New History of Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team Distance Running

The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team was an early pioneer of distance running and helped to organise some of the first ultra distance races in the United States and around the world. Until the late 1970s, distance running was very much a minority sport with only a small number of events. In a recent article, Sahishnu Szczesiu, a race director of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team recounts the inspiration Sri Chinmoy gave to distance running, and the Sri Chinmoy Marathon's Team role in helping to establish distance running as a new and growing discipline. As Sahishnu states of Sri Chinmoy's approach:

"He said that offering, and even doing long races goes hand in hand with his philosophy of a fit body, and a search for greater capacity within oneself. He called this ‘self-transcendence,’ going beyond, beyond our known barriers."

You can read the full: History of the 24 hour race (pdf)

The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team began promoting races for the public in 1977, and in 1980 organised its first 'ultra event' - a 24 hour race in Greenwich New York. During its early history, the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team was fortunate to host some of the greatest ultra performances in the sport's history. For example:

  • 1980 24 hour race Marcy Schwam from New York (US) ran 111 miles  a new women's world record.
  • 1984 Six-Day Race -  Yiannis Kouros from Tripoli Greece ran 635 miles 1023 yards  to break a 96 year old record from 1888.
  • 1984 November 24 hour - Yiannis Kouros broke world record with 177 miles
Sri Chinmoy with Yiannis Kouros after his record-breaking run.
Sri Chinmoy with Yiannis Kouros after his record-breaking run.
Start of the Sri Chinmoy 24 hour race in 1985

The article also includes some feedback from the runners who appreciated the spirit and organisation of the Sri Chinmoy Races.

“There is always something special about Sri Chinmoy and his group. Through ultramarathoning I have found what I consider to be an unparalleled inner contentment, yet I can only wonder in awe at the peace and love radiating from each of the Sri Chinmoy followers. At the far corner of the track two young women sang beautiful lyric songs about running and living. On nearly every lap I was greeted and cheered by name. When it was dark, the track was lighted with dozens of candles in white bags, which cast a mystical glow around the far turns."

- Ultrarunning magazine November 1981


  • Dipali Cunningham talks about her experiences running in the Sri Chinmoy Ultra events.