The Self-Transcendence 3100 mile race is a rather unusual one in that it takes place around one city block in Jamaica, Queens, New York City. This year fourteen runners put on their reflective running vests or reflective running belts and running shoes, and attempted to run a minimum of sixty miles a day over 52 days. When you consider that each day they are running over two marathons, that is quite a feat. Runners begin each day at 6.00 a.m. and have to finish by midnight.
It was in 1996 that a spiritual teacher, Sri Chinmoy, started the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race. Sri Chinmoy was born in what is now Bangladesh in1931 and when his parents died he joined a spiritual community in Pondicherry in Southern India. He spent the next 20 years in spiritual practice before moving to New York in 1964.
THE SRI CHINMOY MARATHON TEAM
In 1977 Sri Chinmoy founded a marathon team in his name, to promote spiritual growth through running. The organisation is now one of the biggest sponsors of ultra marathons, cycling, swimming and track events in the world and many world records have been achieved in their sponsored events.
WORLD HARMONY RUN OR PEACE RUN
Sri Chinmoy introduced a global torch relay race in 1987 to promote international friendship and understanding. Millions of people from over 140 countries have participated in this annual event over the years since its inception. The run does not raise money for charity or plug any particular political or religious cause, it just promotes friendship between nations.
In 1985 the first race was run in Flushing Meadow Park and was a mere 1,000 miles long. In 1987 Sri Chinmoy felt that a greater challenge was needed and added a 1,300 miles race and also a 700 mile race. These three races were called the Ultra Trio and attracted ultra runners from around the globe. In 1996, a bigger challenge was set, a 2,700 mile race. The winner of the first race, Georgs Jermolajevs, ran an average of 66.7 miles a day and ran for 40 days and 11 hours. This was not long enough for Sri Chinmoy, so he introduced the 3,100 mile race in 1997. The race consists of running 5,649 laps of a city block in Jamaica, Queens. Sadly, Sri Chinmoy died in 2007, but his foundation lives on and continues to encourage people throughout the world to uncover their full potential and push themselves to the limit.