Aalto, who has been setting new records either at National, European or World level at most distances beyond 1,000 miles as the race has progressed, is set to break the long standing record for the event, held by the German ultra runner Madhupran Wolfgang Schwerk set in 2006.
Schwerk, who still holds the German national record for 24 hours and 6 days recorded a time for the 3,100 miles of 41 days + 08:16:29
Aalto, who has been averaging a phenomenal 76.44 miles a day every day for the last 40 days, is set to break the record by some 17 hours.

With long distance endurance running in the public eye recently, comparisons have been drawn with the American ultra runner Scott Jurek’s Appalachian trail challenge, where Jurek ran the whole 2,189 mile length of the Appalachian trail from Georgia’s Springer Mountain to Mount Katahdin in Maine, in 46 days +8:07:00 to set a new record on July 12th this year. The nature of the terrain Jurek faced was quite different to what the 12 runners taking part in the 3100 mile race faced. While Jurek was on a beautiful, scenic and at times very undulating technical trail, Aalto and the 3100 runners have been circling an 883 metre pavement in suburban Queens in New York city.
Jurek is a star of the ultra running world with 7 western states 100 mile victories to his credit as well as setting a new US 24 hour record in 2010. His love of running and seeking out new challenges for himself has also been well documented and his Vegan lifestyle and popular books have inspired many runners of all standards. Jurek has said that, “though I want to win, the running is a vehicle for self-discovery.”¹

For the 3,100 mile runners, many of whom have come back year after year, self-discovery is an inner journey that they have embraced in their day to day lives and the 3100 mile race is a metaphor for the spiritual life, a life of self-transcendence – self-expansion in every way, physically, mentally and spiritually.

William Sichel, who last year became the first British runner to complete the race within the 52 day time limit commented

“I think the enormity of the performance is difficult to comprehend, even for someone who has been involved with multiday running for 9 years and has actually completed the 3100 last year.

The record that has been broken was a very good one. Set by Madhupran Wolfgang Schwerk, who is second only to Yiannis Kouros in road and track ultra running supremacy – in other words it was a fantastic performance in the first place.

When you also take into consideration the unique circumstances that apply to the 3100 mile race, ie the often busy, congested, noisy, open-to-the-public course, the very much imperfect pavement surface, often hot and humid conditions and the enforced 6 hour break each day – you get some idea of what is involved.

Ashprihanal’s performance is immense and is right up there in the hierarchy of ultra running achievements.”
The Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race
Called ‘The Mount Everest of ultramarathons’ by The New York Times, this is the longest certified footrace in the world. Athletes are able to test themselves in a format unlike any other ultra-marathon event. They must average 59.6 miles per day- for 52 straight days – in order to reach 3100 miles. The surface is concrete sidewalks around a playground, ball fields, and the confines of a vocational high school, and all in a city neighborhood setting. They must run these miles in an 18-hour daily format. The physical and psychological demands are prodigious, if not overwhelming. Thus, participation is limited to invited athletes who have a resume of multi-day running experience and elite endurance abilities. To date, in the previous 18 years there have been 37 people who have conquered the distance.

The race serves as an inspiration for people in all walks of life to ‘go the extra mile’ or reach their own highest potential in whatever they do.
The race founder Sri Chinmoy often used ‘self-transcendence’ as the cornerstone of his philosophy. He said,” The supreme secret or goal will be to transcend our own capacities. We will not try to defeat others. We will try only to constantly transcend ourselves.”

Visit the race website to get daily updates:

Sources: ¹ The home of multiday running news and events.

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