Sri Chinmoy

Through his own achievements, as well as the founding of the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, Sri Chinmoy spent his life vividly demonstrating how sports can be a powerful means to unlock the true potential of the human spirit.

Sri Chinmoy founded the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in 1977, and his vision, inspiration, encouragement and intuition have been the guiding force behind its growth into what is today the world's largest organiser of endurance events. His innate understanding of the limitless potential that lies within each one of us led him to conceive of endurance events that to others seemed beyond the bounds of human possibility - the prime example, of course, being the 3100 Mile Self-Transcendence Race, which has been running since 1997 and still remains the longest certified road race in the world.

In his own right, Sri Chinmoy was a formidable athlete, and the dedication which he put into his training inspired his fellow Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team members to expand their own capacities in participating in and organizing events. A champion athlete in the spiritual community where he spent his younger days, Sri Chinmoy inspired the newly-formed Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team through the intensity of his own example, completing a total of 22 marathons and 5 ultramarathons and participating in track-and-field events in Masters Games (including the World Masters Games in Puerto Rico in 1983 and the World Veterans Games in Miyazaki, Japan in 1993) before injury hampered his running career. Undaunted, he turned to the field of weightlifting, and soon began setting eye-opening records in this discipline which challenged everyone's perceptions as to what was truly possible. His final months on earth saw no halt to his inspirational dedication - as recently as August 2007 - less than two months before his passing on October 11 - Sri Chinmoy succeeded in lifting overhead 800lbs using only his right arm.

Sri Chinmoy's philosophy is that a balanced lifestyle fosters harmony and inner peace. His integral approach to life encourages physical fitness and sports as a vehicle for personal transformation.

"There are countless people on earth who do not believe in the inner strength or inner life. They feel that the outer life is everything. I do not agree with them," he said. "There is an inner life; there is spirit, and my ability to lift heavy weights proves that it can work in matter as well. I am doing these lifts with the physical body, but the power is coming from an inner source, from my prayer and meditation."

Sri Chinmoy practised sports not only for the joy of it, and to keep the body fit, but also because he saw sports as a natural vehicle for expressing his philosophy of self-transcendence. Inspired by his example, several of his students have attempted to stretch their own personal limits - setting new world records in various fields, running multi-day races, swimming the English channel and climbing some of the world's highest mountains.

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