Grahak finds second wind

Variable weather, and the need to multitask, have been among Grahak Cunningham’s many challenges. Photo: Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team
Variable weather, and the need to multitask, have been among Grahak Cunningham’s many challenges. Photo: Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team

IT would take a ‘choke’ of Adam Scott proportions for Grahak Cunningham not to win the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile race in New York.

While there is still 458 miles (7373km) to run, and that in itself is a physically demanding task with so many potential obstacles, Grahak has again built a considerable lead after moving well ahead of nearest competitor Sarvagata Ukrainskyi.

As reported previously in the Mail, Grahak, originally from Busselton, is in New York for his fourth attempt at the world’s longest certified footrace, which sees competitors run continuous laps around a 900m city block.

After 37 days of repetitive running, Grahak has covered 2642.47 miles (4252km), well ahead of the 2514.05 miles (4046km) by the second-placed Ukrainian.

The current lead of 128 miles (206km) has been established courtesy of some strong running from Grahak over the past week, when it seemed as though he may be caught.

When he spoke to the Mail two weeks ago, he was unsure about whether he could maintain his lead until the end.

“Winning the race I’m not so sure about because the Ukrainian runner is strong and will probably pass me towards the end,” he said at the time.

The 77 mile (124km) lead Grahak once enjoyed was whittled down to under 40 miles (64km) by the end of day 28; however his ability to remain consistent has seen him extend that lead considerably.

While some runners have already pushed themselves beyond their physical limit, with one having withdrawn from the race, there remains a test of the athletes’ state of mind and sense of humour.

Grahak, who has been keeping a blog during his race, wrote of a prank played on him recently.

“I asked someone to put some aloe vera plant down my sock to help cool my feet down,” he wrote.

“But they thought it would be funny to put a cheese stick down my sock instead.

“I didn’t think it was funny because I was tired and in a bad mood. They thought it was hilarious of course!”

More information about the final stages of the run can be found by visiting his blog at grahakcunningham.com