Europe 4 May: Struga, Macedonia - Kulata, Greece

In the footsteps of Alexander

The first week of the Virtual European Peace Run is complete. We ran 511 kilometres from Sarajevo in Bosnia all the way to Struga on the border of Albania and North Macedonia.

A photograph from the Opening Ceremony of the Peace Run in April 1987 in New York. On the stage is Sri Chinmoy (right) the founder of the Peace Run. He said, "While running from one country to another on this unprecedented Peace Run, we shall feel that we are transcending our capacities and, at the same time, we are inviting the whole world to feel the supreme importance of oneness".

This past week we were running 'virtually' through Bosnia. This is a photo from the Peace Run in 2018 in Bosnia.

A photograph of Bosnia this past week.

Amur is the coordinator for the Peace Run in Bosnia (and Albania). He organised a local team of Bosnian and Montenegran runners to join the International team this week to complete the 511 kilometres.

Amur reports:"It is like dream come true even if it is Virtual Peace Run. We had two groups of local runners in Sarajevo and Banjaluka united with the same idea to run for peace. Cities were closed during some periods of the day but we found the way by sharing the distance among us and running whenever possible. We could not run in groups because of social distancing regulations but it did not change our feeling that we did something together for the cause of Peace".

Chanakhya is from Sarajevo and always ready to be called on for Peace Run duties!

Banjaluka

Aleksandra

Slobodanka arranged all the running among the local runners. She allotted distances and collected the photos. Too much running? No way! The local running team was made up from: Aida Djulić, Vedran Rodić, Suada Magrdija, Dragan Pucar, Rajko Jukić, Momčilo Ždrnja, Milenko Bruić, Ljiljana Miljković, Aleksandra Kutić, Slobodanka Egeljić, Bojana Trkulja, Snježana Kočić, Chanakhya Jakovic, Zoran Golijanin, Purnendu Knežević, Amur Bašić

Purnendu is our lead runner in Montenegro. This is what a busy businessman and philanthropist looks like in isolation. Happy!

Chanakhya in Sarajevo

Snjezana

Chanakhya and Zoran visited a few places in Sarajevo reminding us of our previous visits to this city.

The founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy said: "While you are carrying the peace torch, do not feel that it is a material object. You have to feel that inside the peace torch there is a flame, and that flame is your own flame. You yourself have created that flame".

Tirtha is on the International team that ran this week. She is running her kilometres in and around Munich. She reports: "As we don’t have a torch here, I took a tulip, symbolic of a torch, to meditate on Peace on the anniversary on April 27th. Especially on that first day, I really felt a little glowing light inside my heart while I ran. I even thought, that people, whom I met on the way, must have seen it, too. It gave me so much joy".

Tirtha ran to the Peace Mile in Munich.

Tirtha: "At the Peace Mile there are many painted stones, put together as a train. Children (and adults?!) are still painting. The train is growing day by day.... It’s supposed to give pedestrians/walkers of all ages joy, hope and strength at this time".

Tirtha's local castle, Nymphenburger Schloß.

Students running with the Peace Run in Bosnia in 2018.

Zuzka from the Czech Republic (left) is also on the International Team this week.

Zuzka said on one day, after she had completed 10kms: "I felt so much peacein the atmosphere. I stopped. I looked at the sky and I felt so much peace. I never felt it like this before".

Bosnian children meditate on Peace.

Stacey from New Zealand ran her kilometres in and around Canberra, Australia where she lives. She reports: "I got all rugged up and stepped out into my imaginary world of Bosnia. I was told to expect hills and mountains and lakes on my European peace Run this week, so I chose a more hilly course.

Stacey's report continued: "The weather was all over the place this week, wet, windy, sunny and always cold! The sound of rain on the roof and heavy winds, or the feel of your cold nose and hands as you prepare to leave the house makes it not so enticing to step out the door. But it was the memories of all of the Peace Run's over the last few years, the warm hearted people we met, the hope and promise you feel for this world of ours as you carry the Peace Torch, that helped me to take the first step each and every day.

The ladies International Team in Sarajevo 2018, enjoying a much deserved ice cream.

Robert from Hungary is on the international Team. In Hungary there is a special project where many people are running kilometres every week dedicated to the Peace Run.

Momčilo Ždrnja is on the local team

Amur and Paramanyu running together in Bosnia in 2018

Paramanyu lives in Kaliningrad by the Baltic Sea.

Paramanyu reports: "Maybe we cannot do everything now - running together side by side somewhere in the Balkan mountains with a flaming Peace Torch. But the same time, what a great opportunity we have now - to better feel our inner connection, to share our goodwill with our sisters and brothers, to use our imagination and see the flame in our hearts. A flame that gives light and hope to a new world".

Paramanyu and his good friend Dima, running along the shore of the Baltic Sea. Paramanyu sent us this poem by Sri Chinmoy:

The glorious mountains in Montenegro.

A school we visited in Montenegro a few years ago.

Running with Montenegran schoolchildren.

Nidhruvi is on the International Team and has been running her miles around Vienna.

The hills are alive with the sound of .... hope.

Children at a school in Montenegro greet the torch in 2017.

The higher climes in Montenegro.

Rajko is on the local team.

Goncalo is on the International Team and has been running in his homeland, Portugal.

Somebody is running with him!

Slobodanka from Bosnia is jumping for joy.

A view from the coastline in Montenegro.

Devashishu has been running his kilometres along the Thames in Oxford, England.

A few days of running in the rain are to be expected.

After a month of sun in England, the rain clouds assemble to salute the Peace Run.

Ljiljana is somewhere there, beneath the protective gear.

Zuzka and Anna from Moscow running through Albania in 2018.

Albanian hospitality.

Mena lives in a small village outside Nancy in France. There she has been running her kilometres. Mena reports: "A funny story. It was 2 days ago. The weather wasn't good and I was running with my blue Peace Run jacket on". (continued under next picture)

Another runner emerged from a nearby forest, and he got such a fright, because he though I was a police woman (the Gendarmes wear blue). He must have been more than 1 kilometre away from his home, which is not allowed under present regulations in France!"

Students in Albania in 2018

Danica is demonstrating that all bridges can be crossed!

Danica is from Slovakia, and is a proud member of this week's International Team.

Danica says that she met several people, including this cyclist, who were delighted to hear about the Peace Run.

Albania

Paramanyu brings his car on the Albanian Peace Run in 2018.

The Mayor of Elbasan, Albania in 2018.

Angikar from Nis in Serbia, prepares for his run with a few minutes of silence.

Asprihanal from Finland has also been on the International Team this week.

Richika from Bulgaria running for Peace.

In Poland, there was a special celebration of the 33rd Anniversary of the Peace Run. The small team of runners ran 33 miles in relay on The Warsaw Sri Chinmoy Peace Mile in Szczesliwicki Park. Sri Chinmoy inaugurated the Peace Mile himself in 1993.

The runners from left to right: Grzegorz Węgrzyk, Devarupi Buczkowska, Krzysztof Krawczak and Jan Palasz.

Social distancing was upheld at all times.

These leaves are part of a project to celebrate the Peace Run anniversary - 33 leaves inscribed with messages of Peace (33 different languages).

This Peace painting is from Paula (age 14) in Poland.

Shamita is an ultra distance runner living in Austria. This past week she has run 288 kilometres dedicated to Peace.

Kokila in Bristol, England is also dedicating her running to Peace. In France, runners ran 48.5 kms dedicated to the Peace Run.

In Heidelberg, Vasanti visited the Oneness-Peace-Tree on her 11 k anniversary run. The Gingko tree was planted with the current Mayor back in 2001. His new message thanking and encouraging the Peace Runners can be found here .

Suparna ran 60 kms for Peace this week in and around Vienna, Austria. Bhagavantee ran 8 kms for Peace this week.

Peace runners in Zurich, Switzerland.

Oneness with the Peace Run!

Wow! So many kilometres for Peace. Let's take a moment to rest ......

Around the world, people are praying for Peace at this very special time. Here are some Buddhist monks in Hungary in 2018.

In hospitals, medical staff are dedicating incredible man hours to save peoples lives.

Our runners are having to learn to take selfies at this time.

This present condition is teaching us to recognise social distancing - but also to recognise our unmistakable oneness as a human family.

This coming week, May 4 - May 10, we will be virtually running through North Macedonia and Greece.

We start in Struga near the beautiful Lake Ohrid. We will run through Skopje, through Thessaloniki and finish on the border with Bulgaria at Kulata.

North Macedonia - here we come!

Mother Teresa is from Macedonia.

Todorka is our Peace Run coordinator in North Macedonia.

We will surely see the great triathlete, Ekalabhya, as we run through Skopje.

Devashishu will lead our new International Team this week.

Kader from Turkey is on the team. Welcome Kader!

Jana is on the team. Jana is from the Czech Republic, and will be running her kilometres in London, UK where she lives.

Jana leading a team of Peace runners through Wales in 2016.

Milan is also from the Czech Republic. He is an accomplished ultra distance runner.

Eniko is from Hungary - a Peace Run enthusiast and worthy Peace Run ambassador.

Eniko and Anita running together in 2018.

Anita is from Portugal. Despite having a very intense job in the medical field, and despite the temperatures in Lisbon (32C today) she will be running every day on the International Peace Run Team.

Mandu is the representative from Austria on the team this week. Mandu is an accomplished musician, but will swap his erhu for a running shoe or two this week.

Sandro is from Italy. He will be running his kilometres in Switzerland where he works.

Satyagraha is one of our top Peace Run photographers. He is from Moldova. Let's see how good his selfies are this week.

Vasuprada is an ultra distance runner from Germany. She now lives and works in Iceland. Which way Vasuprada?

Vasuprada with her friend Roxana.

Ashcharjya is the Peace Run coordinator in France. He will be running his kilometres in Paris - following very strict regulations there.

Pranjal is the representative from Slovakia this week. He is a champion ultra distance runner. This photo shows him completing the 3100 mile race in New York. He will be running his kilometres in and around Bratislava.

Samalya from Berlin is our fastest runner on the team. This is a picture of him finishing the Rotterdam Marathon.

Samalya with his good friend Abhinabha from The Netherlands (right).

On the weekend, May 9 and 10, we will be running through Greece. Mrittunjoy, holding the torch, is our Greek coordinator.

Running past the Acropolis several years ago.

Dipavajan Renner handing the torch to a city representative in Sparta, Greece, several years ago.

We are looking forward to Greek food and Greek culture, virtually.

A Greek feast in 2018 after a day of Peace running. Irini (in the green sweater) organises all our events in Greece.

The North Macedonian flag.

The sacred Lake Ohrid

May the flame of Peace burn all day and all night in each and every heart.

We hope to emerge from this present situation with more wisdom, with more compassion and with a greater aspiration for Peace in our world. There are many miles still ahead!