After swimming to Africa (Gibraltar Straits) in Oct. 2012 and some more Peace Run activites this summer in Europe (UK and Germany), it felt like the time for me to finally join Peace Run Africa, which will be converging from the north, south and central Africa in Arusha on Nov. 6th. Starting Nov. 8th, a mixed very international team will then carry the torch up Mount Kilimanjaro, hopefully all the way up to Uhuru Peak – to the highest point in Africa (5895 m)! I am sooo excited!!! Summit day will be the 12th. Support prayers welcome!
I am aware of the danger of altitude sickness, especially with a short 6 day tour (Marangu route), and we will respect any serious signs of that. However, my father did it (still a smoker at that time) when he was 3 years older than I am now, also Marangu route – so there is hope! Last night watched the DVD “Kilimanjaro – Summit of Freedom” (German, “Gipfel der Freiheit”) – very inspiring and great for some last inner and outer preparation!
I am bringing my Peace Torch from Heidelberg – so the school kids will be even more excited next time, when Africa has been added!
Another highlight or our trip was going to be our visit to Tegla Loroupe and her Peace Foundation and her to her Peace School in Kapenguria, Kenia, which we have been supporting for many years – but for several reasons, the Kenia part was cancelled for now, we will go there later. Peace Run South Africa and Ethiopia are on their way.
Here some impressions from the Peace Run/Harmony Run of the past:
More on: www.peacerun.org/fa
→ Interesting facts on Mt. Kilimanjaro
It was a nice adventure and a great honour to be invited to the Global Open Water Swimming Conference Sept. 21st/22nd 2012 on the Queen Mary, in Long Beach, California, to accept the IMSHOF award for Sri Chinmoy, who was being honoured posthumously for his decades of inspiration and mentorship in the Open Water and Channel swimming world. I felt like a tiny fish among so many great fish (Diana Nyad, OW legend Greta Anderson, “Big River Man” Martin Strel (who was lifted by Sri Chinmoy in 2004), Penny Lee Dean, Marcos Diaz (U.N. Goodwill and Ocean Ambassador), Marcy MacDonald, Elisabeth Fry, Dr. Jane Katz (who has trained some of our team`s Channel swimmers in N.Y.), Michael Read (King of the Channel 1997-2005), Ned Denison, Peace Swimmer Nejib Belhedi and many others) – and it was extremely inspiring to meet with and listen to so many open water greats – and to speak to them about Sri Chinmoy and the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team – and introduce the new book “Sport and Meditation”.
Many guests and speakers enjoyed holding the World Harmony Torch and making a wish for peace, and the Torch was finally invited also into the group photo with all the IMSHOF honourees.
Steven Munatones, main organiser of the Conference (with co-organiser Lexie Kelly on the left and Shelley Taylor-Smith on the right), was awarded the Torch Bearer Award of the World Harmony Run for his tireless efforts in promoting the spirit of self-transcendence and international friendship, inspiring and joining so many people across the world in their various quests in the open water world.
The 3rd day of the conference was marked by the “Swim Across America” in the Marine Stadium of Long Beach with races of various distances – and around 350 participants. Training for Gibraltar, I chose the 10 k olympic distance and was quite happy to finish in 3 h 25 – more than a minute before Mike Read, King of the English Channel from 1997-2005 with 33 crossings. Abhejali did 1.5 k in 27 min 26.
We were three from our Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team: myself (EC 1985 and 2010, Zurich lakes etc.), Abhejali Bernadova from Czech Republic (English Channel 2011, Manhattan Island Marathon Swim 2012, Zurich lake etc.), Bigalita Egger, L.A. (ultrarunner, several 10 day races in New York at age 70+) and Ahelee (EC solo 2001), a good friend, and we had a great time during, before and after the conference! Thank you everyone for your support – and the IMSHOF for their amazing efforts!
Just back from a few very inspiring days on the World Harmony Run Europe. I had the honour of organizing the part from Trier to Aachen, and we had beautiful meetings all along the way, including lots of children on Friday, which is always the best part: receptions by the cities (or towns) of Trier, Bitburg, Prüm, Monschau, and Roetgen, schools in Trier and Bitburg on Friday, and in Aachen on Saturday an “Interfaith/Intercultural Run” visiting the Synagogue and the Bilal Mosque, the oldest and most international one in Germany, where the Run even received a special birthday cake and banner! Sunday morning provost Msgr. Poqué welcomed us at the famous Cathedral (UNESCO World Heritage). Explaining to us about the distinguished annual Charlemagne Prize of Aachen (“Karlspreis”), he said he feels that the World Harmony Run belongs into the same category of efforts towards peace, harmony and unity in Europe, which the prize aims to honour.
Also, it felt quite special to be back at the Europe Square with the torch, where I had finished my Channel Triathlon Dover-Aachen in 2010.
Click here for reports and photos (part1), and part 2.
Quite a few newspapers carried stories in print and online.
Thank you everyone who contributed, supported and participated in this amazing project for the last 25 years!
On April 27, 1987, the first torches of the global relay called World Harmony Run now were lit in New York by UN ambassadors and Sri Chinmoy, the founder, at the U.N. Plaza. This retrospective video shows glimpses of those 25 years. I have been involved in this great project since its beginnings, and will be on the road again soon, meeting school children, city representatives, visiting mosques, synagogues and churches.
For the decade 2012 to 2022, Dr. Davidson Hepburn, President of the UNESCO General Conference, says about the World Harmony Run:
I believe that all global citizens are eagerly looking toward the next decade – 2022 and beyond – as a time of great progress and striking change.
It is imperative that we work together to build a true Oneness-World.
Among recent initiatives to strive toward this goal, the World Harmony Run is one of the most remarkable and far-reaching.
This is a link to the website with current events and to Dr. David Hepburn’s speech.
2012 started with a 3 week vacation in Nha Trang, Viet Nam – and some great opportunities for the first ocean swim training since my Channel-Triathlon in 2010.
We also used the time in Nha Trang for some World Harmony Run Activities and a video interview by Utpal and Kedar about my Channel experiences.
Back in Brussels on May 31st ond June 1st for a few special meetings at the European Parliament, the European Council and a very special ceremony with Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the Council of Europe and chairman of the European Union and a group of young school children to celebrate the 2oth Anniversary of the Planting of the Peace Tree at the Park Leopold near the Parliament (= the 20th Anniversary of the WHR visiting the European Institutions).
Video from the President`s Office: At the 24th Anniversary of World Harmony Run.
More Fotos: Replacing the Plaque at the Peace Tree with EU President Herman van Rompuy
More inspiring international events of the World Harmony Run 2011:
Just briefly – full story to come:
After my successful second Channel swim (non-wetsuit!) on Sept 3rd (16 h 50) – 25 years after my first one –
and some rest we made it from Calais via Brussels to Aachen (arrived Monday, 6th, afternoon) – about 300 km or more biking (some detours) and 2 marathons and are safe and happy back home in Heidelberg. It was easier than expected (or feared) but took a bit longer for several reasons. A great event, though, and a great training experience for the final big one before my 60th birthday, hopefully!
Here some impressions:
with Mareike at Oye-Plage past Calais on the way to Gravelines
Hondschoote near the Belgian border
at the Peace Tree in the Leopolds Park at the European Parliament in Brussels
Start of the 85 run behind Tienen, 60 km behind Brussels, after about 3 hours of rest
First marathon done! I cannot believe how easy it feels!
Run-walking into Vaals
End of Vaals Netherlands - beginning of Germany!
I had not intended to carry the World Harmony Run torch all the way through the city to the Europe Square (Europaplatz), but my friends made me
"Dead" between the "WELCOME" flowers at Europaplatz
The last leg: driving back to Heidelberg
Collateral damage (without the blisters the whole thing would have felt unreal - too easy, no other pain at all!)
Many thanks are also going to my friends at the WAVES Restaurant in Heidelberg for their superb vegetarian food, and to Europcar Heidelberg, Mr. Plitzko, wo was extremely helpful again in providing us with a support van.
‘The fullness of life lies in dreaming and manifesting the impossible dreams.” – Sri Chinmoy
Fotos of the swim
Link to all reports of September 2010
Some weekends in June left little room for swimming – such as the weekend of June 13th/14th (where Germany won 4:0 against Australia!), where I was in charge of the World Harmony Run route between Bingen and Trier.
One of my favourite projects, to which I am also dedicating my swimming and triathlon, this year in support of UNESCO and the International Year of the Rapprochement of Cultures.
Sister Christophora, running from the monastery of St. Hildegard of Bingen to the Germania
We had a very inspiring meeting with the nuns of the famous monastery of St. Hildegard of Bingen, where the artist nun ran with our team and carried the torch to the Germania monument (Niederwalddenkmal), while I was walking the distance with a 86 year old nun, who was told by a doctor 6 years ago that she will have to be in a wheelchair soon. So now she has two new and very effective doctors, she says: her left leg and her right leg. Here she is – beaming (her name, sister Candida, means the one radiant with light):
Sister Candida, monastery of St. Hildegard of Bingen, with the UNESCO-emblem in the back
In the evening we stayed in sponsored hotel rooms overlooking Bad Kreuznach and watched an amazing soccer play. Next day we met over 700 school kids in 4 schools along the route to Trier (city of lots of UNESCO sites) and Luxemburg.
Satellite tracker of our pilot boat Anastasia, 4 person relay Sept. 30th
International 4 person relay
We did it! Finishing time 13 hours 21 min. (1 min. slower than our 6-person relay in 1989) on a sandy beach in silver moonlight just off Wissant. A great team effort with lots of grace and a bit of drama: during her second hour Zuzka looked absolutely miserable like she was going to die, eyes pleading ‘take me out here’, trying to swim hard and not able to breathe properly any more. ‘Marylin Bell’ was one of the mantras that would help her do lots better the third time.
I was so happy to be the last swimmer and touch French ground again (after last years experience) and the last couple of hours took me back again to my solo in 1985 where I landed almost at the exact same place in similar conditions – calm, peaceful night, not cold at all, starry sky, but this time with a flood of silver light from an almost full moon.
Viktoria, who has swum in Iceland in sub 10°C waters, came with Dave on the dinghy and brought the World Harmony Run torch to the beach. Last year I only held it at my start in Dover ! We quickly took some photos with the two of us holding the flaming torch, grabbed some pepples or rather sea shells and hurried back. On the way back to the pilot boat, the dinghy almost went under with our weight and I had to swim back to the boat, this time against the waves. It seemed as if someone up there wanted to tell me the relay was definitely not the end of the story …
Abhejali swimming into the light
On French sands with the World Harmony Run torch (Viktoria took it on the dinghy and brought it to the shore)
Back in Dover Marina - Eddie, our pilot, his crew, observer Irene and the relay team
The flags are flying from the Ridge: Czech Republic (Zuzka and Abhejali), Germany (Vasanti) and Iceland (Viktoria)
More details and photos to follow on this webalbum.
For fotos of the World Harmony Run visiting schools in Dover in June this year click here.