JAMAICA HILLS, QUEENS — An unassuming block in Jamaica Hills is home to the longest race in the world.
The 23rd Annual Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence Race kicked off on June 16, turning the ring of streets around Thomas A. Edison Career and Technical Education High School and Joseph Austin Playground into the world’s longest running track.
Race participants run an astounding 59.6 miles a day to finish the 3,100 mile race in 52 days, BBC Sport reports. And they run the entirety of those 3,100 miles around the same block in Queens.
To put that in perspective: A person could run from the West Coast of the United States to the East Coast, then still have to run another 11 marathons to complete the distance, according to the BBC.
Runners begin at 6:00 a.m. each day and run for as long as they want throughout the day. They take food and rest breaks at their own discretion, and they can choose to run as late as 12:00 a.m.
Each runner gets a sleeping space in a base camp, and the Marathon Team supplies participants with vegetarian meals and snacks throughout the day, according to the race’s website.
Sri Chimnoy, the founder of the race, moved to the United States in the 1960s. He worked as a spiritual teacher in New York but quickly became interested in long-distance running and weightlifting, according to the BBC.
Chimnoy passed away in 2007, but his legacy in the ultra-running world lives on.
“In our experience as runners, there comes a point in a race when one’s physical prowess has reached its limit,” reads the official race website. “To continue on, the runner must rely on his or her own inner determination, to tap into the infinite spiritual power that is within us all, which Sri Chinmoy calls the soul, the representative of the ultimate Divine Being.”
Most runners participating in the event are former students of Chinmoy — but only the very top percent of ultra-running professionals may gain access to the event, according to the BBC.
The final day of the race is August 6.
Read the full BBC Sport story here.
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