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Rome’s first multi-religious half-marathon

VATICAN (CNS): Some 2,000 people completed the first ever multi-religious half-marathon (21 kilometres) in Rome, Italy on September 17. The Via Pacis (Peace Road) initiative was sponsored by the Pontifical Council for Culture.
According to Monsignor Melchor Sanchez de Toca y Alameda, undersecretary of pontifical council and head of the office’s section on sport, almost 4,000 people also signed up for the shorter, five kilometer fun run.
Priests, religious sisters, the differently abled, refugees and parents pushing children in strollers were just some of those who took part in the events. Around 200 members of Rome’s grand mosque participated, as well as members of the Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu and Ba’hai communities, the monsignor said.
About 20 Vatican employees, dubbed, the pope’s marathoners, also took part, with one member of the Swiss Guard completing the half-marathon in an impressive time of one hour and 20 minutes, Monsignor Sanchez de Toca said.
The race started and ended near St. Peter’s Square, where Pope Francis delivered his Sunday angelus prayer and address at noon.
“I greet participants in the Via Pacis athletic race, which passed places of worship of the different religious faiths present in Rome,” the pope told those gathered at St. Peter’s Square. 
“I hope that this cultural and athletic initiative fosters dialogue, coexistence and peace,” he said.

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