Saturday, October 10th, 2009. Contributed by Bhadra Kleinman. The first two-mile Sri Chinmoy Heart-Garden Race was inaugurated in Flushing Meadows Corona Park in Queens at 9 am. This event marked the beginning of two days of observances of Sri Chinmoy’s passing on October 11th, 2007.
Sri Chinmoy’s students from Mongolia, Japan, New Zealand, Canada and many European countries were in Queens for Memorial observances and joined New York area students at the race start. The approach took the runners past a small but lovely circular garden dedicated to Sri Chinmoy and the invigorating playing of three enthusiastic instrumentalists could be heard from some distance. Nine-Time Olympic Gold Medalist Sudhahota Carl Lewis opened the inaugural race with a tribute to Sri Chinmoy, particularly his commitment to embodying and offering the message of peace that was one of the animating themes of Sri Chinmoy’s life.
An Awards Ceremony was held for the top winners officiated by a number of honoured guests. These included: Sudhahota Carl Lewis, with further reflections; Councilman Jimmy Gennaro (right); two-time New York City marathon winner Tegla Loroupe; and Russian Olympian Olesya Zykina. Billie Jean King, the tennis great, sent a letter, and Ted Corbitt, the legendary ultra-distance runner, was represented via a letter from his son. Salil Wilson, the Executive Director of the World Harmony Run, ran to the ceremony carrying the flaming torch carried by World Harmony Run participants.
The race was held on Sri Chinmoy Street, which received its name from the New York City Parks Department in a ceremony held almost exactly three years earlier. The Queens Courier reports.
All photos courtesy of Jowan Gauthier.