First European woman completed 3100 mile race in New York

As the first European woman and the second woman of the world Surasa Mairer from Austria finished the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race (4988 km), the longest certified foot race in the world. Only 10 runners dared  to run the race in 2011, which is organised by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team. The 52-year-old secretary from Vienna completed the ultra race on a 0.5488 mile course (883 meters) around a block in the borough Queens of New York in 53 days 15 hours 54 minutes and 25 seconds. The female runner consumed 10,000 calories per day, but lost 6 lbs (3 kg) of weight and used up 7 pairs of running shoes. Surasa is also the first woman who ran a marathon backwards. The today 55-year-old Suprabha Beckjord from Washington is the only other woman which completed this race. The American ran twelve editions of the race and her best time was 49 days 14 hours 30 minutes and 54 seconds. Up to now only 30 runners have completed the race since it was founded by athlete and peace visionary Sri Chinmoy in 1997. In 2002 Surasa Mairer broke two long-standing records for women, setting new world bests at 1000 km (7days+16:08:37) and 700 miles (8days+15:34:13). In 2001 she shattered the women’s world record for 1300 miles by completing the distance in 17 days 21 hours, nearly an hour and a half under the record. For more information please go to (Photograph by Anastasia Lebedeva)

On Sunday, June 12, at 6:00 a.m. the world’s longest certified race began with ten starters – nine men and one woman.  Eight finished the 3100 Mile distance within the time allotted.  For the first time in the 15-year history of the race, due to the extreme heat this year, Day 42 was an enforced rest day, which still counted toward the finish times.  Consequently, the end of the race period was extended by one day to midnight, Thursday, August 4th.  Finland’s Ashprihanal Aalto, who previously completed the 3100 Mile Race ten times, was  cruising to a personal best, just a “few hundred miles” from the goal, when the heat wave came. He had to surrender to the weather and ended in third place behind two first-time entrants, both from the Ukraine.  Austria’s Surasa Mairer is the second woman ever to enter the 3100 Mile Race, finishing the distance this year on her second attempt and setting a new women’s masters world record.

The men’s world record of 41 days + 08:16:29 was set in 2006 by Madhupran Wolfgang Schwerk, GERMANY, who was then age 50.  Suprabha Beckjord of the USA set the women’s world record of 49 days + 14:30:54 in 1998 at age 42.  Beckjord completed 13 consecutive 3100 Mile Races from 1997 to 2009.  This year’s female winner, Surasa Mairer of AUSTRIA, surpassed by more than three days Beckjord’s master’s record of 56 days + 17:51:22 set in 2008. The sponsoring Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team (SCMT) was founded in 1977 and soon began offering running races for the public.  The SCMT has sponsored multiday races in the New York area for the last two decades.  In 1985 the SCMT offered its first 1000 Mile Race in Flushing Meadows Park, the first of its kind in this hemisphere in this century. The founder of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, Sri Chinmoy, passed away in October 2007.  The 80th anniversary of his birth in 1931 will be this coming August 27th.  In the spiritual community in India where he grew up, he excelled in soccer and volleyball, and was the top-ranked sprinter. During his late teens he was also a decathlon champion.  In the 1970s and 1980s, he was an active long-distance runner, completing many marathons, ultra-marathons and shorter races. Sri Chinmoy practiced sports not only for the joy of it, and to keep the body fit, but also because he saw sports as a natural vehicle for expressing his philosophy of self-transcendence which means going beyond personal limits and reaching new levels of inner and outer perfection.  The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team dedicates this event and all others around the world to his memory and hopes that his inspiration and high standards will always be kept at the forefront of all its endeavors.


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