Germany 30 April: Heidelberg
36+ Peace Runners at the Heidelberg Half Marathon
Der Peace Run beim Heidelberger Halbmarathon
Celebrating the 30th anniversary of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run - which already passed through the Rhine-Neckar-Region in its first year back in 1987 and many times lateron - a team of 36+ international "Peace Runners" ran the Heidelberg SAS Half Marathon 2017, holding the Peace Torch at the start and carrying a second Torch in a small group all the way. (We were actually even 38, since two race numbers ran without chips due to some miscommunication!)
Mr Gerold from our daily newspaper Rhein-Neckar-Zeitung came to take some photos of our Peace Run team before the start - and it even got published it! Thank you so much!
Samalya from Berlin, 2nd place in 2013, officially started the race with the Peace Torch. He is sharing it with SAS manager Jürgen Fritz, representing the race sponsor, before the start. (The Peace Run was called World Harmony Run between 2001 and 2012.)
The Sri Chinmoy Peace Runners and the Torch are offically announced before the start and runners are invited to share the Peace Torch.
Andreas Wahlster, long time Race Director of the TSG Heidelberg, announced our team and the ideals and purpose of the Peace Run several times over the speakers - thank you so much!
Sharing the torch with Heidelberg Half Marathon winner of 2016, Kibrom Issac, teacher and refugee from Eritrea who has won many races in the region since he came here, but is suffering from knee problems right now...
... and with number 2, Kim Abel, another top runner (Samalya stripped down to his Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team singlet for a serious run seconds before the start it seems!)
... except for the Torch and flag bearers who will stay together - and at times share the torch with other runners.
Sharing the Peace Torch with local top runner, mystery author and music critic Marcus Imbsweiler, with whom Samalya already fought a number of peaceful battles on the course in earlier years.
Samalya (11th place overall, 3rd place in his age group, with a time of 01:18:17) sharing the first Torch with the new first and second place winners 2017 - Jochen Uhrig (421) and Holger Freudenberger (131)
The torch carried by Samalya at the start and held at the end has actually been to Tanzania (Arusha) and all the way up to Kilimanjaro. Here shared again with refugee runners from Eritrea. I love to explain that thousands of children have held the torch, imagining peace in their hearts and putting their dreams for peace into the torch. It immediately catches on.
Theresia Bauer, State Minister for Science, Research and Art of Baden-Württemberg, loves to inspire others by runnning the Heidelberg Half Marathon many times. We met the day before, by chance, while collecting our respective race numbers. It was nice to be able to invite her to hold the Peace Torch at the finish, which she readily accepted.