Bishop Runs4unitySaturday, May 12th, 2012
“Cross party, cross border and across the world” was how Cathy Young, spokesperson for the International Run4Unity described the event that takes place in Stormont today.
Up to 400 young people, a bishop and politicians are taking part in the Irish leg of the fun run that promotes unity and understanding across the globe. Overall, 100,000 young people will be running in the virtual relay race through all the time zones of the world.
Bishop Donal McKeown, Auxiliary Bishop of Down and Connor will be running in the race at Stormont and six members of the Northern Assembly will be present. Members of the Sikh community are also taking part.
Run4unity begins in the Fiji Islands, and then the virtual baton is passed to Australia. As one run ends, another begins. Ireland receives the baton from Luxembourg at 3:00pm today, and after the 5k run around the Stormont Estate, it passes it on to Iceland.
Before the run, the young people representing North and South, Catholic and Protestant and several other religions, will take part in a youth festival in the Great Hall in Stormont where they will be addressed by a number of MLAs including John MacCallister (UUP), Alban Maginness (SDLP), Robin Swann (UUP) and Conall McDevitt (SDLP). Ms Naomi Long MP, aided by a number of teenagers from different ethnic backgrounds, will receive the virtual baton.
In the run up to the international Run4unity day, local races have been taking place around Ireland. Just yesterday, one hundred girls from Sacred Heart Grammar School in Newry did their run, which was filmed by RTÉ’s News2day. Michael Gately from Kildare was present at the run.
“It was amazing to see so many young people taking part in Run4unity and to see the great support from the teachers,” he told ciNews.
In Newry, each person carried a tennis ball, and the race was done in relays. Other runs have taken place in Meath, Galway and Dublin.
The national Run4unity today will be around the historic Stormont Estate, which as event spokesperson Cathy Young said is, “so significant and symbolic for all that has been achieved there.”
Young people are travelling from several counties to take part in the event that begins with registration at noon and a youth festival at 1:00pm. The actual race will be from 3:00pm to 4:00pm. Funds raised through the run will go to support an educational project in Uganda.
Run4Unity is one of the preparatory events for the International Eucharistic Congress.
by Susan Gately