Runner Stutisheel Lebedev on finishing the longest race in the world

Lebedev receives his trophy from founder Sri Chinmoy. Credit: Stutisheel Lebedev
Lebedev receives his trophy from founder Sri Chinmoy.
Credit: Stutisheel Lebedev

When your bag is heavy or the train is late, cheer up by imagining the suffering of runners in the world’s longest race. The Sri Chinmoy 3100-mile event is taking place in New York right now, taking over a month to complete.

Regular competitor Stutisheel Lebedev explained why people do it to themselves.

Metro: How you distract yourself from the horrific torture during the race?

Lebedev: The mind is quite calm so you don’t need to do special things. I like to listen to Indian music and sometimes audiobooks. I went through Dan Brown’s ‘The Da Vinci Code’, and sometimes I get ideas that I write later.

Are you a band of brothers during the race or fierce rivals?

There is a feeling of family, and a good competitive spirit. The majority of runners are friends – this year one of the leaders stopped running to provide a rival with foot cream.

Is it a form of self-punishment?

No, it’s about self-transcendence, which is never comfortable. You experience joy from transcending your limits.

And how many shoes are destroyed by this experience?

Over nine years the average has been 16, so more than 100 in total.

When you see a football match do you think ‘these guys are ****ing lazy’?

I know in every sport you can give 100 percent. If you give all of yourself it does not matter what sport or activity.

You convinced me. Any advice before I run 3100 miles?

First try some shorter races, a two, six or 10-day event. The best advice is to draw on your inner strength and values rather than for the reward or fame. That’s the only way to succeed.


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