Part IVSCA 1077-1089. On 10 December 1989, freelance journalist Mark Teich interviewed Sri Chinmoy in preparation for an article which later appeared in Sports Illustrated. Here are excerpts from the interview.
Question: How did you become involved in ultra-distance running? I know you were a sprinter as a youth, but when did you fall in love with ultra-distance running?Sri Chinmoy: About twelve years ago. For physical fitness, I feel that long distance is better for most people than sprinting. One out of a thousand, or even one out of ten thousand can be a sprinter, whereas thousands of people can run long distance daily. Also, long-distance running reminds us of our inner life. It makes us feel that we are running along Eternity's Road. Each individual is a pilgrim. We are all pilgrims, and it is our bounden duty to walk, march and run along Eternity's Road. When we run long distances, we are reminded of our inner life. At the same time, long-distance runners receive many good things from Above: patience, consecration and a self-disciplined and dedicated life.
Every day long-distance runners spend half an hour, an hour or two hours running and, while running, they receive special blessings from Mother Earth, from nature. They are breathing fresh air. They are enjoying the fragrance of flowers and the blessings from the trees and so forth, whereas short-distance sprinters run on the track. There they deal with speed, speed, speed. They try to run fast, faster, fastest. They have no time to enjoy the beauty of nature or to receive the blessings of Mother Earth.
As a sprinter, I know a little bit about sprinting, and I saw that very few of my disciples are blessed with speed. But easily they can develop stamina and endurance by practising long-distance running for a few months. Also, for inner tranquillity, I feel that long-distance running is far, far better than sprinting.