International runners for peace on 10,000-mile journey will visit Port Townsend, Port Angeles starting this morning
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Members of the Cowlitz Valley Runners Club accept the torch for the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run as it passed through Southwest Washington on Sunday. Runners will be on the North Olympic Peninsula today. John Markon/The [Longview] Daily News

By Jeremy Schwartz
Peninsula Daily News

An international team of runners will make its way through Port Townsend and Port Angeles today as part of a 10,000-mile torch relay across North America to promote goodwill, harmony and friendship.

Prakhara Harter, media coordinator for the Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, said between 20 and 25 runners will travel from Port Townsend to Port Angeles today before riding the MV Coho ferry Friday morning to Victoria to journey across Canada.

Residents are urged to join the group on segments of the journey.

“We encourage people to come and hold the torch and make a wish for peace,” said Abanna Kalagian, one of the organizers.

Public greetings are planned today for the runners at Pope Marine Park at Water and Madison streets in Port Townsend at 9:30 a.m. and at The Gateway transit center at Front and Lincoln streets in Port Angeles at 2:45 p.m., Harter said.

Kalagian said members of the Sri Chinmoy marathon team are funding the trip, adding that the group is not seeking donations.

Port Townsend Mayor David King will greet the runners as they arrive from Seattle, traveling in a recreational vehicle, at Pope Marine Park before they travel to Fort Worden State Park for a 1-mile “peace run,” with area residents welcome.

The group will travel by vehicle to Robin Hill Farm County Park, which is between Port Angeles and Sequim off Dryke Road, where they are expected to arrive at about 11:45 a.m.

Members of the public are invited to join the runners as they travel the Olympic Discovery Trail into Port Angeles and carry the relay torch for a stretch of the run, Kalagian said.

In Port Angeles, the runners will be welcomed by Port Angeles Mayor Dan Di Guilio and Deputy Mayor Patrick Downie. Live music is planned.

A police escort will accompany the group south on Lincoln Street and then east on Fourth Street as they run to the Vern Burton Community Center, 308 E. Fourth St., Kalagian said.

They are expected to arrive there at about 3:30 p.m. and lead children at a city parks and recreation day camp there in songs and games promoting peace, Kalagian said.

After staying the night at the Red Lion Hotel, the runners will take the 8:40 a.m. Coho ferry to Victoria to meet up with the Victoria Peace Run team and continue their journey east through Canada, Harter said.

Downie plans to accompany them on the ferry ride over and hand the Peace Run relay torch to the acting mayor of Victoria.

The core team of runners, which come from a variety of nations, started the North American relay in New York in April and plan to end there in mid-August after traveling north across Canada and back south, Harter said.

“Ninety percent of it is running,” Harter said.

Harter said this year is the first time this Peace Run relay has come through the North Olympic Peninsula and into Canada.

The North American relay is part of a larger collections of runs going on this year around the world, Harter said, including runs across Europe and southeast Asia.

Sri Chinmoy started the Peace Run in 1987, Harter said.

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Reporter Jeremy Schwartz can be reached at 360-452-2345, ext. 5074, or at jschwartz@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: June 25. 2014 6:52PM
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