The starting line1

Today I ran fifteen miles in the Boston Marathon. Among the disciples, Abadh was the first one I saw. He was standing at the six-minute-pace section. I was tempted to join him, but I was afraid people would run over me. When you think of your capacity, you start in the back. When you forget about your capacity, you go forward.

  1. RB 493. 19 April 1982

Encouragement in Boston1

People who encourage the runners in the Boston Marathon are much more divine than people who encourage runners in many other races. How they cheered us on!

Even before I covered the first mile, I was totally exhausted. You can call it tiredness or hunger or thirst — God knows. After seven miles a little boy stood right in front of me and gave me a glass of water, literally forcing me to drink it.

I said, “How old are you?”

He said, “Four.”

So many runners patted me on the back, saying, “Come along, friend, you can make it. Don’t give up. Go on, go on, go on!” They were going ahead of me and encouraging me as they passed by. They were very nice people.

  1. RB 494. 19 April 1982


One thin girl who had run in our twenty-four-hour race was running the marathon. She is very thin, like Kusumita. Her name is Kim. She had been behind me, but around the ten-mile point she passed me. As she went by she shouted, “Hello, Guru. I am happy to see you.” While she was saying this, she was taking off her long-sleeved shirt. It was like our purple shirt. It had my picture on the back and said “Sri Chinmoy Marathon.” Underneath she was wearing a short-sleeved T-shirt. I thought she would throw the long-sleeved shirt on the street, but she held it as she ran.

I saw two or three more non-disciples wearing different shirts of ours. But Kim was the only one who recognised me.

  1. RB 495. 19 April 1982

The hoses1

The children watching the Boston Marathon were so nice. Little, little children were offering us ice. The people who were spraying us with hoses were my best friends. But some runners didn’t like it; they got annoyed. Some runners were for water and some were not. I was for water.

An elderly black man and I were running together, and two or three times people got so much joy from drenching us. We were two runners who were getting new life from the hoses. But other runners were cursing them. They had to go to the other side of the street to avoid the hoses.

  1. RB 496. 19 April 1982

Looking good!1

Even if you are dying, people always say, “Looking good!” At one point one girl said, “Looking good,” to encourage me, and another girl corrected her. She said, “Doing good.”

  1. RB 497. 19 April 1982

The boy from London1

There was a little boy seven or eight years old who was bragging that this was his fourth marathon. Somebody asked him where he was from. He said, “From London.”

The man said, “From England?”

The boy said, “Where else?”

  1. RB 498. 19 April 1982

Blind runners1

In two or three places I saw blind men running. Each of them was holding a small cane and being guided by a person who could see.

  1. RB 499. 19 April 1982

Alaska Eskimo1

One elderly man came from the Alaska Eskimo Track Club. Two runners who were running behind him were repeating the mantra — “Alaska Eskimo.” One would say “Alaska.” The other would say “Eskimo.” The elderly man was running in silence.

  1. RB 500. 19 April 1982

Some ripe fruits1

In today’s eight-hundred-metre Green Leaves and Ripe Fruits race for men and women over fifty, Vince and I were going slowly and only keeping pace with Ilona during the first four hundred metres. But we knew that we would end up going ahead of her. After four hundred metres we started widening the gap, and Ilona fell behind us by a big margin. Whenever I increased my speed, Vince would increase his speed. In the last hundred metres we had a wonderful fight. I won by only one second.

I was planning to walk the whole race, but then Vince would have had no other competitor, except for a few ladies. His fate would have been like Senani’s in the sixty-and-over race.

  1. RB 501. 25 April 1982

To smile or not to smile1

Yesterday, after running four miles, all of a sudden I thought of Dhrubha and Nayana. I had been cutting jokes with Dhrubha the previous night, telling him that his wife had a horrible running style, like Pulak. Then I said to myself, “Pulak is a little better.”

Nayana and Dhrubha have exactly the same style, but Nayana twists her face and smiles while she runs. Dhrubha never smiles.

  1. RB 502. 27 April 1982

Blind disciples1

The day before yesterday I ran seven miles, yesterday I ran seven miles and this morning also I ran seven miles. When I was returning this morning, first I saw Jyotsna. She greeted me and smiled at me.

Then I saw Sanatan. For thirty or forty metres I was smiling at him, but he was blind; he could not see me. Then, when he came near me, he folded his hands.

Then I saw Sudhir on the other side of the street. Only when I started shouting his name did he recognise me. Then I saw Shephali. By that time I was dying.

  1. RB 503. 27 April 1982

Familiar faces1

Today as soon as I started running, I saw Gitika, and then on the other side of the street I saw Pidgeon. Then I saw Bob Barrett. I said to myself, “Since Bob is there, perhaps his wife is running behind him.” I was right. O God, she was so far behind! Then I greeted her. As Bob was coming back to where I was, he shouted, “O Guru, it is so nice to see you!”

Then, after about two miles, somebody right behind me said, “Very good pace, very good pace!

I said to myself, “A joker!” and looked around. Whom did I see? It was the young black man who had stood third in our race on Sunday. He said, “You put on a very good race, and I enjoyed it very much.” So I smiled at him. After two minutes he was still running ahead of me. Then, after three minutes, he was nowhere to be seen.

After about three miles I saw Karabi. As I continued running, I saw the young man returning. When he saw me, he raised his arms over his head, greeting me.

  1. RB 504. 27 April 1982

Take it easy!1

After I had run three and a half miles, I started returning. At the point where Parsons Boulevard meets Union Turnpike, usually I stop for a minute. This time I was running slowly and getting the inner courage to go faster. A young man drinking coffee or tea said to me, “I see you are tired. Take it easy, take it easy!” He was smiling at me.

  1. RB 505. 27 April 1982

The braggart1

Today Databir and I were buying running shoes. The young man who was selling the shoes was saying that all the shoes were very good, just because he wanted to sell them. When he brought out one particular shoe, he said that he had used this one to run a 4:46 mile. Then he said he had run 800 metres in 1:30. His best time of all was in the quarter-mile, he said. He was bragging that he had done a quarter-mile in 55 seconds — not only once, but twice.

I couldn’t help laughing. I said, “I am an Indian. I did it in 54 and 53.6. Under 54 I did it many times before you were born.”

Then he said, “I am so honoured that you have come.”

Then Databir told him that I had done it without shoes, on a cinder track.

The first time, in 1945, I did the quarter-mile in one minute. Then in 1946 from one minute it came down to 56 seconds, then 55 and then always under 55-54, 53.9 and so on.

  1. RB 506. 28 April 1982