We’ve all heard of ultra marathons – hours and hours of long distance running. But have you ever heard of a running race being run for days and days instead of just hours? That’s exactly what the Self Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race is. If you consider yourself one of the hard core runners, read on. If you’re just curious about this longest certified running race, well, by all means, read on as well.
How the world’s longest foot race started
Can you imagine yourself running more than half of the day for 50 days straight? Now, that’s what I call extreme. But the 3,100 mile race runners don’t do it just because they want to be called extreme runners.
The Self Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race was started by a guy named Sri Chinmoy, a spiritual teacher who believed in finding joy through self transcendence or going beyond one’s personal limits and realizing new heights of perfection, both internally and externally. The Self Transcendence race became symbolic of that whole journey of doing more than what you think you can do. The Sri Chinmoy Marathon team hosts the race each year. It all started as a 2,700 mile race in 1996 where runners needed to complete the race within the 47 day time limit. A year later, Sri Chinmoy intensified the race to 3,100 miles within 52 days. And that is why it’s the longest certified running race in the world.
Running the Self Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race
The Self Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race is held in Queens, New York around June to August of the year. It consists of running 5,649 laps around a .5488 of a mile course in a time limit of 52 days. Runners must run an average of almost 60 miles a day to finish within the time cap. This obviously takes great determination, physical endurance, and extreme focus and concentration.
Only around thirty runners have ever completed the race since it started in 1997. Madhupran Wolfgang Schwerk from Germany currently holds the record for the event by completing the race in 2006 with an official time of 41 days and 8 hours. Suprabha Beckjord holds the record for the women’s events with 49 days in 1998. She is also the only person to complete twelve editions of the race since 1997.
In the last race, two more days were added to the race due to extreme temperatures. Ten daring runners went beyond themselves and completed the world’s longest running race. They braved through the summer heat and endured real physical pain to complete one of the most remarkable journeys in their racing life.