About the author:

Tejvan organises short-distance running and cycling races for the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team in his home city of Oxford. He is also a very good cyclist, having won the National hill climb championships in 2013 and finished 3rd in the National 100 Mile Time Trials in 2014.

Sri Chinmoy believed that running is beneficial to physical health but also can give an inner spiritual fulfilment. Running teaches us determination, focus and reminds us of our aspiration to go beyond our previous limitations. Running is both physically challenging but, at the same time, gives an inner joy and satisfaction. Many runners attest to the fact that running can take us out of an ordinary consciousness and give a glimpse into a state of mind beyond our usual thoughts and emotions. 

“Running is a symbolic sport in the sense that it reminds us of spiritual seekers continuously running towards the goal; it resembles the seekers running inwardly to achieve the ultimate goal in meditation.”

Sri Chinmoy [1] 

Some of the spiritual aspects of running


“Self-transcendence gives us joy in boundless measure. When we transcend ourselves, we do not compete with others. We do not compete with the rest of the world, but at every moment we compete with ourselves. We compete only with our previous achievements. And each time we surpass our previous achievements, we get joy.”

Sri Chinmoy [2]

Sri Chinmoy ran 22 marathons and 5 ultramarathons, his first one being in 1979

Self-transcendence is concerned with an attempt to beat our previous achievement and stretch our capacity. This self-transcendence can be measured in a race against the clock, but even if we can't beat our times, we can still strive to make a greater commitment and effort in our training and races. If we are detached from the outer result, we will feel joy from these attempts at self-transcendence. Whilst we may not have the capacity to beat others, we always have the opportunity to pursue our own self-transcendence attempts.


Running brings forward both our outer and inner determination. Running requires effort, focus and the willingness to challenge our body against the distance and elements. To complete a race requires a fixed mindset and determination to keep going.

Surasa Mairer, holder of many women's ultradistance records, finishes the 2017 3100 Mile race at the age of 59

Getting to know yourself

“When a runner focuses all his attention on a particular race, he is in a position to free his mind, liberate his mind, from uncomely distractions. Here one-pointed concentration is the pathfinder for a deeper meditative consciousness.”

– Sri Chinmoy [3]

Running takes us out of our comfort zone. It teaches us that we are more capable than we perhaps realise. To a non-runner, completing a marathon may seem an impossible task, but if we train, we realise we are capable of much more than we realise. Whilst running, we get in touch with a different part of ourself, and we learn more about our inner reserves.

Dynamism and inner peace

Question: Can running help get rid of frustration and anger?

Sri Chinmoy: Running is an excellent way to rid oneself of frustration and anger. If you are really angry with someone, go and run. After a mile or so you will see that your anger has gone away, either because you are totally exhausted or because the satisfaction that you gain from physical exertion has replaced your anger. [4]

A great benefit of running is that it shakes away our mental cobwebs. The dynamism of running helps us to get away from the petty concerns and worries of our mind. Dynamism is a powerful tool to bring to the fore more inner peace. When we are static, we become like a stagnant pool, when we move, it is like a clear flowing stream. The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run combines both running long distances with an endeavour to share peace. Sri Chinmoy felt the dynamism of running across countries was an excellent way to share peace in a meaningful way. Running brings many of our good qualities to the fore.


How to bring spirituality into running

Self-transcendence vs competition

Rather than worrying about whether you can beat your competitors, focus instead on your own performance. Can you transcend your previous efforts? - Can you make the best possible effort given your circumstances? If you focus only on your self-transcendence, you will get joy from running - whatever the outer result. You will see fellow competitors - not as rivals, but fellow runners who can inspire your own efforts.

For runners in the 3100 Mile Race - the world's longest certified race - the focus not so much on competition as on bringing out the best in oneself


If we meditate before running, we will be conscious of our inner stillness and inner reserves which can help us in the outer running. Meditation teaches us to be one-pointed and bring all our awareness of one aspect. When we run, we can see our running as an extension of our meditation. Just bring all your focus on to the running - the rhythm of breathing. Don't get distracted by thoughts, but just try to be the observer of the running. When the body is running, at top speed, feel at the same time an inner focus and inner equanimity.

"Again, the runner's outer speed has a special kind of poise or stillness at its very heart. An airplane travels very fast, yet inside the plane we feel no movement at all. It is all tranquility, all peace; and this inner tranquility we can bring to our outer life. In fact, the outer life, the outer movement, can be successful only when it comes from the inner poise."

- Sri Chinmoy [5]

Conscious Breathing

To make running a more meditative experience, we can concentrate on our breathing. We should feel our breath brings in not just oxygen but a divine energy. If we visualise we are breathing in cosmic energy and exhaling tiredness, we will gain more inner strength.

The inner value of running

"The main reason is that running reminds us of our inner goal. Whether we consciously run toward the goal or not, our very feeling that there is a goal helps us considerably."

- Sri Chinmoy [6]

If we value running as a spiritual exercise, then it can become something much more than just the outer running. When running, we can feel we are making inner progress and striving to reach our inner goal.



Perspectives on the spirituality of running

Running the world’s longest race – Jayasalini

Jayasalini Abramovskikh talks about the experience of running the Sri Chinmoy 3100 Mile Self-Transcendence Race. In 2014, at her first attempt, Jayasalini became the first Russian woman to finish this grueling race which lasts for 52 consecutive days.

Running as a pilgrimage

Sanjay Rawal, the director of the feature film "3100 Mile: Run and Become" talks about how he sees running as a spiritual pilgrimage.

Samunnati on meditation and running

Samunnati Lehonkova is an Olympic marathon runner who took up running at an early age after becoming a disciple of Sri Chinmoy. In this short video, Samunnati talks about how she started meditation and running at the same time, and how she attempts to practise self-transcendence through running.

3100: Run and Become

A film that explores the spiritual significance of running in different cultures across the world. It includes the Gaolo-San bushmen in Botswana, the legendary Japanese gyoman-san running monks, the Navajo runners in the deserts of Arizona, and the runners of the Sri Chinmoy Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race in Jamaica, Queens, New York.


Sources: Quotes are taken from the following books by Sri Chinmoy: [1] from Japan: soul-beauty’s heart-garden, [2] from The oneness of the Eastern heart and the Western mind, part 3, [3] from Run and smile, smile and run, [4] [5] [6] from The outer running and the inner running.