Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Where was I. Oh yes during our second night in Vaasa the rest of the WHR team arrived from Iceland. So in the morning we started at a ceremony in the city square near a market. Then with a police escort we ran once again to the park where the statue was. On the arrival of a local runner we made our way to a nearby stadium where the Vaasa marathon would begin. We were introduced to the runners, did a lap around the stadium track and started off on our run towards Helsinki. Some time after our departure the marathon began and as our runners ran with the torch we were joined by the the competitors as the first part of our run covered part of the marathon course.
Since the full team was now here and we had 2 vans we split up into 2 teams we use a method called leapfrogging to cover the distance and also make various ceremonies along the way. The final ceremony was near the place where we would stay the night and we were greeted by a former winter Olympian and medal winner in cross country skiing. We spent our first night on the road in a log cabin

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

On arriving in Helsinki and finally getting our bags we drove with 2 of our friends to Vaasa in the north, where we got to stay in another friend's apartment for the night.
We had 26 schools to visit on our first WHR day in Finland, we split into 2 teams of 3 with one team visiting 17 schools that were close together and the other visiting 9 schools further apart. It was very cold and windy, but at each school we had a warm welcome. There are 2 official languages in Finland, Finnish of course and Swedish. each of the schools spoke of these. I was on the team that visited 17 schools. We ended our running in a park where we joined with the other team, some school children who came with us and some local officials, near a statue of Sri Chinmoy, the founder of the run. There was a ceremony at which a Peace tree was planted and everyone got to have their photo taken and some interviewed by a local newspaper.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

So I have been back from the WHR for 11 days now, so here is the start of my report.
We were scheduled to fly on Baltic from Belgrade to Riga and then on to Helsinki on September 1st.
We arrived at the airport and proceeded to go to check in, but there was no check in. We then looked on the departure screen for our flight and it was not there. After an inquiry at the information desk, we found out that Baltic does not operate flights to Helsinki via Riga between September and February, even though they let us book a flight for September 1st. It seems they had been trying to inform us of this without success. So they had an obligation to give us an alternative flight and booked us on an Austrian Airlines flight through Vienna for the next morning. This did not create a big problem with our Finland schedule so we were happy and we had a better flight.
We arrived in Helsinki mid afternoon the next day instead of late evening the day before and apart from the fact that our bags were delivered to another terminal everything was good. I was in Finland for the first time ;)

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

I have just come back from spending the last month of the European leg of the World Harmony Run as part of the team. I got to go from Finland, through the Baltic states, Belarus and to the closing ceremony in Moscow. Spending a month living out of a van during the day and having to go out and run several times during those days can seem like a tough deal. That is so far from the truth. Yes there are days when the body is telling you it maybe does not want to run so much, but I am a multiday runner and I am used to that. Even if you struggle a little bit some mornings the feeling you get when people greet you on the road, or the look in the faces of people ( especially children ) when they get to hold the torch, takes away any tiredness that may be present.
Over the next few posts I will try describe what it has been like and focus on each country I ran in. I hope you will enjoy my journey.