Runners, especially those aspiring to long distances, have to get comfortable with tediousness, knowing that we’ll be spending a long time doing something very repetitive. There are lots of ways to prevent the monotony from breaking you down, one of which is to plan a route that offers varying scenery and helpful distractions along the way. Repeats around the block or the track can induce boredom very quickly.
The Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race is not just a test of endurance and determination, but also of one’s tolerance of that boredom. The race, which covers the twice the distance from Boston to Miami, is mapped around a single half-mile block through Queens, New York, which participants repeat from 6 a.m. to midnight. Runners are given 51 days to complete the challenge.
Atlas Osbscura, in a profile of Suprabha Beckjord, who has completed the race 13 times, describes the ways in which the organization of the race and the strategy of participants varies from a mere 100-mile ultra:
“Most people end up buying a dozen pairs of shoes, 15 pairs of socks, 25 shirts,” says Sahishnu Szczesiul, the race’s official timekeeper. Plus, he continues, the race doesn’t stop due to weather—”Some people have two to three different kinds of umbrellas, for lighter or heavier rains.” Diet is vital: “After three weeks, you start to lose a little bit of body fat,” Beckjord says. After that point, a runner holding a cup may well be sipping on pureed avocado, or even heavy cream.
The article also notes that if you add up the distance that Beckjord has completed in her 13 years of competing, she’s run the circumference of the earth twice.
Check out the full piece in Atlas Obscura. If you’re a recent marathoner looking for a new challenge, perhaps this is it.
- Ravi Singh