United States 13 August: Millville, RI - New Haven, CT.

Connecticut Friends for Peace

We started the day by running into Connecticut from Rhode Island. Arpan is the first runner today to enter into his own home state.

This causeway over Beach Pond into Connecticut was the first of hundreds of Peace Blossoms dedicated to Sri Chinmoy's decades of tireless work for peace in the world.

Crossing into Connecticut, the last state on the North American Peace Run before re-entering New York after four months.

Sadhiman from Ukraine enjoys the peaceful and scenic, lush atmosphere of Eastern Connecticut.

Two Ukrainians passing the Peace Torch in Connecticut.

This Portugese gentleman, Ienrique, has lived here for over 35 years. He allowed us to use his driveway while we waited for the next runner. He also happened to be wearing a UConn shirt, the alma mater of Arpan, who attended the University of Connecticut many decades ago.

As we approached the city of Norwich we met up with our good friends there, Tim and Terrie Smith and their dog Angel, Bill Champagne, and Paul Andruskiewicz who all live in the area.

Tim's wife Terrie and their beautiful Pomeranian, Angel, have also greeted us as we run in the Norwich area for many years.

Tim Smith, age 70, is still running strong. He has joined us every year on our Peace Runs through Norwich since 1999.

Our first stop of the day was in Norwich, at the Montessori Discovery School.

Introducing ourselves to the children by having them guess where we are from individually.

With a huge colorful map of the world the children had no problem guessing where we all came from.

Even our photographer, Yatkara, from Ukraine could not stump the children who guessed every country or state we all were from.

As a result of guessing all of our countries correctly, we sang a few songs for them. Here we are teaching the children the words and actions to the World Harmony Run song by the Founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy.

Banshidhar teaches us the Hawaiin dance, the Hula which mimics the coconut palm trees blowing in the wind with the ocean waves.

The children's curiosity and smiles reflected their interest in peace and our message of spreading and sharing peace.

Smiling faces as the children greet our runners.

They had no problem feeling peace in their own hearts.

Patrice Champagne has been the Head of this Montessori School for over 3 decades.

Offering a Jharna Kala painting on the theme of the world family, by Sri Chinmoy, the Founder of the Peace RUn.

Patrice Champagne accepts our Certificate of Appreciation for the Discovery School on behalf of all the children and staff who make this truly a wonderful educational experience for the children.

The children get to pass the Torch and make wishes for peace before the rain cae and sent us all indoors.

Our local runner friends, Paul and Tim, from the Mohegan Striders running club ran with us here in Norwich. They share the Peace Torch along with Terrie and her dog Angel. We are so grateful for their support and participation in the Peace Run here in Connecticut.

A wonderful group of children and adults in the summer program at the Discovery School.

Once indoors the children demonstrate their first lessons in fencing.

Miss Leal, their teacher and fencing instructor (holding the Peace Torch, has been practicing this sport and martial art for many years.

Two new recruits put down the Torch and pick up their Peace swords.

Actually they are too peaceful to use the swords except maybe in a humorous skit.

The women's team leaves the school as they brave the rain once again after three days in a row running in the rainiest part of the day.

Sweta from Nepal enjoys the rain and the historic landmarks along the way.

This women's team had to cross the Connecticut River on a Ferry boat across with their vehicle as well.

The Captain of the Ferry boat has his first Peace Run passengers and was delighted to share the Peace Torch.

At the end of the day's running we took the Peace Torch to the Branford Planet Fitness Gym and Mike Katz, owner of the fitness club, happily receives the Torch in the rain.

Mike, a former professional foot ball player and world class bodybuilder, offers his uplifting words of wisdom as he welcomes our team and various guests to his gym.

Everyone enjoyed meeting with 'Big Mike' as he is affectionately called by friends and aquaintances. His many years of bodybuilding have earned him that title, but his big heart in working for children around the world have also added to his giant stature in the world of peace and love.

Mike's humorous nature also brings joy and smiles to all who get to meet with him.

Our team offered him our Peace Run song and a Mike Katz song composed by Sri Chinmoy, Founder of the Peace Run. Sri Chinmoy honored Mike many times in their years as good friends. Both men have worked tirelessly for upliftment of the world in their own uniquely powerful ways.

Jerry Mastrangelo and Mike Katz, co-owners of Planet Fitness, receive our Certificate of Appreciation for their many years of offering these very clean and friendly facilities to the community.

Mike and Arpan both hail from the nearby town of Hamden where Mike taught in the public schools for 35 years and Arpan went to school for 14 years.

Jerry and Mike share a colorful abstract painting on the theme of World Harmony by the Founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy.

Mike receives a book by Sri Chrinmoy called 'Inner Peace and World Peace.' The Peace Run itself is based on this concept that world peace starts with the inner peace in each individual and can spread one person at a time.

Arpans cousin, Steve DeAngelo, and his family live in North Branford just a few miles from Planet Fitness. It is so inspiring when close family comes out to share in these special occasions to share the goodwill and peace that prevail help families to stay together as they maintain peace and happiness among themselves. Steve's grandson Antonio holds the Peace Torch while his mom Jessica and his grandmother Elaine look on.

Surashri(Bill) Paradis and some of his close family, who also grew up near hear, came to join in the festivities and share the Peace Torch.

Mike had fun meeting all of the runners and sharing stories about their different countries.

Jennifer from the local television station WTNH came to coverr the story and interview Mike Katz.

Planet Fitness spreads peace on the planet Earth as many peace lovers come together here today.

After the ceremony we were invited by Mike to eat as his nearby Pizzaria Restaurant called Marco.

The pizza hear has been voted the best in Branford and among the best in Connecticut. We certainly enjoyed it and we are very grateful for the food and the wonderful service here.

At the end of the day the men's team was able to enjoy the comfort of the Hampton Inn in Milford, Connecticut.

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