The Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100-Mile Race was conceived by Sri Chinmoy in 1997 as a test of physical and spiritual self-transcendence. The race is organised by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team and is based around an urban block in Queens, New York. Runners have 52 days to complete the 3,100 mile distance - an average daily mileage of just under 60 miles.
Sri Chinmoy was a great advocate of the physical and spiritual benefits of running, and would come to the 3100 Mile Race course every day to offer encouragement and support to the runners. He saw this striving for self-transcendence as process which could give the runner a real sense of satisfaction and opportunity for progress.
Speaking after the first edition of the race, in 1997, Sri Chinmoy spoke of its inner significance.
"This 3,100 miles is an unprecedented journey in our world-peace-manifestation-dream. World-peace can come into existence only when we are inundated with patience and perseverance. Infinite patience we need in our inner life and perseverance we need in our outer life.
These 3,100 miles remind us of one divine and supreme reality: we can and we must do everything at our command to transform the world of lethargy and unwillingness to be dynamic. Unwillingness we do not leave behind us. Therefore happiness remains always a far cry. Willingness to give, willingness to achieve, willingness to grow and glow should be the message of our souls. With our souls' blessings we can and will fulfil our earthly life." 1
The race takes place annually over a 52-day period beginning in mid-June and ending in early August. Runners traverse a .5478 mile loop around a sports field, playground, and high school in Jamaica, Queens, New York City. Runners begin at 6 a.m. and run for extended periods throughout the day, taking breaks as needed. If they want to, they can continue as late as 12 midnight when the course closes for the night.
In 2018, the documentary 3100: Run and Become explored the significance of running in cultures across the globe, including a special focus on the 3100 Mile Race.
The race often receives coverage in international media:
One Block—5,649 Laps at the Wall Street Journal
Run Like Fire Once More at Harper's Magazine
Course record for men: Ashprihanal Aalto (2015) - 40 days 09:06:00 - an average of 77 miles a day.
Course record for women: Kaneenika Janakova (2017) 48 days 14:24:10
Most consecutive finishes: Suprabha Beckjord (female) - 13 between 1997 and 2009.
Between 1997 and 2019, only 44 runners have completed the course.
Sri Chinmoy, Pioneer-runners of tomorrow’s world-peace-dawn: ultramarathon running and self-transcendence, Agni Press, 1998↩︎