On a beautiful (and warm) Saturday morning we began our first Peace Run for the US in beautiful downtown Sanford, FL on the shores of Lake Monroe at Veterans Memorial Park.
Our enthusiastic friends from the Victory Running Club invited us to join them in a two mile run. Before we began Oscar led us through a comprehensive warm up routine.
Fritz Voltaire, founder and driving force behind the Victory Running Club was pivotal in putting this whole event together. Fritz is a huge inspiration to all of us and his enthusiasm is contagious and makes the world a better place.
Sanford Mayor, Art Woodruff, was delighted to lead us off.
Mayor Woodruff initially said he was only going to walk a short distance but inspiration struck and he ended up running with us quite a long way.
All the Victory Track Club had a chance to touch the torch.
Great quote on the back of the Victory Track Club t-shirts, "Pain is temporary, Victory is permanent."
Lake Monroe provided a cooling backdrop to our run.
Beautiful Spanish Moss hangs from the trees as the runners pass by.
A Victory Running Club family carries the torch.
Patrick Welter of Spectrum Sports 360 stayed with us for the duration of today's Peace Run and single-handedly covered the event with a multi-camera shoot.
Terri Miskiv, Victory Running Club parent, served as MC for today's ceremony
Parents, teachers, community leaders and elected officials were all on hand to provide a heartfelt welcome.
A number of the Victory Running Club members read out aphorisms by Sri Chinmoy, founder of the Peace Run. Here are a couple of selections.
Only the peace-dreamers,
Can transform the world.
O dreamers of peace, come.
Let us walk together.
O lovers of peace, come,
Let us run together.
O servers of peace, come.
Let us grow together.
- Sri Chinmoy
Santiva Morrison, Orlando Peace Run organizer, taught us the Peace Run motto: "Harmony begins with me!"
We were deeply honored to be able to present four Torch-Bearer Awards today. Katy Roberts introduced our first recipient.
Natalie May is a coach with the Victory running club as well as a trainer whose self-giving attitude has had a significant and valued impact on all those who have the good fortune to meet and know her.
Patrice Anderson introduced our second recipient.
Trinity listens to Patrice speak about how Trinity inspires her everyday.
Trinity's beautiful heartfelt approach to life has a positive effect on everyone.
Our next recipient was introduced by Rachel Hollar. Bryce (centre) has become a real advocate to stop bullying and ensure all his friends and school mates have an opportunity for a happy and peaceful life free from fear and unkindness.
Britt Henderson introduced our final recipient City Commissioner Kerry Wiggins.
Commissioner Wiggens has been instrumental in providing the City of Sanford with tremendous community resources and initiatives to improve the lives of all Sanford citizens. His dedicated life of civic service is deeply appreciated.
After introducing the Torch-Bearer recipients we dedicated two Peace Trees. The first was to honor and celebrate former Mayor Jeff Triplett who sadly had recently passed away. Mayor Triplett was a long-time supporter of the Peace Run and was instrumental in establishing the park and community space where we were having this event.
Jerry Sullivan, City of Sanford Parks and Recreation Manager, gave us a short introduction to the park.
City Commissioner Patrick Austin spoke about Mayor Triplett's dedicated service over eight years to ensure this park came to fruition.
The next tree was dedicated to City Commissioner Kerry Wiggens who took the opportunity to acknowledge the incredible and significant impact his mother, who had recently passed, had on his life of service and that of his entire extended family.
The Wiggens family remember their mother, grandmother and great grandmother.
Today's Torch-Bearer recipients.
Our Torch-Bearer Award presenters.
Jerry Sullivan, City of Sanford Parks and Recreation Manager, received a painting by Peace Run founder Sri Chinmoy entitled "World Harmony." He graciously hung it up in the recreation center immediately.
Fritz Voltaire, Victory Running Club founder, received a painting entitled "Change."
Fritz gave us all beautiful team hats!!! Thank you all for a wonderful, wonderful experience and we look forward to coming back real soon!
Torch carried by Dave Morrison(US),