Sri Chinmoy runs 13 miles solo on a one-mile course around his house in Jamaica, Queens, New York. He begins at 2:00 a.m., intending to run 30 miles, but stops at 13 miles due to injury. He had been running at 7:30 per mile pace. At Annam Brahma restaurant he requests the disciples to complete his task, with the boys running 17 miles and the girls running 13 miles, beginning at 8:00 am. When the event ends, two and a half hours later, 10 men and one woman had completed the 17 miles.
Brooklyn Half Marathon
Sri Chinmoy runs the Brooklyn Half Marathon in a time of 1:57:28 in Brooklyn, New York. His splits are 59:06 at 7 miles and 1:27:46 at 10 miles; his overall pace is 8:58 per mile.
Stories from the Race
by Sri Chinmoy
In the beginning of the Brooklyn Half-Marathon, I was competing with three old ladies. At two miles one surrendered and the other two were still running with me. I saw how hard they were breathing, how much noise they were making through their mouths. So I didn’t make any noise, even though I was tired. Psychologically, they felt that they were more tired than I was. But they didn’t know what was going on inside me — how tired I was. Then, at five miles, I went ahead of them.
The kind of competition that I tell about in my running stories is not serious; there is no animosity in it. For example, there was one girl with whom I was having this kind of joking competition during the half-marathon, and at around nine miles she was four or five metres ahead of me. At one point she started going straight ahead, following Ashrita and somebody else on the road crew who were running back to the car. She didn’t see the long white mark on the road indicating the correct course. I screamed at her to make a left turn. So she came back to the course and was very happy that I had told her. Otherwise, she would have gone another two hundred metres out of her way. If I had really been competing with her, I would have kept silent and just tried to go as far ahead of her as possible.
I was running on the right side of the street all the time and my road crew was also stationed on the right side. At the second mile mark I was shouting at my road crew that I was coming, but Sudhir was not seeing me. Peter and Databir were looking right at me. I even passed by them, but still they didn’t see me.
After I had crossed the ten-mile mark and had run hardly three hundred metres, Databir was saying, “Almost eleven miles!” It was false encouragement.
During the Brooklyn Half-Marathon one Canadian boy, a new Quebec disciple, ran with me. Then after five miles he slowed down.
Around me, people who were running were enjoying the half-marathon like anything. They would go over to shake hands with people standing on the sidewalk. Or if their parents had come to watch, children would say hello to their parents as they ran by. One girl shouted, “I am running thirteen miles, Mom, Dad! What are you going to give me to eat, Mom?” The mother was telling the daughter what she was going to make for her to eat, and the father was begging her to run faster.
So many people were talking as they ran. Somebody said that once he had run five miles in Central Park and afterwards he lay down and wouldn’t get up. His girl-friend said, “Yes, it took you five hours to get up.”
There were young people who started walking; they didn’t run all the way. After seven miles, during each and every mile I walked for several metres. I could have managed without walking, but walking was a great relief.
One black policeman was encouraging me like anything, telling me, “Don’t lose to all the girls!”
While running, when I look at others who are ahead of me, it doesn’t seem that their legs are going faster than mine. I am not at all impressed with their speed. Their leg speed seems absolutely slow. I feel that my legs are going faster, yet they are ahead of me. I have created an absolutely false illusion. Because I am making noise with my breathing, I make myself believe that I am going faster.
Towards the end of the race I saw a man who was having trouble going downhill. When he was running uphill, he was doing well, but while going downhill he was absolutely in trouble. This meant that he was using all his energy going uphill.
During the last mile and a half a very tall man was competing with me — running about a metre away from me. When we neared thirteen miles, I said, “All right, let him go ahead,” and I started walking. The man was so happy that I had started walking, and he went thirty or forty metres ahead of me.
Then Databir, Gayatri and a few others started screaming and cheering, and I got such joy. I said, “Now is the time for me to go ahead of him.” I got inspiration to run fast and I defeated him by six or eight metres.
The announcer at the finish line was one of the officials of the New York Road Runners Club who likes me so much. He always comes and shakes hands with me. When I was two hundred metres from the finish line, he announced over the loudspeaker, “Sri Chinmoy is coming.”
Published in Run and Become, Become and Run, part 5
Sri Chinmoy runs 3 miles at a ‘Runners are Smilers’ race in a time of 34:04 at Flushing Meadows Park, Queens, New York. His splits for each are 10:24, 8:36, 15:04; his overall pace is 11:21 per mile.