By Adam MacDonald
Last Saturday, Fernie mayor Mary Giuliano greeted the World Harmony Run’s Canadian team at City Hall, welcoming them to the Elk Valley and embracing their message of peace and unity.
The run started on April 20 in Tofino, and the Western leg of the run will have covered over 1,400 kilometres when it reaches its end in Calgary on May 8.
From there, the group of volunteers, comprised of runners from BC, Ontario, NWT, Slovakia, Ukraine, and Switzerland, will disband, some continuing on to the Eastern leg of the run, and some returning home to their jobs and families.
This year the run celebrates its 25th anniversary, with the flame passing through over 100 nations and thousands of hands. The torch carried by the runners has been to all six continents and even to space—truly symbolizing the goodwill and unity that the multinational run promotes.
Although the journey has been difficult, with the volunteers running through all types of weather and terrain, the participants say that the feeling of ‘oneness’ created by the people they meet on the journey keeps them going. Varunavi, a runner from Switzerland, says: “running through the weather, you feel a part of nature and the country you are running through.”
After sharing the run’s official song in the City Council chambers, the group, joined by local runners, was led out of town by the Fernie Fire Department’s Studebaker Commander truck toward their next destination of Pincher Creek. With their abundance of smiles and good humour, the team hopes to continue spreading its message that if everyone stops to think about harmony for even 30 seconds, the world will become a better place.