"…then you get tremendous joy"

Because I can safely be described as a masochist, I am always on the lookout for masochistic stories with a desi angle. This one comes to us as a tip from former SM heartthrob Apul. It seems that there is a race that takes place in New York called the The 3100 Mile Race. Allow me to explain:

The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team is proud to offer the Ninth Annual Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race. In this grand test of endurance and survival, a small group of athletes attempt to negotiate 5649 laps of a .5488 of a mile course (883 meters) in the time-span of 51 days- an amazing challenge. This is the longest certified footrace in the world; runners must average 60.7 miles per day to finish within the 51-day limit. The serious athlete must have tremendous courage, physical stamina, concentration and the capacity to endure fatigue, boredom and minor injuries. The predecessor of this very race was the 2700 Mile Race (held in 1996), in which five intrepid runners finished the distance well within the 47-day time limit. In 1997, Sri Chinmoy, race founder, upped the distance to 3100 miles. Two runners finished the inaugural 3100 Mile race in less than 51 days, showing that athletes indeed believed in self-transcendence. Last year nine finished 3100 miles out of 12 starters… [Link]

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There are two things that I find particularly interesting about this race. The first is that the founder, Sri Chinmoy, doesn’t appear to have the classic runner’s build. See for yourself:

He looks like he is about to fall asleep

Second, I found the “route” to be sort of mundane. Imagine circling the same city block repeatedly for 3100 miles! After some inquiries in dawned on me that this would also be a great route if you were a pedophile. What am I implying? Nothing. It was just an observation.

Don’t let the picture above fool you. Apparently Chinmoy was quite the stud in his youth:

Sri Chinmoy has been an avid sportsman since his youth. In the spiritual community 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. For many years he played tennis almost every day, and frequently competed in track-and-field events in Masters Games, including the World Masters Games in Puerto Rico in 1983, and the World Veterans Games in Miyazaki, Japan in 1993. He took up weight-lifting in the mid-1980s and over the years set several records in the calf-raise and one-arm lift. [Link]

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ANY brown man that can overcome brown man’s disease (small calves) and go on to set a record in the calf-raise is a certified stud in my book.

I’ll be honest. Even though I like to think of myself as an athlete and it is well known that I dabble in transcendence from time to time, this is just too much for me. Luckily there are quicker ways to transcend. I personally prefer the 4 mile kind.

For those of you who are ready to learn the ways of the force you can download part 1 and part 2 of Chinmoy’s teachings. No word yet on whether there will be a Chinmoy Mission.

20 thoughts on “"…then you get tremendous joy"

  1. Interesting.

    Maybe part of what gives him his stamina at that age is the fact that he lives with a bevy of 40- and 50-ish goris (and I mean the most gori of goris, some of the palest women you will see outside of an albino colony) wearing the most butt-ugly saris (with cardigans and socks and sandals, no less), most who work at the United Nations, and occasionally give bhajan concerts, when they’re not running marathons. Oh, and they all take Indian names.

    They live as a group in a “compound” in Jamaica Estates. The New York Times wrote about him and them a year or two ago, because one of the women accused him of sexual harassment, if memory serves.

  2. So that’s what it is! I attended Jamaica High School, which is just across the street from Thomas Edison, a few years ago. There were often white people in Indian clothing jogging around our school. Everyone thought it was funny. By the way, they also used to give out sandwiches. But since they were clearly a cult, everyone was always too afraid to accept the sandwiches.

  3. By the way, they also used to give out sandwiches. But since they were clearly a cult, everyone was always too afraid to accept the sandwiches.

    Ha ha! I was just kidding about the pedophilia but it seems i wasn’t so far off the mark :)

  4. I worked with one of the gals once, and she used to have a massive poster of him in her office.

    She brought in some sort of homemade cookies once, and people reacted like the cereal ad:

    “Did you try one?”

    “I’m not gonna try it, you try it!”

    “Hey, let’s get Mikey to eat one, he’ll eat anything!”

  5. this isnt as far fetched a notion. it is extremely difficult to empty the mind of distractions when there are so many sensory experiences competing for attention from all directions. most religions (actually i cant think of any that does not have a variant of this) use mechanical means to occupy the body while the mind focuses on the creator. the purpose of using a city block is of course to imprint the route mentally so as to ensure that navigation is not a distraction. while running is a relatively complex activity, but there is a natural rythm to the motion. imagine this. ask yourself. For a few weeks, one gives oneself up to the singleminded pursuit of a goal, with no distractions – and it’s complete immersion in the task. i would find this spiritually cleansing.

    chinmoy’s been around a while. he’s really done some incredible stuff. i remember pix from at least a few decades back. he had heft and probably still does.

    so he enjoys female company. most of us are guilty of that. cant fault him on that.

  6. For a few weeks, one gives oneself up to the singleminded pursuit of a goal, with no distractions – and it’s complete immersion in the task. i would find this spiritually cleansing.

    Well then, I can say that I’ve been trying to spiritually cleanse myself through blogging for a while now and it hasn’t worked.

  7. Well then, I can say that I’ve been trying to spiritually cleanse myself through blogging for a while now and it hasn’t worked.

    maybe you should try blogging the letter T, every twenty seconds, for an hour – well longer would be good, but let’s start with modest goals.

  8. Abhi:

    Dude … you are making fun of the man and his mission.

    You are so going to receive a sandwich in the mail. You have been warned.

  9. About 12 years ago Chinmoy had a huge event at the Armory in D.C. It was rather frightening. I think 2/3 of the people, including myself, left within the first hour. Various combinations of singer/instrumentalists played his “compositions” that were absolutely dreadful. They also showed a slide show of his “illustrations” of birds that consisted of two lines and a dot in a mildly bird-like shape. Ugh, the event left mental scars.

  10. Saurav, truth be told, I don’t recall any takers.

    Plus they had these dorky b & w photo cutouts of Trygve Lie stuck to the foil wrapping.

  11. Spot on hairy-d.

    This can be a killer exercise in meditation.

    Abhi, speaking of the other kind of calves, while it’s true that brown men have small calves, this doesn’t mean there isn’t enough strength in the calves. Do raises and everyone can have strong calves. Remember, Jehangir and Jansher Khan were world champions without big calves? And Squash sure uses calves.

    South Asian women, though seem naturally blessed with great (including in the size area) calves. I don’t quite understand that.

  12. Abhi, speaking of the other kind of calves, while it’s true that brown men have small calves, this doesn’t mean there isn’t enough strength in the calves.

    Trust me, I know. I have the most chickenest legs you will ever see on a brown man (or so I’ve been told) but I can leg press close to 700lbs (and unlike Robertson I go all the way down). It is not the size of the legs that count but ultimately the thrusting power which they can generate.

  13. Wait, I always thought she was Sophia Haque. Is this a different person or am I confused?

  14. It is not the size of the legs that count but ultimately the thrusting power which they can generate. Please… the whole it’s not the thickness of your fibula it’s how you use it that counts, is just something desi men say to make themselves feel better about their inadequacies. The obsession that Chinmoy had with calf presses is an example of napoleon complex regarding his chicken tikka legs.
  15. I notice that a lot of indians staying in the States and the U.K. have fallen into the trap of denigrading themselves and always perpetuating stereotypes set by western “culture”. Living in a society that places weakness in character as an asset, we find our Indian community have responded to this and have moved towards developing these weak qualities. Before you insult the efforts of Indian persons please remember some of the weakest and stupidest persons are enormous idiots who are your masters