Members of America’s Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team have been running around the country for months, chasing the dream of peace.
On Monday, the runners shared their mission with YMCA youths at the Clock Tower in Riverfront Park, one more stop in their four-month, 11,000-mile campaign.
The Peace Run, which takes place every odd-numbered year in 70 countries, was started in 1987 by peace advocate and sports philosopher Sri Chinmoy.
Along their route, he envisions the runners spreading the word about the importance of multiculturalism, heritage and cultural sensitivity. In Spokane on Monday, the runners urged youths to be kind to their parents and siblings.
The run is ignited simultaneously in all the countries by a ceremonial lighting of the Peace Torch at the United Nations building in New York.
Once the torch is lit, marathoners who sign on for the duration are joined by participants who run, walk, or wheel anywhere from a few miles to a few yards with the torch.
Youths at the YMCA took turns trotting the torch around the Clocktower.
Marathoner Schyanala Stott’s father is the coordinator of the Peace Run in Scotland. She said kids who see her running down the street frequently join her.
“Two miles later they’re going, ‘How do I get home?”’ Stott said, noting that a dog once followed her for three miles. “We’re doing a little to help a good cause and it’s something we believe in. You couldn’t ask for a better way to see a country.”
Bob Boyd and a handful of runners from Washington Water Power calling themselves the Dog Pack dashed from the WWP building to the Clock Tower to show their support.
“We just want to do what we can to improve the world and this little part might help,” Boyd said.
Anne Leinonen has been running for peace for six years, four on her home soil in Finland, and two in the United States.
“It’s a nice idea to connect running with peace and to bring it to the everyday person,” Leinonen said.
Laura Zeffer joined the run when it paused in Seattle on Wednesday. For the second time, Zeffer plans to run with the team as far as Helena.
“It’s an extremely positive and effective way to show peace in action,” Zeffer said. “I love to run and I love America.”
The peace runners are scheduled to stop in Sandpoint today.
, DataTimes ILLUSTRATION: Color Photo
MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: On the Web For more information on the Peace Run see its web page at http://www.peacerun.com