United World Project



26 April 2021   |   Internazionale, ,

24 hours to run across the globe and give witness to peace

There is a relay race that brings together thousands of teenagers around the world, with a single goal: to promote peace and universal fraternity through sport, games, and concrete actions. It’s called Run4unity. The baton is passed from one time zone to the next, until the 24 hours of the day are filled. The rules of the game? There is only one, it is called the Golden Rule. Again this year, despite the pandemic, the teens are ready to “run” to give witness to their commitment to peace and unity….

Started in 2005, Run4Unity is a relay race that brings together thousands of teenagers around the world, all united by a single goal: to promote peace through sport, games, and concrete actions. It is promoted by the young people of the Focolare Movement but is open to anyone who wants to commit to doing their part in building and spreading this message of peace. Over the course of its various editions, Run4unity has involved more than 100,000 teenagers from all over the world, belonging to different peoples, cultures, religions, and ethnic groups. Crucial points of the planet have also been crossed. An example: in 2018 some teens from the USA and Mexico ran along the 2 sides of the wall that divides the city of Mexicali, to testify that unity is stronger than any barrier.

How does it work?

During the day of Run4unity, from 11.00 am to 12.00 pm, in every time zone of the planet, there are races, sports games, and activities that symbolically cross and unite the whole world, throughout the 24 hours. At 12 noon there is a Time-Out, a minute of silence, prayer or recollection dedicated to peace. It is a solemn moment, in which the participants want to remember all those who live in places of war and disunity, so that they do not feel alone and to promote a very clear message: the world needs peace and unity, and they want to help build it.

After the Time-Out, the passing of the baton takes place: in the next time zone, in fact, the race continues, undertaken by the teens from another place where 11.00 a.m. has just started.

In this way, we will run uninterruptedly for 24 hours a day in every corner of the globe, testifying at a planetary level the importance of taking action and mobilizing to build a world more united and peaceful.

 The rules of the game

As a matter of fact, there is only one. It is called the Golden Rule: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and do not do unto others as you would not have them do unto you”. This is the secret to building, day after day, wherever we are, a little piece of the world made up of peace and fraternity. And this, therefore, is the rule that we want to apply during the relay race.

 The 2020 edition, the year the pandemic began

The year 2020 saw a first “special” edition of Run4unity: due to the start of the pandemic, many people found themselves stuck at home, and it was not possible to organize big events. That did not mean the teens gave up! On the contrary, they found new and original ways to replace the race and outdoor games. Many have made online connections and video calls with other peers, families, and adults, taking advantage of virtual tools to give even more visibility to their message of peace. And here is the result: 293 online relays were held, with many teenagers involved! You can find a glimpse of these relays at the following link.

 And will there be a Run4Unity in 2021?

Of course it will! Run4Unity will take place this year on May 2, 2021. It is part, as every year, of a particular week, called United World Week. Within it there are many events, actions, concerts, conferences, all with one goal: to promote a message of unity and fraternity. And one of these events is precisely the Run4unity! This year, the United World Week will have #DaretoCare as its theme, which means “dare to take care”: it wants to highlight how so many people, and among them many teenagers, are trying to be active citizens to make their neighborhood a better place. It can really be done, starting with the little things..

 What’s new this year

On the same day as Run4unity, May 2, the Political Movement for Unity celebrates its 25th anniversary. It is an international movement formed by politicians, citizens, young people, and many others interested in politics: all of them recognize in universal fraternity, the specific content and method of their political commitment. The coincidence between Run4Unity and this anniversary will certainly allow many young people to seek out contacts with leaders in sports and politics, highlighting how much the new generations are working hard to be citizens who take care of their city, community, society or environment in which they live.

 How to participate in the relay?

Do you want to organize a Run4unity too? Whether it is in-person or online, depending on your situation, you can do it! Get in touch with friends, teens, families, or anyone who wants to participate with you! Then look for another group of friends who live in the next time zone to yours: you can connect with each other and pass the baton to them! And at this point? You just have to think about what activities to organize with your friends and register your event at this link or on the United World Week website! There you can find all the material you need, and you will also see a map of the world where the various events that have already been registered by other organizers of Run4unity will be shown! From this year, it will also be possible to access the Run4Unity 2021 Club on the Strava app: there you can indicate how many meters/kilometers you have completed during your Run4Unity. That way, at the end, we can calculate how far around the world we will have done together towards Peace!

Where can I find news about the Run4Unity events that will be taking place?

Surely you can go to the official site that we have posted recently. Another useful tool to learn about some of the initiatives promoted as part of Run4Unity is the page of Teens4Unity International. This is a magazine – also online – written by teenagers for teenagers (and not only!) which, on the day of May 2, will be dedicated to reporting on some of the Run4Unity relays around the world.

 At this point, it’s your turn!

Participate, organize, or follow the Run4unity in your area!

Also this year the largest relay race for peace, in 24 hours, will run across the globe, to show that we are many to “dare” to believe in a world of peace, a world where we can take care of each other … You can run too! Run to build a more united world!