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Aucklander finishes 5000 Km marathon

Auckander finishes- Dharbhasana Lynn .jpgWhen Auckland based athlete Dharbhasana Lyn told his friends that he had intended to spend the (Northern Hemisphere) summer running in New York City, there were no eyebrows raised, for they knew that running was his passion.

The 34-year participated in two marathons as a part of the 14th Annual Sri Chinmoy Self Transcendence.

Dharbhasana averaged a remarkable 96 kms a day and covered more than three times the length of New Zealand, by far the greatest distance ever run by a Kiwi.

Resolute New Zealander

He became the first New Zealander to complete the epic event in the Big Apple.

It was the world’s longest certified race.

According to a report, battling record summer heat along with dust, hailstorm injuries and fatigue, Dharbhasana resolutely ran and walked 18 hours a day for 52 consecutive days to finish just four hours before the 52-day race cut-off.

“The annual event began on June 13 when 11 runners from eight countries gathered at dawn on a stretch of sidewalk outside the Thomas A Edison Career and Technical Education High School in Jamaica, Queens, New York.

“The sheer volume of mileage can be difficult enough to comprehend, but there is more mind-bending wackiness: The course is a single city block. Each runner must complete 5649 laps of a 5488-mile loop around the high school in 52 days or less, and they plod along from 6 am to midnight,” the report said.

Fitness Advocate

Established by fitness advocate the late Sri Chinmoy in 1997, the race is termed, “gruelling,’ to say the least.

Race Director Rupantor LaRusso said Mr Chinmoy found running to be a useful way of confronting and ultimately surmounting the physical boundaries of the body and the psychic limits of the mind.

“This race was an outgrowth of his philosophy,” he said.

New York City Councillor James Gennaro, whose district in Queens includes the course, said he draws inspiration from the race.

“The organisers have never asked for public assistance. They rely on spiritual sustenance.

Nobody knows of such sustenance better than Suprabha Beckjord, a 54-year-old gift shop owner from Washington DC.

She has completed the race 13 times, equating to about 64,855 Kms, or more than seven roundtrips between New York and Los Angeles.

Suprabha said she began to follow Mr Chinmoy’s teachings in 1977 and took up running shortly thereafter as a means of supplementing her meditation.

Her first race was about 6.5 kms, and her unlikely path to epic feats of endurance progressed from there.

She said she was motivated to participate in her first multi-day event after Mr Chinmoy lifted 200 pounds over his head with one arm, when he was 55 years old.

Mind Control

“That was quite an awesome feat. Therefore, we ran a 200-mile (321.8 kms) race to celebrate the achievement. You need to let your heart be in control.”

According to Suprabha, the mind is always analysing and dividing everything.

“The mind may say, ‘That is long!’ But the heart does not analyse and measure so much. Hence you can focus on the heart and find joy in whatever you encounter.”

Photo : Dharbhasana Lyn

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