Australian and international students of Indian meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy gathered in Melbourne for the 40th Chico marathon anniversary on the weekend of March 2nd and 3rd, 2019. Chico was Sri Chinmoy’s first marathon that he completed on 3rd March 1979 in Chico, USA. He ran in a time of 4.31.34. Overall Sri Chinmoy completed 22 marathons in his marathon career but encouraged his students to continue marathon or daily running as a means to maintaining and increasing both physical and spiritual fitness. “We have to keep the body fit, and for this, running is of considerable help. If we are physically fit, then we will be more inspired to get up early in the morning to meditate. True, the inspiration to meditate comes from within, but if we are healthy, then it will be much easier for us to get up at five or six o’clock to pray and meditate. In this way the inner life is being helped by the outer life. Again, if we are inspired to get up early to meditate, then we will also be able to go out and run. Here we see that the outer life is being helped by the inner life,” said Sri Chinmoy in reference to fitness and meditation.
Similar celebrations honouring Sri Chinmoy’s Chico marathon run were held throughout the world. In Australia we aimed to honour this achievement with a marathon and celebrate the whole weekend. The joy weekend or meditation retreat coincided with the Peace Run finishing their Australian leg of the first All-Nation-Covering Southern Hemisphere Peace Run so there were plenty of fit runners around used the 37 degree heat forecast for the 3rd of March. Around 55 Australian and international members of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team attended the joy weekend, it was fantastic. Four members of the Perth meditation group attended.
A meditation retreat with the Sri Chinmoy Centre isn’t really a meditation retreat. It is very active. Plenty of performances, spiritual plays and meals. On the Saturday we certainly carbo loaded the day before the marathon, eating heaps of food, an Indian meal and a massive Prasad (blessed food). We watched videos of Sri Chinmoy running his early marathons including Chico and Toledo which inspired us to think about the next morning. Some were running as teams, some as individuals and some like Goncalo from Portugal were running their first marathon. I was a bit apprehensive, I started training the week before in Perth and ran a 9k on the Saturday morning and raced a half marathon in the evening. I didn’t bode well. I could hardly walk afterwards but…grace descended, Sri Chinmoy’s Chico marathon was great. I felt awesome the whole marathon. I think everyone else had the same experience. “I can’t believe I did it,” said Rakhi Mahbuba, a former Miss Bangladesh now residing in Perth who ran 10 kilometres in a team, further than she ever had before. “Halfway through I felt so emotional. The pride. I was inwardly moved, being here was really special.”
The marathon started around 7.15am in Princess Park on a flat, scenic, cinder track that was 1.9km measured by Kishore’s Jones wheel. There was plenty of joy around and helpers to count our laps. Prashphutita Greco a professional photographer took photos of everyone. An amazing aid station loaded with coconut water, electrolyte, donuts, sea weed, crisps and so on kept us going as the day warmed up. When we finished a local volunteer Kuvarani had made a multi-storey lasagne for all the helpers and runners which was scrumptious.
We gathered for an early Sunday evening meditation before everyone departed and many tales of the day unfolded after meditation as we ate our meal: vegetarian pizza and icecream with apple pie, regaining all the weight we had just lost!
The Perth Sri Chinmoy Centre conducts free meditation classes north of the river (NOR) and free meditation classes south of the river (SOR) in a variety of locations. We also have a free two mile race every weekend in South Perth and often conduct weekend meditation workshops in a metropolitan meditation retreat like setting. Visit our calendar to see our next free evening meditation class or weekend meditation workshop or phone 61614156.