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.
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".
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 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: "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".
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".
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.
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.
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:
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!"
Danica says that she met several people, including this cyclist, who were delighted to hear about the Peace Run.
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.
These leaves are part of a project to celebrate the Peace Run anniversary - 33 leaves inscribed with messages of Peace (33 different languages).
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.
Around the world, people are praying for Peace at this very special time. Here are some Buddhist monks in Hungary in 2018.
This present condition is teaching us to recognise social distancing - but also to recognise our unmistakable oneness as a human family.
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.
Jana is on the team. Jana is from the Czech Republic, and will be running her kilometres in London, UK where she lives.
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.
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?
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.
On the weekend, May 9 and 10, we will be running through Greece. Mrittunjoy, holding the torch, is our Greek coordinator.
A Greek feast in 2018 after a day of Peace running. Irini (in the green sweater) organises all our events in Greece.