Day Eight: 3am - noon
There is a song that Sri Chinmoy wrote in 1993, the words go - 'A gratitude-heart is a master key. It can open any heart.'It is one of the clichés of Hollywood, of Oscars night, of awards ceremonies in general – ‘I would like to thank . . .’ It is no doubt a genuine acknowledgement of the fact that whatever we do, there are other people to whom we are indebted. ‘I would like to thank God,’ has even been trotted out on occasion. At the ten-day race, He deserved a lot of the credit. A lot of what we saw of God was in the form of the members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team who organised the race. Are there nicer, more supportive, more proficient men than Rupantar La Russo, Bipin Larkin, Sahishnu Szczesiul, Sandhani Fitch . . . ? Who could ever have been more caring and helpful in a splendidly unsentimental way than Pradhan Balter and Vajra Henderson to whom I went snivelling in the medical tent when things were bad? Rupantar La Russo One of God’s chief manifestations must have been in the kitchen. I suspect that the kitchen is where God is often to be found. There, Shushovita Taylor and her leprechauns endlessly produced the treasured food that sustained us on our way. In the deep of a cold, dark night, to pass into the golden glow of the runner’s kitchen and find a vat of steaming soup – which gift from on high could compare? The Runner's Kitchen The kitchen providing a welcome chance to stand around * My first experience of multi-day running was eleven years prior to competing in the ten-day race, when I helped to set up for a multi-day race in New York in 1995. For days before the race started I worked away constructing buildings and fences and stringing lights, painting this and hammering that. Once the race started I emptied the rubbish bins, fetched water, did other menial jobs about the place, read Dante’s La Divina Commedia . . . and soaked up the atmosphere. The guy emptying the rubbish bins may not realize it, but the little contribution that he makes is hugely appreciated by the runner on the track. The runner is overwhelmed with an enormous sense of gratitude for everyone who makes his odyssey possible – from the founder of the race to all the organizers to the people who sing on the side of the track to the distant folk who send email messages of support - how they bouy one! - to the unknown passer-by who offers a word of encouragement to . . . the guy who empties the rubbish bins.
As we might say in New Zealand - 'a great big kia ora to youz all'.***************************************************** Footnote: The Maori phrase ‘kia ora’ is most commonly used in New Zealand as a greeting, but literally means ‘kia’ – ‘to you’, ‘be with you’; ‘ora’ – ‘wellbeing’ (the New Zealand Health Department is called Te Tari Ora) and thus is also used to mean ‘thank you’.