Italy 20 May: Riva San Vitale - Lugano

Building Bridges

Another glorious morning as we awake. Today's run will takeus from Switzerland into Italy and back into Switzerland.

In Riva San Vitale the Mayor prepares to send us on our way

Today is his daughter's wedding day - and he is delighted that it coincides with the Peace Run visiting his town

He runs with us towards our next destination

A beautiful day running by the lakes

Crossing the border into Italy

in Porto Ceresio the Mayor welcomes the Peace Run

Many children are gathered with people from the town

The minute of silence for Peace is very powerful

Balloons are released with messages of Peace

The Mayor leads us to the local school

An elite team forges on through the forest on a mountain trail

A group of children from Cuasso al Monte greet us along the road and run with us

The Mayor holds the torch

In Ponte Tresa, we are met by both the Italian Mayor and the Swiss Mayor

Their towns are connected by a bridge over the river

Luigi Nonella and Tadesse Abraham escort the runners towards the bridge which is also the border

The bridge between the two countries was inaugurated as a Peace Bridge in 1992 - part of the Sri Chinmoy Peace Blossom programme

On the Swiss side we have a ceremony

This priest from Argentina offers an inspirational message

Mountain Silence perform lakeside sounds

The torch is held by a representative from the Bruno Groning group. Bruno Groning (1906-1959) was a German mystic who continues to inspire many people

A steep trail takes us up towards the town of Sessa

Children await us

The children lead the way to the centre of the town

More balloons are released

A serious pack of runners speeds up the pace under the blazing sun

We arrive at Lugano where the town is preparing for the Stralugano race the following day

Luigi Nonella, Swiss national coach, receives the Torch Bearer Award.

Tadesse Abraham also receives a Torch Bearer Award. Tadesse is an exceptional athlete and current European half marathon champion

The Mayor gives the Peace Run a very warm welcome

The runners are joined by Mountain Silence and the childrens choir for an arrangement of Peace songs by Sri Chinmoy

Children from the choir lead us to the start line for the children's race

Walking up to the start

And they are off!