- As most of us know, Sri Chinmoy ran 22 marathons from March 1979 thru February 1983. In New York, as in other Centres around the world, we celebrated in various ways the Anniversary of Guru's first marathon which he ran in Chico, California on March 3, 1979.
Guru had been doing long distance running training only since June 1, 1978. The night before flying out to California to run the marathon in Chico he was speaking with some of his disciples in New York. He did not mention that he was going out there to run it as he wanted to surprise everyone, except those who were going to help him there and a few others. In New York he mentioned, according to Pranika, how much he admired his disciples who had run marathons but did not say he was about to run his first one the next day.
The next day everyone got the sweet surprise that Guru had sprung upon us. Word spread fast as we received a call at the Love and Serve Restaurant where I was working in Connecticut at that time. We heard that Guru ran his first marathon and finished in 4:31:34. We were absolutely thrilled and we could not wait for Guru to return. We had a nice celebration at our meditation hall called Progress-Promise when Guru returned. Little did we know that Guru was already planning another marathon a few weeks later in Toledo, Ohio.
Try to imagine running your first marathon, and then three weeks later running another marathon 36 minutes faster than the first one! That's what Guru did in Toledo, Ohio on March 25, 1979.
I cannot remember how and when we celebrated that one but we were all pleasantly shocked that Guru was able to achieve a sub-four hour marathon so soon. He ran it in a fantastic time of 3:55:07.
This still stands as his fastest marathon which is incredible considering the circumstances. The weather was not good and there was lots of cars on the roads they were running on. Guru barely had enough time to recover from his first marathon three weeks earlier, not to speak of training to run so much faster.
Guru completed seven marathons that year, 1979, all within less than ten months. That immortal year of Guru's marathons really inspired hundreds of disciples to keep running or start training to run marathons.
In honor of Guru's first two marathons I wrote a short poem which I have posted here for the last few years. I will post it here again as the Chico race has just passed and the Toledo race will soon be celebrated. I feel that celebrating these important anniversaries and recognizing their important significance to our own spiritual lives and physical well-being, we can bring back some of the aspiration and energy that Guru shared with us at the time.
Here is my small tribute to Guru's first two marathons:
You bravely opened
You powerfully smashed
And sent us all to Heaven.
Finally, in terms of Guru's running as with everything else he did, he knew how to bring Heaven down to Earth for all of us to enjoy. Now it is up to us to keep these special experiences alive and growing for others to enjoy as well.
If you are inspired to run a marathon and need to train then get in touch with me or with others who have the experience in training for and running marathons. There is five months left to train for the August marathon at Rockland Lake in New York. So get some good running shoes and a training program and get out every day to do what Guru did at age 47. He did it for us and now we can do it for him and for others as well.
- Thanks, Arpan, for your inspiring post and the wonderful reminder of our amazing Guru's marathon accomplishments. Also, if you had not admitted to be the author of those two aphorisms I would have easily given Guru credit for them - they sure sounded like it. Thanks again