Portugal 21 February: Lisbon

Lisbon hosts the opening of the Peace Run 2014

The official opening day of Peace Run Europe 2014 began with beautiful weather in Lisbon, Portugal...

Breakfast with the officers of Pupilos Do Exercito military school which kindly hosted our running team last night.

Children from ten different schools ranging from primary to high school level assembled at the Estadio Universitario De Lisboa (a stadium frequented by many Olympic athletes) for our opening event in Lisbon.

Ricardo Guedes, an international model based in Portugal, is a proud supporter of the Peace Run.

The Coro Dos Pupilos Do Exercito military school band provided the perfect soundtrack

Joined by schoolchildren carrying a range of European flags, the Peace Run team waits for the signal to run into the stadium.

Francisco Mendes and Dulce Manso, our MCs, warmed up the crowd.

Here they come!

Vereador Do Desporto De Lisboa Dr. Jorge Maximo, the Deputy Mayor, received the Peace Torch on behalf of Lisbon and welcomed the runners to the city.

Dr. Duarte Lopes received the torch on behalf of the University of Lisbon and the Stadium.

Jorge Pina, a well-known member of our Peace Run team, makes a wish for peace. He is a former boxing champion and currently a top marathon runner.

Jorge passes the torch to another very good friend of the Peace Run, Olympic judo champion Nuno Delgado.

The Peace Run is mostly about the kids!

Aurora Cunha, a former Olympic runner, joined the Peace Run for the second time.

Filipa Elvas is an ultra-runner who recently ran the entire length of the Great Wall of China. This is the first time she held the Peace Torch.

Alvaro Silva is a triathlete and ultra-runner

Angelo Felgueiras has climbed the 8 highest peaks in the world and journeyed to the North Pole.

Carlos Ferreira (centre) holds numerous medals for his running.

Sonia Brazao, a Portuguese celebrity

Riccardo Guedes (right), is a household name in Portugal

Major Jose Moutinho, a famous Portuguese parachutist.

A line-up of national heros face the camera....

A representative from the Red Cross

Anita from East Timor, a very good friend of the Peace Run.

Captain Pedro Castanheira holds the torch while the military pupils perform their official call.

"We are runners, not singers" Dipavajan (third from left) warned the crowd, before leading the team in a hearty rendition of the Peace Run anthem.

The kids outshone us with a performance of their own...

....and they got an opportunity to pass the Peace Torch.

One of the schools presented their wishes for peace in a beautiful visual display.

Another school followed with a charming instrumental arrangement of the immortal running song, "Chariots of Fire".

These students moved us with their heartfelt peace poetry

The Peace Torch has a way of making people smile...

....and feel a sense of wonder...

...and be inspired.

Children hold up hand-made flags with the words "Joy" and "Feeling" in Portuguese.

The children couldn't get enough of Riccardo....

"Tolerance" was the word of the day.

A final song to take with us on our journey...

When the children hold many different world flags, it helps create a feeling of oneness.

Antonio (left) and Anita (right) provided essential assistance to our activities in East Timor. They are pictured here with Florbela (centre), national coordinator of the Peace Run in Portugal.

Peace doves fly overhead, signalling the start of our seven month running odyssey across 48 European states.

All the team members, children, teachers and VIPs ran once around the track before the Peace Torch left the stadium.

The first few steps of our 24,000 kilometre adventure....

...to spread the message of peace, harmony and global friendship.

Thank you to everybody who participated in the opening ceremony at Estadio De Honra!

Out on the streets of Lisbon with Jorge and Riccardo, who joined our team for its visit to the very first primary school...

...which was founded in 1875.

The school had made its own Peace Run shirts for the kids to wear!

Riccardo and Jorge had a great time.

We can find peace deep within the heart.

The kids hold their 'torches' up high.

In the background, you can see that the parents were really getting into it!

Jorge's autograph was in high demand.

Our runners brought stamps representing different continents.

Who would have thought a stamp could bring so much joy?

The school's principal (right) added her wishes for peace.

They've got the whole world in their hands...

The Most Interesting Hairstyle of the Day award goes to...

The students ended their day with a circuit of joyful activities including a good old fashioned sack race.

A big thank you to all the staff and students.

We had just one more school to run to in Lisbon...

Although it was late in the afternoon, these kids had plenty of energy...

Thank you so much for your enthusiastic participation!

Our runners got a chance to rest their legs during a boat ride across the River Tejo.

We felt plenty of gratitude to everybody who participated today in Lisbon, and glad that we chose friendly Portugal as the place to begin our journey.