United States 13 May: Tennessee - Oklahoma

Southern Hospitality and Northern Geniality

So far our wonderful team of runners have worked together for almost one month to cover the distance between New York and Oklahoma.

Since we cannot be on the road together this year, we are all running from our respective homes. The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home "Run at Home" Peace Run team consists of runners from Canada, The United States of America, Mexico, Brazil, Australia, Ukraine, Austria, Germany, Japan, Hungary, Colombia, New Zealand, Bali, Russia, Iran, Italy, Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Macedonia, The Netherlands, Slovakia, Bangladesh and Nepal.

Although our route took us through the southern states, many of the Canadian runners did not experience the balmy temperatures of the south. Snow, sleet, hail, harsh winds and frost, all in the middle of May!

Despite the inclement weather, signs of spring were to be found everywhere. Thriving tulips...

... robins and other songbirds....

...and baby bunnies!

Just as the spring flowers persisted against inhospitable conditions, so did our Peace Run.

We were not able to carry out our Peace Run as planned or expected this year. Yet, runners from all around the world still stepped up to cover the entire distance of our 11, 079 mile or 17, 829 kilometer route.

During this time, we have enjoyed our individual runs, dedicated to peace, and we have felt unexpectedly connected. The team members have had some beautiful and unique experiences, a few of which are captured in this report.

Karnayati from Toronto, Ontario has been averaging over 50 miles or 80 kilometers per week, and she is over 70 years old (!) she reports:

"Temperature hovering just above freezing on this lovely Peace Run “in Georgia” but actually in Toronto along the shore of Lake Ontario. Loved the sign but still too cold for geese! No Peace Torch but smiled at all the (very few) people I passed by! Many more runners than usual in Toronto but not in the early morning!"

Pushparani from Ottawa, Ontario, reports:

"Met a friend on my peace run today!"

"Sweet new flowers I saw on the run...and then it snowed!"

"Baby robins in a nest I run by every day."

"On the run, you often see signs on people's windows encouraging others! Very much in the spirit of the Peace Run."

"I ran by our Peace Run tree which was planted downtown in 1987, with a plaque dedicated to The World Peace Run"

"While running by the river, I saw these two geese. If you look closely, you will see their 5 babies beside them."

Pushparani's relatives Kieryn (13), Colten (10) and Scarlet (6) from Vancouver, British Columbia, created some artwork for peace.

Pavaka in Montreal, Quebec, did a run for peace on his birthday.

Happy birthday, Pavaka!

Lydie in Winnipeg, Manitoba, reports:

"Running is one of my hobbies. When Purnakama told me about the Peace Run that will happen this year, I was very sad because I was not prepared to participate and I was telling myself that in 2022 I will join the race for sure. When I learned that the Peace Run was canceled this year but people have the opportunity to run virtually I was so excited that I could add all of my miles to the Peace Run and be part of the team. Even though it is virtual, I know that I'm running for the right purpose and that means a lot to me."

Purnakama from Winnipeg, Manitoba, runs along the Assiniboine river. She reports:

"I teach music in an elementary school, and as we are still in the unique situation of being away from school due to the virus, I decided to do something for our grade 6 students who will be leaving us at the end of this school year.

It's sad that we will not have our usual Farewell festivities for them. Some of the students I've taught since they were 4 years old and the idea of not having a special celebration for them was heartbreaking. So I decided that as a farewell gift I would paint a Jharna-Kala style peace painting for each student and attach a personal note for each student on the back of the painting.

Nothing could ever replace having a big celebration with family and friends, but I'm hoping that these paintings will bring them some joy, and be a reminder of the wonderful years that they spent at our school."

Yatkara in Vancouver, British Columbia, runs for peace and harmony.

Laurel in Ottawa, Ontario, runs along the Rideau Canal.

Drew is a fitness instructor in Olds, Alberta, she has been putting in some weekly kilometers with her daughters!

Jaxon (9) shows us a peace sign on her skateboard.

Sadie (6) holds up a peace sign before getting on her bike.

They created this wonderful "Teach Peace" sidewalk chalk art!

Brahmata from Ottawa, Ontario, reports:

"Some people said it was a good idea to wear a mask, but I chose to run without it since I kept getting strange looks...

I made some shortbread peace cookies and shared them with my friends in a belated celebration of the 33rd Anniversary of the Peace Run."

Kala from Kingston, Ontario, shared these photos from the great Canadian wilderness.

Rajeshwari in Toronto, Ontario, shared the following reflections:

"I always thought the Peace Run was A Dream for the World.

Having run and represented it in the past, I saw the delight and joy on school kids’ faces. I felt they would always remember it; and that something in the future would trigger their memory of the experience and help them make the world a better place."

From St. Johns, Newfoundland, Brahmacharini joined our team this week, welcome!

This is Jamini from Seattle, Washington, after finishing her peace walk on her birthday. Happy birthday, Jamini!

Tilvila from Tampa, Florida, where we had wonderful Peace Run events in March, shared her feelings about the run:

"I ADORE the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run. It is so joyfully
transformative ... it is SACRED! I hope that everyone on the planet can experience the indescribable joy, peace, love and oneness that fills the heart through any form of participation.

These profound feelings palpably last, so they continue to spread through the lives of all participants and onlookers, long after each Peace Run program or activity ends.

Inexpressible gratitude and thunderous applause to Sri Chinmoy, the Run’s visionary founder, who expressed the simple, yet powerful message for humanity, “Love transforms the world.”

We also heard from our friends overseas!

Katya from Moscow, Russia, shares:

"When I'm running, I feel that my mind becomes calm, my heart happy, and my body dynamic. Then, in my daily life, I can share the happiness of my heart with my family, friends, colleagues, and the rest of the world. That's why I love the Peace Run so much".

From Heidelberg, Germany, Vasanti describes her run to us:

"Totally different, like a monk's run - solo and solitary, surrounded by nature's power and beauty - I guess that is what you experience a lot in the US anyway, normally.... Nice feeling of connectedness with all the positive forces - and the Peace Runners around the world!"

Sweta, from Nepal, shared her experience of an amazing chance encounter:

"This morning I was running and I happened to meet Baikuntha Manandhar, a veteran athlete. We'd presented him with the Torch-Bearer Award just this February at the 2020 Pokhara Marathon event. He said he wore the Peace Run t-shirt we gifted him at the Lumbini Marathon, right after the Peace Run. What a wonderful morning. It made my day!"

This photo is from February 15th, 2020, in Nepal where Baikuntha Manandhar (the South East Asian record holder for the marathon) met with the Peace Run team.

In Bali, Indonesia, Kanyaka ran the most out of everyone on our team this week! She covered 54 miles or 86 kilometers! Way to go, Kanyaka!

She says:

"To join the run there together in spirit with my brothers and sisters from all around the world is really something. Now, I could feel no boundries and really Peace Run is for everybody."

If you look closely, you can see that she is wearing a custom made Peace Run mask!

"I wear my Peace Run T-shirt for the whole day working at my workplace! I feel so proud of the Peace Run. And proud to wear my Peace Run mask as well everyday, everywhere."

Every week our team is growing and we are so thrilled to be able to participate in this beautiful project together with our common goals and dreams.

Who will join us next week? Maybe you?