I started this journey in what could loosely be described as the Lederhosen wearing Bronx of lower Austria, but grew up with an innate affinity towards athletics, endurance sports and hard work.
In my early 20’s I travelled to the middle east and met the love of my life. After 8 months I was forced to leave the region and my fiancé, so I immediately landed a job with the U.N. in communications, so I could return to Israel and be with her. We spent eight years as a member of a spiritual desert community amidst one of the world’s most notorious war zones, where I learned the immeasurable value of silence and meditation. Now, 21 years later, we live in the foothills of the Alps in Austria with our two children.
During the fall of 2018, while on the search for a little-known instrument called a Dulcimer, I wandered into the Gandharva Loka music shop in the nearby city of Salzburg. I had walked past this store thousands of times but had never been inside. The store was full of eclectic instruments from all over the world and shortly after entering, I met the owner, Ushika. I immediately recognized him as a fellow ‘distance’ runner due to his lean physique and well- worn Hoka running shoes. Our conversation quickly turned to running where I attempted a little posturing with tales of my interval and hill training, and 10KM personal bests. Ushika gave genuine praise and then I prodded him about his running accomplishments. After a few moments he then humbly mentioned he had just finished the “SRI CHINMOY SELF- TRANSCENDENCE-3100 MILE RACE”, which I now know is world renowned, for Ultra- Athletes anyway, as “the world’s toughest endurance lap race.” While he explained the details of the race, I was struck by the sheer impossibility of how to even begin such an endeavor. I was compelled to tell his story in order to explore the nexus between different forms of meditation, serenity, high-ultra-endurance performance, and how we can all benefit from these learnings.
It took a year of false starts to get a disjointed plan together and then, after 23 years in Queen’s, NY, for the first time ever, the race was cancelled by the organizers due to COVID-19…but the racers weren’t having it and rallied together to find a solution.
Shortly after it was announced the race was rescheduled and would be held in Salzburg. From then on there was no stopping us.