Minister running multi-faith marathon for peace

A north-east minister is limbering up to take part in a unique multi-cultural marathon for peace sponsored by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Rev Sean Swindells said he hoped running the 26-mile course in Luxembourg for the first time with people of faith from around the world will help break down barriers and foster mutual respect.

Rev Sean Swindells
Pounding the Highway to Heaven. Rev Sean Swindells

The 57-year-old, minister of the Parish of Fintray, Kinnellar and Keithhall in Aberdeenshire, said he was relishing the challenge of combining his passion for running with faith and spirituality on the evening of May 12.

Now in its 10th year, the InterFaith – Run for a United World event, which is also sponsored by the Archbishop of Luxembourg, offers the opportunity for people to meet and understand each other, which is the basis for respect, tolerance and peace.

The organisers say that people of the Baha'i faith, Christians, Buddhists, Hindus, Jews, Muslims and Sikhs are expected to take part in the Luxembourg City event and will demonstrate with “body and soul that the way to peace is one we can only walk together”.

Breaking down barriers

Mr Swindells, who is married to Rev Alison Swindells who leads Barthol Chapel linked with Tarves Church, said: “I am a keen recreational runner who enjoys a challenge.

“I thought it be a good experience and opportunity to combine running with faith and spirituality.

“I hope the event will deepen my appreciation and respect of other faith groups.

“In a world that is increasingly divided, it is so important that people of faith are seen to be taking the lead in breaking down barriers and fostering mutual trust and understanding.”

Mr Swindells is a member of Garioch Road Runners and a leader with Jogscotland.

He currently runs a jogging group in Blackburn, Aberdeenshire and has completed the Garioch Half Marathon in Inverurie, the Great Aberdeen Run, Edinburgh Marathon and Jerusalem Marathon.

Inspiring

Mr Swindells said: “I have met some wonderful and inspiring people through running.

“Runners are generally a very positive bunch who are very encouraging, even when it is cold and wet.

“The same is true of Church where I have met wonderful and inspiring people.

“So it is nice to be able to combine both.”

The Dalai Lama is a Buddhist Monk and the spiritual leader of the Tibetan people.