A Briarwood guru who died two years ago got a fitting tribute Saturday in Flushing Meadows Corona Park as about 350 runners gathered for the first annual Sri Chinmoy-Heart Garden run.
The two-mile race commemorates Chinmoy, an Indian-born philosopher and guru who died in October 2007 at age 76. The course runs around the Heart Garden and past Sri Chinmoy Street, both dedicated to the guru in October 2006.
Participants were joined by several Olympians, including track and field legend Carl Lewis, Russian runner Olesya Zykina and New York Athletic Club founder Bill Lumpp.
Lewis, who helped Chinmoy with physical training at times, was on crutches after tearing a labrum in his hip, but remained in high spirits.
“We need to keep guru’s name alive,” Lewis said. “Anything that we can do to continue to inspire people, continue to do it.”
Lumpp, part of the 1948 gold medal-winning U.S. basketball team and the oldest living Olympian, said he was impressed by Chinmoy’s followers.
“The Olympics is all about peace and understanding,” he said. “Their goal is the same.”
Another friend of Chinmoy on hand for the event was City Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadows), who knew the guru for 30 years and participated in numerous running events.
“This race and this day are yet another example of the boundless inspiration that Sri Chinmoy has always provided to those who are young at heart,” Gennaro said.
Chinmoy was known for his efforts to promote interfaith understanding, but also for his emphasis on physical fitness in personal life.
In 1987 he founded the World Harmony Run, which his center called “the world’s largest relay for peace, involving tens of thousands of participants in over 70 nations.”
He also started a worldwide marathon team in 1996, known for running gruelling endurance races encompassing 3,100 miles over 60 days.
Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cn
©2009 Community News Group
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