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Published: Friday, 7/28/2006

Runners carry torch for harmony

BY JC REINDL
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Shyisti Upreti of Nepal carries the torch with fellow runner Sarah Summons, center, of Perrysburg on the campus of Maumee Valley Country Day School. The two women are with team members of the USA World Harmony Runwho stopped in Toledo yesterday during their coast-to-coast mission to promote world peace and harmony. Shyisti Upreti of Nepal carries the torch with fellow runner Sarah Summons, center, of Perrysburg on the campus of Maumee Valley Country Day School. The two women are with team members of the USA World Harmony Runwho stopped in Toledo yesterday during their coast-to-coast mission to promote world peace and harmony.
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When your relay team is running 11,000 miles through 48 states over a four-month period, chances are good there will be some rough patches of weather.

Romanian Eddy Serban can tell you all about it.

As one of the four core members of USA World Harmony Run - the U.S. portion of a 70-nation relay aimed at spreading the message of friendship and understanding around the globe - the 36-year-old runner has been logging eight to 12 miles a day since the run began in April from U.N. headquarters in New York City.

The relay has taken Mr. Serban and his teammates on uphill runs through snow flurries in the Utah mountains, and into 110 degree desert heat in Nevada.

The team expands and contracts in size as runners join and drop out at various points along its circular coast-to-coast route, set to end at the U.N. next month.

During a stop in Toledo yesterday afternoon at Maumee Valley Country Day School, Mr. Serban shared how he found some of the most uncomfortable running weather right here in northwest Ohio.

"Here with humidity, it feels much worse than 110 degrees dry," Mr. Serban said, contrasting Toledo with an arid desert.

To help keep cool, the runners wear light sweat-resistant fabrics and drink plenty of fluids when resting in air-conditioned vans while waiting their turns to run with the relay torch.

But the team has discovered that the best way to beat the heat is self-indulgence.

"We're big ice cream fans," said Francesco Murianni, 34, from Milan, Italy. "When you run like this every day, you can eat everything."

The team yesterday was composed of seven men from four countries, who ran a collective 60 miles from Monroe to a give a presentation for a group of children with Hob Haven Day Camp on the school's campus.

Standing before the group of about 40 boys and girls, first through sixth graders, the runners explained the philosophy behind their relay's motto: "Harmony Begins With Me."

"We feel harmony on the big scale can happen with starting on the small scale, in your own life," said Julian Marks, 28, of Chapel Hill, N.C., who later remarked he quit his job as manager of a vegetarian restaurant to join the run.

During a question-and-answer period, the runners told the campers that most of the relay's funding and accommodations come from donations. For instance, they stayed last night in complimentary rooms at the Days Inn in Perrysburg before lacing up their shoes this morning for the more than 100-mile trek to Wooster.

Contact JC Reindl at:

jreindl@theblade.com or

419-724-6050.



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