The Gift by Utpal Marshall – The Sri Chinmoy 47 Mile Race

Utpal Marshall has adapted his skills to produce accounts and narratives on the activities of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in New York through his blog Perfection Journey. As a runner he has experienced the marathon and ultramarathons on more than a few occasions and has offered clear perspectives on the runners experiences in the Self-Transcendence 6 & 10 day races as well as the 3100 mile race. Checkout his blog at the link below to read the full article of which an excerpt is posted here and much other material on the running activities of Sri Chinmoy and his students.

Sri Chinmoy’s long distance running life started in a simple and spontaneous way.  On June 1 1978 while  visiting in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park where he had just planted and dedicated a Peace tree.  It was a typical late spring day, overcast and coolish.  A not untypical San Franciscan day.  After the formalities of the Peace tree inauguration he invited the small gathering of his students to go out and run with him in the park.  They did not run far and they did not run fast but it was something new and it was a clear sign that a great shift in life in the Sri Chinmoy center was about to take place. After the run, and still slightly out of breath, he invited all who were there to come and run the New York city marathon in the fall of the year.  It was an invitation that would spread out far and wide, to all of his students everywhere.   Running the New York city marathon became a tradition that continued for many years until 2002, when the marathon team then sponsored their own race in August during the yearly celebrations. There were of course many recent events in the year leading up to June 1 1978, that had given us strong clues that distance running would become the next big thing in the center.  The Liberty Torch relay had criss-crossed America just 2 years earlier and Canada’s Oneness Heart had traversed the country from coast to coast the summer before. From these events Sri Chinmoy’s students had received a small sampling of what running could accomplish both within and without.  He was obviously inspired to provide even more opportunities for the young men and women in the center so that they might find opportunities to excel and transcend themselves in sport.  No one realized of course that Sri Chinmoy the sprinter would soon become a distance runner himself. What no one knew, on that cool spring day, was that an even greater opportunity for progress was soon to arrive.  It would come even before most could even digest fully the significance of running the 26 mile marathon in New York. A few of us had been fortunate enough to be just slightly ahead of the pack.  A handful had run the 1976 NYC marathon and an even greater number, including myself had run in 1977. But a little more than a month after this recording was made, and probably less than a month before his 47th birthday, Sri Chinmoy offered us all a totally surprising and unprecedented invitation.  Starting at midnight, on August 27th, when his 47th birthday was to begin we were all invited to run in a 47 mile race. Read the whole article on Perfection- Journey The home of multiday running news and events.

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