6.Paula Radcliffe: I would just like to thank Sri Chinmoy very much. It is a very big honour for me to be here. I don't think I have ever before been in a place which has felt so peaceful and serene, yet at the same time so powerful. It is very moving. I run because I love to run and I want to get the best from myself and to find out just what I am capable of. I think it is very similar to life. I think we should all just go at life to enjoy it and to give the best of ourselves each day that we can. That's the only thing that we ask.
Sometimes I think we find out that the inner strength is stronger than any of us believes. And each one of us, just by trying to get the most from that strength and by always believing in it, can make the world a better place, as Sri Chinmoy is doing with his peace.
Sri Chinmoy: I wish to tell you what I call my marathon 'adventures'. I have run the marathon 22 times. Each time I suffered and suffered and suffered like anything from muscle cramps. There was not even one marathon that I escaped cramps. The worst one was in Athens. There I suffered unimaginably. Anyway, I am very proud to tell you that my best timing was 3 hours and 55 minutes. That is my best performance. The rest were all four and a half hours, or five hours, or five and a half hours. Sometimes it was even over six hours.
One thing gives poor runners like me consolation. Once Bill Rodgers said that he admires runners who stay on the course for eight or nine hours; he admires our patience. Some of my students have taken nine or ten hours to complete the New York City Marathon. So he admires people who are able to stay on the ground for ten hours to complete the race.
We use the term patience. On the one hand, it is deplorable to take such a long time, but on the other hand, we feel that patience is a great virtue. If we have patience in one field of life and we are able to apply the same patience to other fields, then we are bound to be successful. Life is full of ups and downs. So when we are not successful, we must never give up. Your last Olympic performance was quite deplorable. People who love you and admire you felt your suffering, your sadness, your agonies. We all sympathised with you. Then came the London Marathon. There you were so successful, in spite of two unavoidable experiences during the race. Otherwise, your time would have been even better.
So our philosophy, like yours, is never to give up, never to give up. After such a sad experience in the Olympics, you became supremely victorious once more. For that we are very proud of you, very proud of you, Paula.