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
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."