Everything started in January in China where I was spending my time with many of my friends in Sri Chinmoy’s blessingful presence. There I met my friend Smarana whom I know from 1000-mile races we had been running before. He told me about his experiences at 3100-mile race which he ran last year.
This race has always been my dream since I started to run multiday races in 2000. I did one 10-day race and I tried four times the 1000-mile race, but my best was 870 miles. I have always been thinking about the 3100-mile race but it just seemed to me too expensive. To pay the entry fee, to buy a lot of shoes, vitamins and other stuff, and not to speak about three months´ vacation from work which I would need and during that time I would have to pay for my bills at home too. But there in China I got a real inspiration. I knew also that my friend Pranab gave the application in August already, so it would be great if we could run together. So I told to myself: “Look. You always wanted to run this race and you want to spend more time in Sri Chinmoy’s presence. Don’t think about the money. If you are accepted for that race, money will come.” So I gave my application to Rupantar, the director of Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, and there was nothing else to do only to practise and wait if I am accepted.
I knew from other races which I had run before that it is not so important how many miles you run in your training but it is more important how many miles you run in your whole life. It is like those miles are being counted and your body is getting stronger with each mile you run. So I kept my training program the same as for other races. I ran 6 times a week, from Tuesday to Friday half a marathon every day then marathon on Saturday and half a marathon or 30 kms on Sunday. On Monday I had a day off. So altogether it made up to 500 km a month. For me even this training was a very good spiritual experience. I have to discipline my outer but also my inner life. I woke up at 5 am, meditated and at 6 am I went for my 21 km run. I came home around 8 am just to take a shower and go to work.
In March Robert, another friend of mine, told me that he also applied for the same race. It was great. We were three boys from small Slovakia who applied for the longest race in the world. But we still didn’t know if we are accepted. The answer came at the beginning of April. 14 runners were accepted this year and all three of us were among them!
From that time miracles started to happen. The company where both of us with Pranab were working, gave us extra vacation for a part of the race and also money for the entry fee and also many friends gave us a lot of money. So we really could spend almost three months in New York, pay for the fee and the bills at home and have some money for shoes and other things.
I know most of the runners from other races except Suprabha and Rainald. But right from the beginning I realized how wonderful people they are. Usually people are trying to hide something from their personality but during such a hard and long race all the good but also bad qualities are coming forward. But here I want to say that each of all the 12 runners who finished the race have got a special place in my heart because there are not only extraordinary runners but above all extraordinary people. And it is hard for me to express how happy I am to get to know them. Every one of them!
Right from the beginning of the race I was trying to keep my happiness. I was trying to take everything as it was coming, all hard things, pain and other things as a part of the race. On the fifth day of the race I got a problem with my right ankle. It was probably because of the hard concrete and the shoes I wore were not really soft. Usually during the day I could walk. But in the evening it became more painful. On the sixth day I could do only 62 laps. On the seventh day I did 50 laps until 6 pm but then my ankle started to be so painful that it was almost impossible to step on it. Until 9 pm I could do only 8 more laps which is something around 4 miles. This was the hardest day of the race for me. I was trying to keep my happiness but the ankle was so painful that it took all my concentration. I was really down. In the evening I was meditating at home and I was asking “What is the meaning of this race when there is no happiness, only pain?” In the morning a doctor came to look at my ankle. He was a young doctor who had no experiences with this kind of races. So he said I should not continue in the race. I should stay in bed for a few days, I should not walk, not to speak about running. Then I decided. I want to continue until I could walk at least. And I told him that. But I decided something else, too. I will not walk anymore. I will run even through pain. Either it will break down completely or it will get cured. In a few hours the pain vanished and I could make 100 laps that day. The swelling of the ankle disappeared in a few days. I knew it was only the Grace of the Supreme which could cure my ankle so fast. Supreme’s Grace is infinitely stronger then all the medical science together. Since then I could keep my 100 laps almost until the half of the race.
After about two weeks of running I started to have another problem. Shoes. Before the race they told me I will need about 10 pairs of shoes. I found this number to be overestimated. I thought I will need about 7 or 8 pairs. Before the race I had 6 pairs. But because of the problem with my ankle I lost 3 pairs which caused the problem. And because of the new concrete witch they put down since the last race the shoes were wearing out much faster than I expected. Because of my running style and my weight one pair of shoes lasted only four days. After that, there were completely worn out. So after those two weeks me, Pranab and Robert ran out of money and started to run out of shoes. And there was still plenty of miles ahead of us. So we decided to send a message to our friends in Czechoslovakia and ask them if they can help us somehow. Since the beginning of the race we were receiving lots of supporting e-mails every day. We could really feel their oneness with us. Every day it took 3 or 4 laps to read all these e-mails and we were really grateful for every one of them. But anyway we were really surprised when after about three days they collected 3300$ !!! It was much more then we expected and even more then we needed. Their oneness with us really saved our race. Without their support we would not be able to finish the race. So I got the money but the problem with shoes still continued. I am using Assics shoes, model GT2100 number 13 and 4E width. But we could not find any of them in New York. May be we had bought all of them because Rathin and Rainald had the same number. So Sandhani, one of the race directors, had to order them from California and it took one week to deliver them. And during those 7 days I had to run in the shoes which had no bottom at all. But I accepted it as a part of the race. I knew I’m doing my best and the result is in the Supreme’s hands. Again, my feets survived those 7 days and I could continue in new shoes.
After 1400 miles my speed started to slow down. Even though I was trying to eat as much as possible, my body was probably too big and I started to lose muscles from my legs. Even if I tried my best, I could not get to 100 laps anymore. There was nothing to do just to accept it. I will just do my best and I will try to keep my happiness.
Most of the race I was running alone. I was just too slow to run with somebody but I did not mind. I liked it. When I am running alone, I can stay in my own inner world. But it was always nice to run with somebody for a few laps. There was not any competition among us. Everybody was trying to help others as much as he or she could.
As the race was coming to the end, people were asking me how I feel. On one hand I was happy that I can complete 3100 miles but on other hand I was sad that it is coming to the end. What we were missing during the race? We had everything. We got very good food, there were wonderful people taking care of us, we had other runners as our friends, and we had Sri Chinmoy, who was coming every day to bless us, from whom we got so much attention that our hearts cannot express our gratitude. So what else we could need?
I completed 3100 miles in 59 days 12 hours 20 min 48 sec. I spend 60 wonderful days on the track. These 60 days where probably the best days of my life. I want to thank to Suprabha, Srdjan, Ashprihanal, Smarana, Rainald, Tsvetan, Pranab, Stutisheel, Trishul, Rathin, Abichal and Robert for being there with me, I want to express my deepest gratitude to race directors Rupantar, Sahishnu, Sandhani, Bipin and Sanatan for making it all possible, to our divine cooks for feeding our hungry bodies, to our doctors Pradhan, Aklanta, Mitch, Dr. Lee, Horst and others who kept our bodies working, to our sleepless counters who were helping us to bring our goal closer and to all other unnamed helpers who were coming to the race to guard us, bring us food, cheer us and so on. Especially I would like to thank to all our friends in Czechoslovakia for supporting us inwardly but also outwardly. I woud like to thank helpers who were helping the three of us, Pranab, Robert and me to Karel, Padapa, Purabi and Jan.
I'm receiving trophy from Sri Chinmoy
And my deepest gratitude I would like to express to Sri Chinmoy who gave me the opportunity to run this race, who always believed in me even if I did not, who gave me inner and outer strength to complete the race, who was showing me His love, pride, concern and showering me with His blessings, who let me fulfill my dream to climb the Everest of ultrarunning. Thank you, Sri Chinmoy.- Pranjal Milovník