Inspiration Sun - Interview with Suprabha
- This month we feature an interview with Suprabha. On Father's Day
(June 15), she and twelve other exceedingly dedicated athletes placed
their toes on the starting line of the 12th annual 3100-mile race in
New York. Although Suprabha is also a Centre leader, Divine Enterprise owner, singer, and tireless selfless-server, we have chosen to focus this interview on her running because we want to honour this phenomenal race and ALL its runners.
How did you get started as an ultra-runner?
I started running when I joined the Centre 29 years ago. I started by
running a little bit and gauging my progress by counting the telephone
poles. My first race was a 4-mile race and then I did marathons and
the 47-mile race. I didn't feel I had a special capacity, but when I
heard that there would be a 200-mile race in celebration of Guru's
200-lb lift, I got inspired to try it out. I had such a beautiful
experience at that race. After that, I did a 50-miler and a 24-hour
race. Then a 5-day race and a later a 7-day race. After that I moved
to 1000 miles.
What does self-transcendence mean to you?
I love this aspect of Guru's philosophy, mainly because Guru always
demon- started it in such a beautiful way himself, in all aspects of
his existencenot just athletics. In the 3100-mile race, my goal every
year is to transcend. My first three years were my fastest; since then
I have been transcending my capacities in different ways. Just
getting over the fact that I couldn't finish within the time limit was
one way. Going beyond my mind's limits makes me happy.
The motto of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team is "Run and Become." How
has the 3100- mile transformed you?
I don't know; who besides Guru can answer that question? I have
received a tremendous amount from doing the 3100- mile races. Just to
be a part of them and to witness Guru's tremendous outpouring of love
and support has been an amazing experience. Also, I'm really happy to
see how the Mara- thon Team has responded to Guru's wish for the race
to continue. So many people are helping in all the different aspects
of the race, and each of them is feeling Guru's love through this
Guru has been so appreciative of the 3100-mile runnerstheir courage,
perseverance, cheerfulness, and so much more. How do you feel this
race is influencing future generations of humanity?
At my shop in Washington DC, there are quite a few customers who know
I do this long raceand they get a lot of inspiration from it. It seems
to them like an impossible task, but then they see that I can do it
even though I'm just a pipsqueak. This race helps people to open up
their minds and see what is possible with our heart-power. At the end
of the first 3100-mile race, Guru mentioned that when he drove along
the race course he was reminded of the soul's journey.
Do you have a favorite aphorism, poem, or song that you recite during
One favourite is this one: "I do not measure God's blessingful Gifts.
I only treasure them." That's one of the prayers Guru gave during the
2006 race. Another one is a song that Guru wrote for Enthusiasm-Awakeners (Parvati's group): "All Your Grace, All Your Grace . .
. My soul and I are able to join in Your birthless and deathless
Guru once responded to a question you asked about the race by saying
(in part), "Always take it as a garden, not as a street, not as a big
block." Do you find that you're able to visualize that when you're
running on this urban course?
That answer was unbelievably beautiful and I try to feel that all the
time; it really helps to take me out of the mind and into the heart.
To focus on time and laps is torture, so I try to focus on the joy of
running and feel that I'm in a garden. The course doesn't bother me.
Some reporters can't believe itthey see it as so monotonousbut I
enjoy it. On one side of the course, I feel like I'm running along a
country road. Many of the runners are very There is so much harmony
and oneness. It's not the kind of race in which runners go fast and
constantly look behind them to see who's catching up. We definitely
make up a team and there is a lot of love and support among the
runners. The runners who have done the race before are looking out for
the new ones, and we are all an extended familythe disciple runners,
non-disciple runners, the supporters, and the Marathon Team. There is
such an intensity to these races, and at the same time there is so
much peace. That creates a bond.
The 3100-mile website says, "The serious athlete must have tremendous
courage, physical stamina, concentration and the capacity to endure
fatigue, boredom and minor injuries." Which of these do you find the
Well, we all experience minor injuries. All kinds of physical ailments
come and go. I just try to give them no importance when they come.
God's Grace carries us along. Without it, I would never reach the
Some of us who come out to the race course wonder what we can do to
encourage the runners while not disturbing their focus and serenity.
What is most helpful to you all when people visit the race?
I have to say that the most helpful thing is just for people to come
visit us. All the runners get a tremendous lift just from seeing
people come out to the race. Of course, it is great to have Parvati's
group and others sing. Everyone expresses themselves in their own way,
and that's wonderful. When the locals come by on their daily runs, I
get a thrill. Last year, many outside people came to the race because
they saw us on the website. There were two girls who drove from
Pennsylvania just to observe, and some people came from Brooklyn to
bring us ice cream.
In 100 years, how many runners will participate in the 3100-mile race?
Wow! On this present course, Guru felt that 15 runners was the right
number. This year we may have 15 runners, if I'm not mistaken. In 100
years, there will be several thousand! I think a lot of people will be
inspired to try.
Any thoughts before this year's race?
We're all very keen to do the race this year as a tribute to Guru. I'm
sure we will feel him there on the course.
Vasudha interviewed Suprabha May 27, 2008.
From: Inspiration Sun edition 4
3100 Mile Website