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Goodwill running

BY COLE RIVARD Participants of the Canadian leg of the International World Harmony Run passed through Sudbury May 17, spreading their message of world unity and goodwill to local schools.
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Legs of the World Harmony Run takes place in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

BY COLE RIVARD

Participants of the Canadian leg of the International World Harmony Run passed through Sudbury May 17, spreading their message of world unity and goodwill to local schools.

The run, which officially launched at the United Nations Plaza in New York City on April 11, takes place in 80 nations in North and South America, Europe, Asia, Africa and Australia.

Unlike many runs of this type, there is no fundraising component. The purpose of the run is as simple as developing a relationship of goodwill among nations.

"We're all part of the same team," said World Harmony Run participant Gabriel Pelletier. "It's using the philosophy of self-transcendence. We believe that the world is one big family, and with the run we are trying to bring our family together."

Humanitarian Sri Chinmoy founded the run in 1987. The run has grown every year since its inception, gathering countries from around the globe to support its message. The run has been supported by the likes of Mother Teresa, Carl Lewis, Mikhail Gorbachev, Nelson Mandela and Mohammed Ali.

A torch is carried along with the participants as a symbol of global friendship and participation.
The runners visit schools along the road to pass their message to children .

"We are visiting schools in each of the 65 cities we are visiting across the country," said Pelletier. "What we like to do is to get the kids to hold the torch and make a wish for world harmony. We like to show the children that 'harmony starts with me.'"

The Canadian portion of the World Harmony Run started on April 24, in Victoria, B.C., and is expected to wrap up in St. John's, Newfoundland, in late June.

In total, participants are expected to run over 35,000 kilometres across the world.

The participants run an average of 10-15 km per day. The running in Canada is done mostly within rural areas. The participants are driven between long distances to ensure they don't over-exert themselves.

The World Harmony Run is organized by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team, which supports ultra-distance running events, including an annual 3,100 mile race in New York, a 24-hour race in Ottawa and a triathlon in Victoria.

"I just kind of dove into this," said Seth Feldman, another participant. "I've always been interested in challenging myself. I've always been a believer in elevating the human spirit through physical activity, and the run was something that, at its core, shows an entirely positive message that is carried around the world."