Ongkar, one of the founding members of the UK Sri Chinmoy AC, recalls our humble beginnings....

Back in 1980 on a Saturday morning in June, 20 runners assembled for a 7 mile race in Hyde Park, London.

The race consisted of 3 3/4 laps within the park. It started alongside the Serpentine lake and finished in pleasant parkland.

        Left: Ongkar in familiar pose recording at one of our races, and with daughter Dipika, who also runs for Sri Chinmoy AC, at our course in Battersea Park.

The winner was John Hensman from South London in a time of 36.17. Another runner, Mark Pickard, came fourth but could not stay for the prizegiving as he was scheduled to run the Woodford to Southend 40 mile road race later on that day! At that time, Mark was the most consistent ultra-runner in the UK, so a 7 mile race at 8am was just a warm up for the big one.

This modest race was the first ever organised by Sri Chinmoy AC in the UK and very quickly more races were organised until about 300 people participated in 5 mile, 10k and 10 mile races within the following 12 months.

Following on from this, the venue for the races changed to Battersea Park, where we still organise a large programme of races each year. Particularly popular are the 2 mile Monday evening races held every summer.

At the time of writing, the next race is a 10km on Saturday 11th September at 8am in Battersea Park, and if thats too short a distance then there is the 24 Hour rack race at Tooting Bec Track on 9 & 10 October.

Very soon after that first race in 1980, other races were held by Sri Chinmoy AC in Ipswich, Bristol, Oxford, Edinburgh and Cambridge. (Editor's note - more articles about our club's history coming soon, courtesty of Sanjaya our Ipswich race director).


"Run and Become
Become and Run
Run to succeed in the outer world
Become to proceed in the inner world"

Sri Chinmoy