Europe 15 June: Klaipeda - Narva
The Baltic Region
The International Peace Run team running virtually through the Baltic region offer their personal messages of Peace. Look out for indomitable Paralympic runner, Jorge Pina from Portugal. Jorge was supposed to be competing at the Paralympics this year in Japan. We wish him all the best with his training and his incredible work inspiring children to take up athletics.
Here is our route, starting in Lithuania and running up through Latvia and Estonia to the city of Narva on the border with Russia.
We recently received a very inspiring message from Her Excellency Biljana Gutic-Bjelica, offering her support and oneness with the virtual Peace Run through Europe. Her Excellency Biljana Gutic-Bjelica is from Bosnia and currently represents her country in Hungary. She writes:
I send you my best greetings from my diplomatic destination, beautiful Budapest in Hungary, along with congratulation on the 33rd Global Torch Relay.
Peace, hand in hand with health, remains the most desired and profound wish of any human being, regardless of our skin-colour, religion or origin.
You made the right decision by not cancelling the Peace Run 2020.
I can only join my voice with others' who thanked you for keeping this wonderful initiative alive, no matter how new circumstances are difficult.
I wish you all peace.
I wish you all health.
In 2013, Biljana Gutic-Bjelica was the Ambassador to Canada, and she hosted a special Peace Run event at Ottawa's City Hall. In this picture she is holding the torch with Peace Runners and the Mayor of Ottawa, Jim Watson. On that occasion Biljana welcomed everyone and offered these words:
"The idea behind tonights event, which is connecting us in our attempts to make this world a better place, is global peace promotion. And when people from Bosnia and Herzegovina, which unfortunately faced war during the 1990's, tell you how ultimately important peace is, believe me we really do know what we are talking about.
Peace is the sine qua non of human existence. Peace is the generator of any kind of development and progress, as well the absence of it is the very source of chaotic tragedy and loss of the most precious - human lives. Peace of mind of an individual, peace in community, peace in nation, global peace--it is the chain that allows us to grow and love, give and receive, become better human beings through knowledge and understanding, become who we really are."
Purnendu was our runner from Montenegro on the virtual run through Poland and Kaliningrad. He writes: "We were running virtually today in Poland along the river Warta, to the city of Poznan. What a great adventure it was. As soon as I started running along the river Zeta in Montenegro it became the Warta river in Poland. I passed by a local villager and he returned my greeting in clear Polish! "Cześć", he said. I could not believe what I was hearing. Suddenly I realised that I was in Poland and that right in front of me was the city of Poznan. What a great day and what an amazing event is the Peace Run. My 8km run today went by in no time. When I finished my run, I offered my gratitude to the founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy, for giving me the opportunity to be part of such a great adventure. I then went to visit my mother for lunch. She said, "You are lucky. Today we have pierogis and sour cucumber soup" (Polish traditional dishes!)
Kristina is our runner from Serbia. In 2014 she helped to organise the Grand European Peace Run Finale in Belgrade. She says that this virtual run carried the same spirit but gave her double the amount of joy.
The old city of Zamość in Poland after a thunderstorm. Mahasatya reports that he got soaked and adds, "Such fun".
Roxana is our Romanian runner, living in Iceland. She reports: "This is the Höfði Reykjavik Peace Centre, where Reagan and Gorbachev met in in 1986 and refers to the role Iceland played as a small non-militarised state in the conflict between two superpowers.
May Reykjavik be taken as an example in Poland and Kaliningrad, on their way of becoming active cities of peace, promoting peaceful relations between states and organizations".
Roxana's report continued: "Pray and meditate! Pray for the peace that will inspire and illumine your own life, and meditate for the peace that will spread and radiate to the world around"
(Sri Chinmoy, The Oneness of the Eastern Heart and the Western Mind )
The sculpture is made by Einar Jónsson, who emphasized the need for artists to forge their own path and cultivate their originality and imagination instead of following in the footsteps of others.
It has been such an inspiration being able to run through Poland and Kaliningrad, imagining to send peace and poise to those who need it the most.
I've met a homeless woman bursting into joyful tears, when being answered "Peace Run!" at her interrogative gaze on my headband.
So many beings I've met while running, such as playful dogs, curious rabbits, confident ducks, cheerful birds, relaxed snails and invisible fairies and gnomes. It have felt like the whole world has been taking a step for Peace and for Run, especially now that the quarantine time is coming to an end.
Thank you for such an opportunity to become a better human being and to challenge my mind and body limits, taking part into this Virtual Peace Run!
As the sun sets in one part of the world, it rises in another. May the hope and vision of Peace for our world arise in our hearts each and every day!
This is a photo of Silvia at our Peace Week in Palermo, Sicily last November: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77-wT88aEfE
Gianluca is our Croatian runner. He sent us these photos from his runs in and around Dublin where he lives and works as a Montessori teacher.
The beauty of nature observed by peace runners in Kaliningrad and Scotland.
The beauty of nature around the globe, is a constant reminder that beauty, peace and harmony are all around us.
Rajendra is really grateful to be part of the virtual run. He reports: "physically you are running alone but the feeling is exactly the same as other Peace Runs!"
Varunavi (left) is our runner in Switzerland. Varunavi works at the United Nations in Geneva, and she comes from Slovakia.
Rainy weather in Czech. One day there was a big storm, so Jakub ran several kilometres in his house - round and round the living room.
This is the Jefferson Memorial in Washington DC. Executive Director of the Peace Run, Salil Wilson, and Natabara Rollison visited it this past week. They report that it was very peaceful in the capital. They rode around on bikes through quiet streets (several closed off to traffic). Jefferson offered a very powerful vision of Peace in his words enshrined in the Declaration of Independence: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness".
This stone has a plaque dedicating the nearby Spring to Peace. Around 400 people drink from the Spring every day.
"Peace is the beginning of love.
Peace is the completion of truth.
Peace is the return to the source".
Founder of the Peace Run
Our runner from Brazil, Gesiane, sent us one photo from New York. This is the only competition she had all week!
In Russia, several virtual Peace Runs will take place over the coming few weeks. This is the Moscow welcome!
Visuddhi's virtual Peace Run through Poland and Kaliningrad.