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Inner peas

July 30th, 2012



The ultimate goal of the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race

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21 miles left!

July 30th, 2012



Grahak will be the first to cross the finish line in this year's race, as his former prime minister has duly noted. On the right is Grahak's brother Ian, who made a surprise appearance a few days ago.

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Ferocious tiger lilies

July 30th, 2012


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and leaving your car there for a few decades

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Portal of the day

July 30th, 2012



Located a few blocks from the racecourse, this is presumably the home of one of Sri Chinmoy's disciples, judging by the color scheme.

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Arpan’s cat

July 30th, 2012



Say hello to Raga. Arpan told me to keep an eye out for him as I passed by his house; I didn't see him at first, but then he started talking. And talking and talking.

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The greatest barbershop name ever conceived.

Among other Chinmoy-inspired businesses in this little baby blue strip are Smile of the Beyond (a luncheonette) and Divine Robe Supreme (a sari shop).

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Runaway models

July 30th, 2012


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Duck pen

July 30th, 2012



They may not fit the classic American stereotype, but we have our fair share of rednecks-at-heart here in NYC.

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A floral smorgasbord

July 30th, 2012



Would you say I have a plethora of flowers?

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of an unsold potato on a breezy day.

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Sticky feet

July 30th, 2012



Adhesive discs: one of the climbing strategies employed by vines

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Keepin’ it clean

July 30th, 2012



Welcome to the luxurious bathroom facilities at the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race. Inside these walls, some of the runners deploy generous amounts of corn starch to help ward off chafing (it absorbs moisture, reducing friction in areas where rubbing occurs). The application process can be pretty messy; to keep some semblance of tidiness, one of the four port-o-potties is a designated no-starch zone. (Another one is ladies-only; there are no women in the race this year, but there are plenty of female volunteers on site.)

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Perfection Journey

July 30th, 2012



Utpal (kneeling) has been out at the course every day, thoroughly documenting the race on his blog. He's produced an amazing photographic record of the event.

Atmavir, of course, has also been at the racecourse every day, keeping the ball bouncing as he draws ever closer to 3100 miles.

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The flag of Australia

July 30th, 2012



Hung in Grahak's honor

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Grahak finishes!

July 30th, 2012



It's Day 44 of the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, and Grahak Cunningham has just become this year's first finisher, averaging more than 71 miles (well over two and a half marathons) per day — a feat I can't even begin to comprehend.

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As you can see, Grahak's been suffering from a pretty gnarly rash, among other health problems. After pushing himself relentlessly for a month and a half, he can finally let the healing process begin.

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Sarvagata won the race last year, and he's poised to finish second this time around. At his side is his lovely wife Sarvakamya.

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Kodanda (guitar) and Antara-Prabhat (vocals) are back at the racecourse, performing for the runners once again. Lyrics here.

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An appreciative audience

July 30th, 2012



Kodanda busts out a little medley off the top of his head for a couple of unexpected visitors.

You can see the full video here.

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After the excitement at the finish line had subsided and the spectators had returned to the goings-on of their daily lives, Grahak got up and started running again. He completed an extra 13 laps to reach the nice, even total of 5000 kilometers. (This is not uncommon for participants in this race; the international running community tends to measure things in metric units.)

Here you can see Sahishnu, with his two timepieces, watching vigilantly for the exact moment that Grahak crosses the final finish line — the same sidewalk crack that served as the starting line some 43 days ago.

What a contrast between the quiet dignity of this race and the hyped-up, corporate, manufactured NBC Olympic cheesefest being presided over by Bob Costas.