People in Queens Are Running Around a Single Block for 3,100 Miles

Sri Chinmoy in 1999.

While you sit in your cubicle, a real battle is going on out in Jamaica, Queens, where the self-punishing disciples of Sri Chinmoy, a deceased Indian spiritual leader, are running around a single block for 3,100 miles.

The Self-Transcendence 3100-mile Race is just something they do once a year. Four weeks in, Finnish ultramarathoner Asprihanal Aalto is in the lead (most of the runners have special  spiritual nicknames), followed by Sarvagata Ukrainskyi and Igor Mudryck.

They have 52 days to complete the course, which translates to running a minimum of just under 60 miles a day. They will complete a total of 5,649 laps around the Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School in Jamaica, Queens. As this article from last year’s race in the Wall Street Journal explains, the average runner goes through 12 pairs of sneakers.

Anyway, we’re happy that the weekend warriors who think they’re tough for running a mere 26 miles are being upstaged by the followers of “a spiritual teacher who dedicated his life in the service of humanity.”

Here is a poem by Sri Chinmoy, from his collection Twenty-seven Thousand Aspiration Plants:

If you want to liberate yourself
From the meshes of ignorance,
Never, never hesitate
To meditate. People in Queens Are Running Around a Single Block for 3,100 Miles