At the basis of Run4unity is the Golden Rule present in all the great religions of the world – “Always treat others as you would like to be treated yourself”. “It is a wonderful goal. It is a wonderful action,” remarked Maginness. Canon Rev. John Mann from Belfast Cathedral and the leader of the Sikh community in Ireland, Dr Jasbir Singh Puri, also spoke.
Run4unity began in the Fiji Islands, and then the virtual baton passed to Australia. As one run ended, another began – traversing the globe. At 3.00pm on Saturday, as 400 runners lined up outside Stormont, Luxembourg passed the baton to Ireland, through MP Naomi Long. Everyone could hear the lady from Luxembourg perfectly, but for a few tense seconds she could not hear the Irish response. Ultimately though the connection was made, Ireland received the baton and the race was on. At 4.00pm Ireland passed the baton on to Iceland.
At the end, Anna Lo MLA presented the prizes to the young people.
Before the run, young people representing North and South, Catholic and Protestant, Moslem and Sikh religions, took part in a youth festival in the Great Hall in Stormont. Ciaran McKinley from North Antrim explained the Maths symbols which helped them live the Golden Rule: the multiply sign (X) meant “multiply friendships”, division sign (/) meant sharing, minus sign (-) meant to “take away suffering”, plus sign (+) meant to build more unity among all, the equal sign (=) meant equality among all, and the percentage sign (%) meant “do our best and let God do the rest”.
Kulsoom Zaman (19), a Muslim said putting the maths symbols into practice meant “loving one another, no matter what world religion or culture we are from”.
“If we start working together at a young age, we can make changes [that affect] everybody’s lives and not just ourselves,” remarked Unionist MLA Robin Swann.
His words were verified by school principal Barbara Ward. Her school, Cross and Passion school, Ballycastle, lived the ‘maths symbols’ for months leading up to the race, lead by one of the pupils, Conleth Burns. “It transformed the year,” she said. “They have come on in leaps and bounds. What I’ve seen is that this experience has unified the class and they have grown in terms of class spirit and loyalty.”
At the end of the event, Conleth Burns (14) invited all those present to come to the Run4unity celebration event in Dublin which is part of the International Eucharistic Congress on Saturday 16th June.
In the run up to the international Run4unity day, local races took place around Ireland, in Newry, Dublin, Meath and Galway, raising thousands of euros for school scholarships for children in Uganda.
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