The 100-mile London to Brighton run (1984,5 or 6?)
That summer Sri Chinmoy was encouraging us to transcend ourselves in our manifestation as he himself was doing. I got a call from Purohit suggesting a 100-mile run to Brighton and back over a weekend. We had five weeks to prepare. The girls were going to play netball for 24 hours! Purohit worked out the course and support vehicle and I got together a running programme. On the road we had four runners - Richard, Sarvosmi, Purohit and myself. The runners had a variety of long distance experience. Whereas Purohit and myself had attempted 4 or 5 marathons, I think Richard had suffered only one or two and Sarvosmi none at all! He was the really brave one.
We started running at midnight on Friday just outside Her Majesty's Prison on Brixton Hill. Purohit had worked out the distance to be exactly 50 miles to Brighton. Our programme allowed us a 20 minute break every two hours. We hoped to cover 9 to 10 miles between breaks and reach Brighton at midday. The summer night was beautiful and everything went well as we ran southward through Streatham, Thornton Heath, past Croydon, away from the built up areas and onto the A23. The breaks were threatening to become longer than the prescribed time and I had to play timer and encourage the runners back onto the road.
Gatwick Airport was about half way and almost a marathon distance. While the temperature remained cool the increasing weariness in our legs and the blisters did not seem to deflect us from our goal. The dawn brought in an increasingly hot day. The cars on the road could see us now more clearly and the fear of traffic dissipated. We had to stay together as a group and not allow anyone to fall behind. We were all really tired by 10am. Doubts about making it started to plague my mind and I comforted myself with visions of the sea and the healing effects of soaking in the brine. At midday Brighton was still a few miles away. We crawled through its suburbs wishing the sea to be around the next corner. We had to fight our way through the many tourists strolling idly along the narrow pavements and finally there it was..the pier, the pebbly beach, the sea! I could hardly walk on the beach..my blisters hated the pebbles. It was a great relief to fall into the caressing arms of the sea and let my bodyweight be supported by agencies other than my legs. We all needed to shower so we decided to go to the local swimming pool, swim and then shower and then,,,,,,,,,,eat a good meal. All this took time as the runners moved slowly and tried to keep the thought of the return run out of their minds.
We cheered up considerably after eating a cooked meal but the lack of a night's sleep was affecting everybody, even the support group. We agreed to sleep for an hour or two and then start the return run before sunset. Amazingly I felt quite revived and my blisters seemed to have subsided. Within 5 miles Sarvosmi dropped out. He had not taken the opportunity to swim in the pool, which we all felt had been restorative. The run back in the dark was quite hair raising because of the traffic and the bright headlights. We could not keep up the pace we had maintained on the way out and the group started to spread out. All three of us started walking at different times. I could see Richard in front of me wandering across the road rather dangerously. He was suffering from a lack of sleep. He decided to give up and take a seat in the car. Progress was slow and just before dawn outside Gatwick Airport Purohit decided that he could not go on. It was around about this time or soon afterwards that a strange change came over me.
It became clear to me that I was feeling no pain or fear in my body. I was running without making an effort - not fast, but freely and easily. I was floating on air. I could not believe it. I had covered 75 miles and I was now running as though I had just started. Pavitrata joined me for a couple of miles. Sweat was pouring off me like raindrops. I was bubbling over with happiness and joy. The support car passed me and Rod stuck his head out and shouted, "Take it easy, you've still got a marathon to go." Immediately fear took hold again and the pain I had felt earlier in all parts of my body returned. The joy vanished and the struggle started up once more. It was a crawl back to Streatham..We finished in Clapham instead of Brixton. It was 2pm, Sunday.