Runners from different backgrounds joined the first half-marathon for peace in Rome, Italy on September 17, 2017.
“Rome Half-Marathon VIA PACIS (the Way of Peace)” started and ended near St. Peter’s Square. About 2,000 people joined the 21-km run, which started around 9:00 am.
The route of the half-marathon was strategically plotted so runners passed by the Synagogue, the Mosque, the Waldensian church, and the Orthodox church.
Event organizers said the half-marathon was “inspired by the values of peace, integration, inclusion, and solidarity,” United World Project reports.
During the promotion, the Pontifical Council for Culture called on everyone who supported “No to Violence, No to Racism, No to Discrimination” to join the initiative. Those who would join were advised to prepare physically and psychologically to endure the 21-kilometer run.
To publicize the event, “#IoCorroPerché” (I run because) tag was used in which participants could write their personal peace messages. Organizers hoped that the project would start an open dialog among various religious communities in the city.
Paolo Cipolli, president of Sportmeet, said what was different with VIA PACIS among other marathons held in Rome was that the race took place at the historical center of the city. In addition, the event actively promoted “dialogue, peace, and hospitality.”
The response to the event was overwhelming. Runners from all over the world came to participate. Church leaders, Vatican employees, the differently-abled, members of various faith communities were among those who joined the event.
For those who were not able to run the half-marathon, there was a 5K fun run where almost 4,000 marathoners joined, Crux Now reports.