Sri Chinmoy, an Indian Spiritual Master, believed running was the best form of meditation and promoted the spiritual benefits of physical fitness. With a personal history of 21 marathons and 4 ultra-marathons one might be inclined to trust him on the topic. He founded the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in 1977 and since then the organisation has been declared a great "service to the running community" (au.srichinmoyraces.org/node/1) around the world.
Once you have gotten out of bed on a Sunday morning for an 8am start and find yourself approximately 1km into the run, your body is warm and your mind separates itself from the physical effort of propelling yourself forward, you find a steady reliable rhythm and can consider yourself participating in a form of open-eyed meditation for the next 30 minutes or so. The exhilaration of not only successfully completing your fun run but then being able to enjoy the rest of your Sunday with new found energy and enthusiasm is well worth the effort. It is certainly a feeling this writer has enjoyed for almost a decade and really what more motivation do you need than the generous volunteers cooking and serving warm delectable crepes at the finish line ready for you to top with maple syrup and banana as soon as that finish line is crossed.
Sri Chinmoy fun runs are worthwhile for newbie runners to the most experienced. Each race normally allows for three distances ranging from 3kms up to a full marathon which the entrant chooses upon payment. Registration couldn't be easier; there are early bird prices for those that register online at the website and otherwise entries are taken on the day prior to the race start time. Prices vary depending on the distance undertaken however generally each race costs between $18 and $30. Of course no fun run would be complete without prizes and the Sri Chinmoy team do not disappoint handing them out for first, second and third place in a variety of categories as well as spot prizes.
These fun runs are held throughout the year around Victoria (as well as Australia and various locations around the world) with iconic settings ranging from the water front at Williamstown to Como House in South Yarra and Princes Park in Carlton. The courses are chosen thoughtfully with enough room for competitors so that there is never the dreaded 'bottle neck' found in high profile fun runs. The tracks are always well maintained, clearly marked on the day and have regular drink stations manned by supportive and cheerful volunteers. Each runner receives their individual official race time and can even sign up to have their time SMS'd directly.
The Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team also run events worldwide such as decathlons, triathlons and the aptly named Joyathons for under 13's only.
So why not "Run and Become. Become and Run. Run to Succeed in the Outer World, become to proceed in the Inner World." (Sri Chinmoy) with the next Victorian fun run event on Sunday 28 April at Princes Park in Carlton.