Meath man completes world’s longest race

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.


Lifestyle

Is there a natural treatment I could use instead of steroids and antibiotic drops for dry eye?Natural health: I suffer from chronic dry eye

Denise O’Donoghue checks in with several expats affected by the cancellation of shows in BritainIrish actors on the crisis the West End theatre industry faces

This month marks four decades since the release of the classic record that would also be Ian Curtis’s final album with Joy Division. Ed Power chats to a number of Cork music fans about what it meant to themJoy Division: Forty years on from Closer

Last week, I shared my lockdown experience. I asked for a more uniform approach, should there be another lockdown. I explained that I worked mornings. Maybe I should have been more specific: working 8am to 1pm without a break, I gave feedback and covered the curriculum, using our school’s online platform. In the afternoons, I looked after my three kids (all under ten) while my husband worked. It was a challenging time for everyone and the uncertainty around what I should have been doing as a teacher made it harder.Diary of an Irish teacher: I want to get back to work. But I would like to do it safely

More From The Irish Examiner