Six and Ten Day Race Observations
- Somewhere In the Middle
On Tuesday night, around midnight, the Ten Day runners have completed six and a half days. So they are over halfway done with only three and a half days to go to the finish line. The Six Day runners have completed two and a half days and are closing in on their halfway point in 12 hours. They also only have three and a half days as runners of both races have the same finishing time, Saturday, April 27 at 12:00 Noon.
Now that all of the runners have experienced the `thrill' of staying on their feet and moving forward at various speeds most of the day and night, day after day and night after night, they all have their own interpretations of what this unusual experience is like to them.
I am particularly interested in the experiences expressed by the first-timers who have never had this kind of experience before. Nirbhasa Magee, a computer programmer from Dublin, Ireland, has run marathons for many years and even completed a 24-Hour race recently. But this is his first time at a multiday race. He is running the Ten Day race and had completed five and a half days already when I asked him what the high points and low points of the race was to him so far. He had completed 295 miles by the halfway point, which was noon on Monday. This is an average of almost 60 miles per day so far which is quite good for a first time multiday runner.
After coming into the medical tent quite exhausted and needing a quick massage, I asked him to offer a few comments. He said, "The best is just, I mean, you know it's such an opportunity for experience and to go out there and have amazing, you know, if you could just still your mind and just go and run. You know the race itself is just so, it has everything, it has, like you've got a family here, all your needs are basically looked after. Now it is a little bit tough, you know. It's probably been the toughest so far, just in terms of cranking, but it's mainly mental, you know. I just have to be more happy "
Nirbhasa, like most of the runners, new to the game or seasoned veterans, have figured out a routine or schedule that works for them. Each person has their own approach to structuring their daily routines which also change as the race progresses. Nirbhasa told me that he now will run eight or nine miles and then take a twenty minute break. He got up at three o'clock in the morning and ran sixteen miles, then he took a break and then did another sixteen miles. But then later in the day he shortened out the mileage between short breaks to eight or nine miles.
He also started listening to music for the first time in the race on the fifth day. It was the recording of Paree's first Locals Performance in April 2008. He said, "That was really nice because I wasn't in that consciousness the first time I heard it I was almost crying on the course because I wasn't in that space It definitely got a little bit better. "
Kausal, a very good naturopathic doctor who has been working tirelessly at the race every day, offered us all some very good chocolate at one point. When Nirbhasa had some of this delicious treat his comment to Kausal was, "You're a good man, wow, you're an even better man than you were five seconds ago." As we all enjoyed the very tasty chocolate Nirbhasa commented, "People with good taste in chocolate are generally, you know, it's a good guide to character."
So that is just a small sampling of a light moment in the long and arduous day of a novice multiday runner. On the other hand, we have a more experienced runner, John Geesler, who won the men's Six Day race two years ago here. He has done quite a few multiday races and had recently come in second place in a 48-Hour race in Phoenix, Arizona, called `Race Across the Years', at the end of December into the New Year.
Asking him about the Six Day race here in 2011, he said he won for the men but he did not beat Dipali. He said that he hasn't run it good yet. "If I haven't done over 500 miles I haven't done good, and I haven't done anything close, and it looks like I won't be close again this year." He was in medical as I was checking out his sore knee. He is a very good 24-hour runner as well.
John has run 157.95 miles for 24 hours in the past and humorously commented that he should have fell over at the end to make it 158 miles. It is in the top ten of American all time 24-hour races. He said, "It's so discouraging, every time I come down for the Six Day I get hurt or something and I don't but I always wanted to go over 500 at least."
John, just as with all the runners I have met here, has a firm determination to do the best he can to reach his lofty goals despite all the body's setbacks. Yet he maintains his humble and surrendered attitude and does not give up. The goals may change for each runner during the race depending on the cooperation of their legs and their overall health, but almost all of the runners with their lofty goals, like John, or those first timers with no real expectation, like Nirbhasa, seem to find their own way to make the long and difficult journey to the end of the race, which in this case is still quite a few days away.
- Hi Arpan,
Thanks for sharing these observations of the 6/10 day race. After meeting the runners and race in situ, it is nice to have all these great photos, videos and first hand accounts.
Your report of Nirbhasa's stream of consciousness conversation, made me smile. I can just imagine him speaking.
I remember one November celebrations, in perhaps 2000. It was Nirbhasa's first time in New York and he came to the microphone to speak. Nobody (especially Guru), understood a word he was speaking (- thick Irish accent at 350 words per minute) But, everyone was smiling because we could feel this burst of infectious energy and enthusiasm.
- I agree. Nirbhasa is truly a hero. Not only because of his courage and enthusiasm which are infectious, but his humility, light-hearted manner and humour make it a joy to be with him. The runners also enjoy his company and sincerely dedicated approach to the race.
Erin Go Braugh(Ireland Forever),