The World Harmony Run: Carrying a torch for peace
SPRINGVILLE –– The flame rippled in the wind as the World Harmony Run torch made its way through Springville on Friday, Aug. 3 on its way to Buffalo. A team of runners, 13 in all by the end of the day, carried the torch in this, the 25th anniversary of the run, following its stated goal of increasing peace and harmony worldwide.
Covering an average of 60 – 100 miles each day, World Harmony teams started running through the United States in New York City on April 12 and have been making their way around the United States ever since.
The U.S. tour will conclude on Aug. 15 back in New York City, after stopping in 60 cities across the country. Worldwide, World Harmony teams are running through North and South America, Asia, Africa, Australian, Europe and New Zealand, traveling across 100 countries and covering a distance of 70,000 kilometers, in all.
The global relay was started in 1987 by humanitarian Sri Chinmoy. The relay “seeks to promote international friendship and understanding,” according to the World Harmony website. The organization and does not raise money for or actively support any individual cause, other than world peace and goodwill.
Rupasi Young, a representative of the United States who hails from Seattle, said that the fact that this leg of the relay is taking place during the Olympics is “purely coincidental,” although there are many similarities between the Olympic torch relay and the World Harmony run.
“They both bring people together in unity and the spirit of sportsmanship,” Young explained. “I ran with the Olympic torch in Seattle and it was not accessible. It didn’t feel friendly to me. You couldn’t get near it, and that spirit wasn’t for me.”
“We are all part of this great human family,” Young said. “People are far more alike than they are different ... At the root of it all, we are all the same.”
The team that passed through Springville included Young, Bansidhar and Natabara Rollosson from the United States, Sukhajata Cranfield and Harita Davies from New Zealand, Ratuja Zub and Sujagaran from Russia, Kagni Leinonen from Finland, Katya Percheklii from Ukraine, Salil Wilson from Australia, Laci Szente from Hungary and Prapti Jensen from Canada.
“One of the great parts of being on the team is learning about different cultures,” Young noted. “This is something we all believe in. We might think differently about some things, but when we set that aside, we are all alike.”
The World Harmony Run relayer’s progress can be followed on its website at www.worldharmonyrun.org.