A Meath man has become the first Irish person and only the 39th person in history to complete the world’s longest road race.
Nirbhasa Magee, from Summerhill, took 51 days and 12 hours to complete the Self Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, the largest certified road race in the world. In doing so, he became just the 39th person ever to complete the race and the first Irish person.
By comparison, over 4,000 people have climbed the world’s highest mountain Mount Everest.
The race takes place around a half-mile loop in Queens in New York for 52 straight days. To complete the distance, the runners must average 96.5km every day. Competitors run from 6am to midnight every day for the duration of the race.
Completing the race is the equivalent of running across America or running from Boston to Miami and back again.
The race was founded in 1977 by meditation teacher and fitness advocate Sri Chinmoy, who felt that sports and meditation were mutually beneficial, in that they both allow people to feel a sense of joy and satisfaction that comes from expanding their own capacities.
During the race, Nirbhasa has used over 14 pairs of running shoes and consumed anywhere from 7,000 to 10,000 calories each day.
He had been training for over a year for the race logging up to 240km a week.
Speaking after the race, Nirbhasa said he was feeling a mixture of exhaustion and exhilaration. He said that dealing with the monotony of running the same half-mile lap all day every day for almost two months is the biggest challenge.
“The mind definitely complains about the monotony of it because the human mind is always looking for new stimulation. I guess what you have to do is go beyond the mind, silence the mind and go into a deeper part of yourself.
“I originally started running as part of my meditation practice. I’ve been very interested in meditation for nearly 15 years or so now,” he told RTÉ.
As for going back to try and finish the challenge a second time — something only a handful of people have done — Nirbhasa remained coy.
“Once you finish a marathon, you go through a certain amount of suffering and you think to yourself: ‘Oh god I’ll never do that again’. So I am a little bit at that stage now.
"I’ve gone through a long arduous journey but then like the marathon runner a few days later it kind of dawns on you what an experience it actually was.
"If you had to ask me whether I’d do the race again next year or at some point in the future, it’s very much an open question,” he said.
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