Wall Street Journal reports on 3100-mile Ultra Race in Queens, NY

Pavol, one of the 3,100-mile Runners (from Perfection-Journey Website)

Dharbhasana Lynn had trouble explaining to his friends back home in New Zealand how he planned to spend his summer. He told them he had decided to enter a road race in New York City, except this race would entail running at least two marathons a day. Every day. For nearly two months. The 14th Annual Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100-Mile Race began on June 13, when 11 runners from eight countries gathered at dawn on a stretch of sidewalk outside the Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School in Jamaica, Queens, NY. The sheer volume of mileage can be difficult enough to comprehend, but there is more mind-bending wackiness: The course is a single city block. Each runner must complete 5,649 laps of a .5488-mile loop around the high school in 52 days or less, and they plod along from 6 a.m. to midnight. The organizers (te Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team) champion the event as the world’s longest certified footrace. Mr. LaRusso said Mr. Chinmoy found running to be a useful way of confronting—and ultimately surmounting—the physical boundaries of the body and the psychic limits of the mind. This race was an outgrowth of that philosophy. City Council Member James Gennaro, whose district in Queens includes the course, said he draws inspiration from the race, whose organizers have never asked for public assistance. “They rely on spiritual sustenance,” Mr. Gennaro said. Nobody knows that better than Suprabha Beckjord, a 54-year-old gift shop owner from Washington, D.C., who has completed the race 13 times. That equates to 40,300 miles—or more than seven roundtrips between New York and Los Angeles. Ms. Beckjord said she began to follow Mr. Chinmoy’s teachings in 1977 and took up running shortly thereafter as a means of supplementing her meditation. Her first race was a 4-miler, and her unlikely path to epic feats of endurance progressed from there. She said she was motivated to participate in her first multi-day event after Mr. Chinmoy was said to have lifted 200 pounds over his head with one arm—at age 55. “That was quite an awesome feat,” Ms. Beckjord said, “so we had a 200-mile race to celebrate.” “You need to let your heart be in control,” Ms. Beckjord said. “The mind is always analyzing and dividing everything up: ‘Whoa! There are a lot of miles!’ But the heart doesn’t analyze and measure so much. So you focus on the heart and find joy in whatever you encounter.” For the first time in the race’s history, Ms. Beckjord decided to sit this one out. She said she wanted to take a break.

Check out the whole article, photos and a video here Wall Street Journal. If you want to regularly follow the 3,100-mile Race go to this site: Perfection-Journey.

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