The Six- and Ten Day Self-Transcendence Races have just finished in New York. These races are organised by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, which was founded by Sri Chinmoy in 1977 as a service to the running community and has now become the largest organiser of long-distance running events in the world. During these multiday races the runners have to battle against the stresses and strains of the body and reduced sleep as they make their way around a one-mile loop over and over again. The amount of volunteers and support tents around the course create a real village atmosphere for both runners and helpers alike. Many people who do these races say the experience is a life-changing one, in that they have to go deep within themselves to find the inner strength to transcend their limitations and keep going.
The Ten-Day Race began on 25 April, and the Six-Day on 1 May so both could finish at the same time. Both races combined attracted a record field of 80 runners from all around the world. The men’s Ten Day race was won by Petr Spacil from the Czech Republic with a total of 670 miles, only 14 miles ahead of his nearest challenger and long-time leader Glen Turner. Surasa Maier from Austria dominated the ladies’ field with 595 miles, setting the best time of the day 9 out of the 10 days. Her fellow Austrian Tatyana Jauk came in second, and Pratishruti Kisamoutdinova from Russia – who is 63 years young – came in third with 507 miles.
The Six-Day Race men’s honours went to Asprihanal Aalto from Finland with 505 miles. Asprihanal is a three-time winner of the 3100 Mile Self-Transcendence Race, which is the longest foot race in the world and is also held in New York in June. Dipali Cunningham from Australia won the women’s race with 443 miles, taking best day honours in each of the six days. Dipali has won every edition of the Six-Day Race since it started, and broke the world Six-Day record in this race in 2001 with 510 miles, a mark which still stands.