3100: Run and Become the Movie

December 10, 2019

Need some running motivation. On Thursday March 26th the Paradiso Cinema in Northbridge will be having a screening and talk with award winning director Sanjay Rawal and his latest offering ‘3100: Run and Become’, a feature film length documentary that explores the historic and current relationship between running and personal growth. The film is touring throughout Australia and NZ.

It focuses primarily on Finnish ultra-runner Ashprihanal Aalto. A newspaper boy who only really trains by delivering newspapers during his daily route. Aalto also happens to be one of the best multi day runners in the world. The Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race, the world’s longest race has become his bread and butter. Involving no prize money and tremendous hardships, runners circumnavigate a New York City Block for 51 days to finish the race.

“Without courage,” race founder Sri Chinmoy once said in reference to transcending oneself, “Life is a path without progress.” Aalto follows this decree: he has completed this race 14 times (running over 43,000 miles around the same course). He’s run the heaviest calendar possible in the ultra-world, multiple times. This involved completing a six-day race in April, the 3100 mile race from June to August and a 700 mile (1126km) race in September. With the 700 mile race no longer existent on the ultra-running calendar I doubt anyone will ever repeat the trilogy.

Aalto’s only real training run in the 3100 mile race the documentary focuses on was at a Navajo Nation race and Rawal moves focus to the native Americans who run in the vast plains and stunning scenery of their homeland in Arizona.  We are introduced to Navajo runner Shaun Martin who goes on a solo hundred miler in honour of his forefathers who had to run miles in order to escape the Western Schools they were forcibly taken to. 

The Navajo Nation, the scenery and film footage are awe inspiring and Martin’s words powerful. “We get up and run as the sun is rising to celebrate life, we run because it is a form of prayer. You are speaking to Mother Earth with your feet, you are breathing in Father Sky and you are telling them and asking them for blessings and showing them you are ready to work for that prayer, for those blessings.”

The Navajo’s aren’t the only indigenous culture that runs for spirituality and Sanjay starts to visit some of the philosophy of Born to Run by Christopher McDougall (who incidentally loved the film) spending time with Southern Africa’s Kalahari bushmen who have long used running for hunting, growth and to survive. This traditional path has helped transition the youth into adulthood for eons but is under threat with government bans, development and relocation forcing the traditional running hunters to go underground. Rawal explores this dilemma and is taken on an illegal hunt with a local hunter, revered for his talent and skill, who runs and hunts his prey. It is risky footage. Punishments for the Bushmen are severe for hunting but the Kalahari tradition is under threat and they have given Rawal unimpeded access to help champion their fight.

Perhaps rarer footage is of the legendary Marathon Monks of Japan’s Mt. Hie. The monks feel their prayers while running and hiking uplift the world as they act as intermediaries between the Buddha and the earth, climbing, praying and circumnavigating the mountain for years on end. Not interested in publicity it took the film crew three visits to the head monk in Japan to be allowed to film. The access Rawal got was inspiring, visually uplifting and unprecedented. 

Ultimately this film probably opens some doors to us all explaining why many of us run when we are asked by a non-runner ‘Why would you do that?’ When heading out the door at 6 am for jog. Along the way 3100: Run and and Become tackles or at least awakens the viewer to some social problems that running solves. “Running,” according to Sanjay Rawal, “unites us. At one point, every culture on Earth relied on running. It’s baked into our DNA.”

Sanjay will be speaking on the evening along with myself. He is a great runner himself. He was a talented track runner in his youth in California and ran a 2.37 marathon PB at age 42 at the Sacramento Marathon last weekend. After spending a few years filming and travelling he is starting to get his running and weight on track. He’d just won a 5k in Flushing Meadows when I spoke to him last and is looking forward to coming to Western Australia then checking out the surf down south where he is also doing a screening and talk in Bunbury. There is a great podcast with Rich Roll if you want to hear more from Sanjay and if it is possible. The screening and Q and A event is sponsored by the Sri Chinmoy Centre and there will probably be a small cover charge to help with costs of the cinema, but for now save the date.

3100 Run and Become trailer


Amazing Running Feet

October 27, 2017

Need some running motivation. Dipali Cunningham is a great Australian runner you probably haven’t heard of. She has lived in the USA for 35 years and has raced almost exclusively in North America but she stills call Australia home. She might be small in size and quietly spoken, but her running achievements are towering by any standards, especially in the field of multi-day running.

A netballer in her youth, Dipali only started running when she was 21, pushed into it by her brother who...

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New World Record at the 3100 Mile Race

August 10, 2017
American Yolanda holder became the worlds best walker after travelling 3100 miles in the Self-Transcendence 3100 Mile Race. She was so happy on the last day you can see and feel it in her interview with Utpal Marshall.


During her race she hoped to inspire and motivate her friends and followers with a 52 day challenge. Encouraging them to work out each day she competed. What a champion!

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How to Stay Safe When You Are Running

January 17, 2017

There's a number of great races around the world in or around big cities. From the Laugavegur Ultra in Iceland to the scenic surrounds of Boston Marathon qualifier, the Rockland State Marathon in upstate New York, it is time to start your training and your travel plans if you plan on visiting and competing. I feel it's always worth arriving a minimum three days early so you can recover from the travel, stay injury free and see the sights.

It is important to think about safety when you are...

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Returning to Running

December 7, 2016

After an enforced injury lay off it is so nice returning to running. I managed an easy 6k yesterday in Bold Park. A bush land area in metropolitan Perth with great city and ocean views and undulating trails it was so nice to be running again even it was very slow.

I thought I would be miserable not being able to run for such a long time but I managed to keep active by doing weights, stretches and skipping! For longer cardio exercise I could cylce and swim, two sports I don't do much of. Someti...
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Yuri Wins, Ashprihanal Second and Kaneenika Finishes

September 6, 2016
Yuri Trestenyuk was the victor in this years race. It was an amazing finish, the closest in history. Just a few hours separated first and second, the 3100 mile equivalent of a sprint finish. Ashprihanal was inspired to chase 5 days from the finish. It must have been torturous for Yuri but he didn't cave in all, taking no breaks, trying to hold on to his lead."Yuri can do only do around 70 miles," was whispered amongst runners, handlers and organisers. "He can't hold on." Ashprihanal had him c...
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Vasu and his blister

July 13, 2016
On day 23 passing Vasu Duzhiy was passed. Apparently Vasu has a really bad blister. He got one in his first race also so I am sure he has the experience to deal with it! Apart from his blister he has the perfect body shape. Light, strong and hardened.

I spoke to Ashprihanal on the phone yesterday. He has been getting over a head cold...not something you want when you are doing 100 plus kilometers a day. He was in good spirits though and talked about climbing Mt Fuji in the winter. It was a lot...
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Start of the 3100 mile race 2016 edition

June 27, 2016

Start 3100 2016 from Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team on Vimeo.

This years field boasts 3 females and a couple of rookies. It is well underway with Vasu Duzhiy from Russia leading the way.

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New World Record in the 3100 Mile Race

July 27, 2015
Ashprihanal Aalto finished the 3100 mile race in 40 days and 9 hours. He averaged 76.7 miles a day for the duration of the race. He beat the previous mark that many people thought was untouchable by almost a day. He was feeling the joy of it all in the final 3 days leading up to his finish as the end was in site and was really happy, motivated and relaxed during this time. Reducing his breaks to just 7 minutes and allowing media to come in and photograph him while he was napping. He new he ha...
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Ukrainian Galya Breaks Two Records, Irishman to make it and a Finnish Bucket List

July 20, 2015

Ukranian Galya Balatskyy has made two records here. He has completed the most number of 70 mile days in a row ever. 37 and counting. He is aiming to finish on Sunday in 42 days. An outstanding result. In fact outside of this race only the current world record holder Wolfgang Schwerk has gone into or beyond the 42 day realm (twice). Galya would have won all bar 3 of the 3100 mile races with the time he is going to do in 2015.

Galya speaks five languages and looks the strongest out of all the r...
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I am ultra runner from Australia. I am into motivational exploits involving any sort of physical feat that is inspirational and positive. On the side I work as a motivational speaker, business speaker and trainer, keynote speaker and youth speaker.


© 2012 Grahak Cunningham all rights reserved