SE­RI­OUS SWEAT

WHY DO UL­TRA-RUN­NERS DO WHAT THEY DO?

Adventure - - Events -

Christchurch woman Harita Davies chose the “Mt. Ever­est of ul­tra-marathons” to find out for her­self.

The Self-Tran­scen­dence 3100 Mile Race is the long­est cer­ti­fied foot race in the world and was founded in 1997 by spir­i­tual teacher Sri Chin­moy (1931-2007), who is also some­times re­ferred to as the Marathon Guru. The gru­elling race is held ev­ery year be­tween June and Au­gust, around a half mile block in Ja­maica, Queens, New York.

This year ten in­trepid run­ners and one race walker be­gan this epic jour­ney, an ul­tra which only a few ac­tu­ally fin­ish. To cover the dis­tance of 3100 miles (4988.9km), the run­ners need to av­er­age 95.9km per day – that’s more than two marathons a day for 52 days straight, run­ning be­tween 6am and mid­night.

42 year old Harita Davies from Christchurch is the first New Zealand women to ever at­tempt such a dis­tance. Ly­ing in 4th place over­all, she is on track to fin­ish by the cut-off time at mid­night on Au­gust 8th, mak­ing her a New Zealand record holder.

Davies came to run­ning through Sri Chin­moy, her In­dian spir­i­tual teacher who brought his par­tic­u­lar form of spirituality from In­dia to Amer­ica in 1964. Sri Chin­moy’s prin­ci­ples of med­i­ta­tion and self-tran­scen­dence are prac­ticed by his 7000 plus stu­dents around the world, with run­ning be­ing a large part of their spir­i­tual train­ing.

Whether it’s 2kms, a marathon or an ul­tra-marathon, Sri Chin­moy saw phys­i­cal fit­ness, par­tic­u­larly run­ning, to be a per­fect way to go be­yond the mind’s lim­i­ta­tions, to chal­lenge ‘im­pos­si­bil­ity’, and to de­velop the nec­es­sary qual­i­ties of dis­ci­pline, de­ter­mi­na­tion, will-power and per­se­ver­ance which are es­sen­tial for the spir­i­tual jour­ney to­wards hap­pi­ness.

Harita is no su­per-hu­man ath­lete, just an or­di­nary Kiwi girl, brave enough to at­tempt ex­tra­or­di­nary things. When asked if she ever imag­ined that things would have worked out the way they have, head­ing to­wards a 4th place fin­ish in the world’s long­est race on her first at­tempt, she says “No - I had no idea. I didn’t have any goals, It was al­ways just to do my best. Ev­ery day brings chal­lenges, a pain here or an ache there. So I am learn­ing to ac­cept that and be cheer­ful and just push on.” “Just to keep go­ing is an in­cred­i­ble les­son for life, and not be­ing de­terred by ob­sta­cles. They make you stronger and re­ally help you de­velop faith, con­fi­dence, pa­tience, and per­se­ver­ance, qual­i­ties that are so es­sen­tial for life.” Harita has been run­ning one marathon a year since she be­gan to fol­low her spir­i­tual teacher’s guid­ance al­most 20 years ago. She has run 4 multi-day races, with a best of 380 miles for six days in 2007, and 540 miles in ten days in 2015. She has been run­ning long miles in another epic re­lay as well, the Sri Chin­moy One­ness-Home Peace Run held over the past five years.

“3100 MILES SEEMS DAUNTING AND IM­POS­SI­BLE TO THE MIND SO I AM RE­ALLY TRY­ING TO FO­CUS ON LIV­ING IN THE MO­MENT, TO BE HAPPY IN THE MO­MENT. THAT IS PROB­A­BLY MY BIG­GEST CHAL­LENGE.”

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand

© PressReader. All rights reserved.