Cahit Yeter: After averaging nearly 7,000 miles over the past three years, I believe I have satisfied my thirst for very long, long runs. Meanwhile, I am still entering many long races. Most of the time, winning itself does not come into my mind, but sometimes I think of running beyond the records most other men have run. I'd like to know, since winning is everything in America and I am part of it, why I have lost my desire to win.1

Sri Chinmoy: My dear brother-friend, you are an ultra-marathoner par excellence. You have covered thousands and thousands of miles in the past few years. You have also given us, your dear friends, boundless joy. It is true that winning is everything in America. Again, you have to know that there are two kinds of races: the outer race and the inner race. There are also two kinds of desire: the outer desire and the inner desire, which we call aspiration. The outer desire says, "Run, reach, then smile." The inner desire says, "Smile and run, run and smile. The goal is nowhere else save and except in smiling and running, and running and smiling."

You have won an amazing number of races on the strength of your outer desire. Now aspiration, the inner desire, has come to the fore. It wants to play its role most significantly in you, just as the outer desire has played its role over the years. Until now you have exercised your outer desire to conquer the world and show what you possess in order to draw the world's attention and admiration. You are now trying to exercise your inner desire to show the world what you have to offer for the world's improvement, which is an intrinsic part of your own improvement. Previously you wanted victory for your own satisfaction, and that victory you achieved by defeating others. Now you want the victory that comes from the satisfaction of establishing oneness, genuine oneness, with others.

A radiant example of your oneness we saw recently when you ran in our Sri Chinmoy Marathon held in New York. Out of your loving, sympathetic oneness-heart you asked that your prize be given to the runner who came in last. Such is your feeling for your fellow runners! For you, they are like members of your own family. As the older one, who is more experienced, you encourage the younger ones to come forward by spreading your joy and satisfaction all around. Fortunately or unfortunately, one of the members of our Team stood last, and she was deeply moved to receive your trophy.


  1. RS 14. A prolific racer and marathoner, Cahit Yeter once ran 2:13 for the marathon in his native Turkey. Later emigrating to the USA, he began a resurgence in his running after an accident had severely damaged his legs. At age 44 he ran 2:26 at the Boston Marathon. In 1981 he ran 155+ miles in a Sri Chinmoy 24-hour race, setting a North American record. He later set a Masters record for 100 miles on the road (13:33) which stood for several years. He also ran 468 miles in the New York Six-Day Race in 1984.

Sri Chinmoy, Run and smile, smile and run.First published by Agni Press in 2000.

This is the 1343rd book that Sri Chinmoy has written since he came to the West, in 1964.

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by Sri Chinmoy
From the book Run and smile, smile and run, made available to share under a Creative Commons license

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