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Edited by Christopher Simmons, senior news editor


BURLINGTON, VT and WASHINGTON D.C. - Mar. 14, 2003 /Send2Press Newswire/ -- Their breath showing white in the chilly morning air, a small but determined group of runners, and Vermont state officials and legislators gathered at 8am Tuesday on the Statehouse steps in Montpelier, Vermont to launch the historic "Great Race for Peace."

The Great Race for Peace, initiated and organized by the Burlington, Vermont-based Patriots for Peace, is a foot relay from Montpelier to the Capitol steps in Washington, DC. Running and walking around the clock, the group plans to arrive in Washington at or before noon on March 17th. The date was originally chosen to coincide with the deadline for Iraqi disarmament imposed by President Bush. Although this deadline has now been extended by negotiation, the very real possibility that Bush will drop the resolution altogether in favor of unilateral attack on Iraq has added new urgency to the Race for Peace, and has made the Race team determined to reach Washington as soon as they are able.

Along the way, the race's organizers will collect as many messages as possible to bring to the President, urging him to find a peaceful resolution to the situation in Iraq.

Running through snow, mud, and unseasonably cold weather, the Race team met with a mixed -- but generally positive -- reaction from spectators. Some tried to pick fights, and the group was nearly arrested for parking their mobile home in a shopping center in Danbury, Connecticut. At many other places along the route, however, the Great Race for Peace has been greeted with cheers, messages, and candlelight vigils.

Messages can be delivered by hand to the runners as they pass through towns in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland this weekend, or sent by email to the Patriots for Peace website. The team's route and location can be tracked on their website.

A core group of runners, walkers, and support people are traveling with the relay in a thirty-four-foot support vehicle. Members of the group will be available for interviews, discussions, and to collect messages along the route.

Runners and other local helpers are urgently needed to make this effort successful. For more information, to volunteer to run/walk or help, to download posters, or make a donation to support the Great Race for Peace, visit


Source of news: Patriots for Peace

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