Iceland 19 September: Reykjavík - Gljúfrasteinn
Beautiful, windy, warm-hearted
Early Wednesday morning the freshly assembled team met in front of the Ecstasy-Heart Garden café for yet another episode of the great Peace Run Saga in Iceland. Ecstasy-Heart Garden or in short in Icelandic Garðurinn is the café of Suballabha, Pujarini and Suren, long time members of the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run in Iceland. Suren had put this years’ Peace Run together. Previous years wth larger Peace Run events they had typically around the country following the coastline but this time Suren wanted to cross some uncharted territory and venture more land inwards. In three days we would run 75km and run from Reykjavík to Flúðir visiting 5 schools and local communities. The team an international mix of expectant faces; Dave from Florida USA, Santiva from Mexico, Nastya from the Ukraine, Unmukta, Vapushtara and Pradeep from Holland were to join the local Peace runners Suren, Danival, Hridananda and Laufey.
Our first goal was the local running club Skokk- og gönguhópur Fram í Grafarholti where Suren and Hridananda are coaching some of the running groups. We were met by Ásdís Guðnadóttir, an enthusiastic supporter of the Run for the last few years. Together we ran the first 2.5km to the first school, Dalskóli, braving an icy gale. Suren explained in Iceland they call this ‘window weather’. In other words, it looked great from inside; blue skies and a lovely sun. Only when outside the strong northern wind brought down the real feel temperature to just above freezing. Anyway, it was great to be starting our Iceland adventure and happily we covered the distance in a large group. We didn’t have to save our energy since today was going to be an easy day with little running.
At the school the children had assembled on the large sports field. It was obvious that we couldn’t keep them standing still in the cold too long so after a brief explanation Suren moved quickly to the passport game where the children had to run around, collecting stamps from each continent in their newly acquired Peace Run Team Passports. Having collected all the stamps, they now are true members of the Peace Run team to spread the message of peace among their classmates and families.
After the game we exited the sports field and ran as a group to the back of the school where we more sheltered from the wind. We sang the children our Peace Run Theme songs and rewarded Ásdís with the Torch Bearer Award for her selfless and tireless work for the running club through the years. The Torch Bearer Award is an award inspired by Sri Chinmoy to recognize people who have inspired others with their service to their community, country or even the world at large.
This gentleman, Ari Oddsson, was working in the area nearby and was overjoyed to see us. He has participated before in the Peace Run and also in the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team races in Iceland. He spontaneously decided to take a quick break from his work to join us for a few steps.
Shortly before noon we were back on our way to easily cover the last 13km to the finishing point of today. We slowly left the city behind venturing into the countryside. For a short while we thought we had lost Vapushtara who was driving the car but later we caught up with him meditating on the wonderful country opening up in front of us; lakes and rugged hills, dappled with the occasional meadow. What a beautiful country!
We braved the strong winds for the last few kilometers, meditated briefly together for Peace and then returned by car to Reykjavík for a warm meal at Garðurinn.