If you’re really submerged in the depths of ultrarunning, or if you live on one very specific block in New York City, you may have heard of it already. However, as elusive as a snow leopard, this event can go unnoticed even by the most invested in the world of running.
Running toward Self-Transcendence
The Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race takes place on a half-mile look around a city block in New York. Participants have 52 days to complete it, running from 6 a.m. to midnight every day. In his film, director Sanjay Rawal focuses on two participants of the race, Ashprihanal Aalto, a Finnish courier, and Shamita, an Austrian cellist, on their quest to finish the run.
The film follows not only the journey of the race participants but also “Aspirants of the Highest from three cultures whose own narratives parallel that of [the] 3100 Mile Runners.” Shaun Martin, an elite Navajo ultramarathoner, hunter Gaolo of the San Bushmen, and Gyoman-san of the Monks from Mt Hiei “run not for glory but for spiritual enlightenment, universal oneness, or because they simply have the responsibility to run.” Martin’s father ran for survival when he and his friends escaped a boarding school. Gaolo runs for survival when he practices the ancient skill of persistence hunting to feed himself and his village. Gyoman-san is completing a 1,000-day journey called kaihōgyō where one can quit only through death.
It’s certainly a beyond intriguing film even if one isn’t that much into running. When you find this film on Kanopy, the three top categories it’s placed in are:
- Social Sciences
- Religion & Philosophy
- Sports and Fitness
It’s really a film about movement in its most basic form. It’s about running as meditation, running as a means for survival, running as a connection to the past, the present, the future, and the self.
How to access the film
Getting access to this movie outside the US and Canada can prove difficult. It took me a few days to find a way to watch it. It can be purchased on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play if you’re in those countries, but if you live elsewhere or don’t have the necessary funds, there’s one more place where you can get it: Kanopy. I didn’t know this service existed but it’s basically an online movie library. To get access, you’ll need to have a library card from your local library. You then simply sign up with that and voila, you have access to 8 films every month for free and without ads. (I swear this isn’t an ad for Kanopy; it’s literally the only place when I found this film which I think is very worth a watch. It’s also a really cool service in my opinion.)
“We run in the outer world, we become in the inner world.”Sri Chinmoy