Self-Knowledge through Running   

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Indian film director Sanjay Rawal was in Auckland this month for the first New Zealand screening of his latest sports movie, an inspirational ultra-running film exploring the phenomenon of multi-day events. The premiere viewing and Rawal’s own visit were hosted by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, many of whose members have competed in long distance events and were keen to share these experiences with the public.

Screening at Auckland’s Rialto theatre, 3100: Run and Become examines a wide canvas of endurance running, from the Kalahari tribesmen and Navajo Indians to the Buddhist monks in the mountains near Kyoto, and then considers the longest contemporary footrace in the world, the New York based 3100 mile annual epic.

The movie attracted a full house and was inspirational because it’s theme message is all about humanity’s infinite potential, and that the only limitations we have are those we have imposed upon ourselves.

Film director Sanjay personally attended the inaugural screening and featured in an interactive session after the screening, responding to questions from the audience. Accompanying him were Harita Davies, the only Kiwi woman to ever attempt and finish the grueling, annual 3,100 mile ultra race – the longest certified footrace in history – along with one of New Zealand’s top trail and distance runners, Vajin Armstrong.

3100: Run and Become follows an unassuming Finnish runner (Ashprihanal) and an Austrian cellist (Shamita) in their attempt to complete the 3100 mile race, considered the Mt Everest of ultra events.

Each year contestants are drawn to the 3100 ultra for often inner reasons, a curiosity about human potential itself. The race promises personal expansion and, indeed, participants come from around the world to shatter their limitations and discover a deeper sense of self. The small group of competitors gather to run a distance equivalent to a US coast to coast epic. The race requires 60 miles per day for 52 straight days, or 5,649 laps around a city block in Queens, New York.

Ashprihanal and Shamita’s 3100 journey takes the audience from the heart of this astonishing event in an urban city, to sites around the world where ancient cultures have held running sacred for millennia, including the Kalahari Desert, Arizona’s Navajo Reservation, and to the sacred mountain temples of Japan. Through the heroic stories of these and several other runners, 3100: Run and Become presents a portrait of endurance and transformation, and of a shared spiritual quest for self-knowledge and enlightenment.

Race founder and sports lover Sri Chinmoy was a great believer in humanity’s potential – a philosophy he called ‘self-transcendence’ – and made headlines over twenty years ago when he correctly predicted that the sub two-hour marathon mark would fall in the coming two decades. His marathon team organizes New Zealand’s 24 hour track race championship and numerous road races to promote physical fitness.

A free fitness, health and sports workshop looking at the mind-body connection is being offered by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team this month – for details visit: www.meditationauckland.co.nz or call/text the course tutor on 022 1887432.