Ashrita Furman (right) with Akio Haruhara, torch designer for the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics (middle) and Salil (Peace Run Director)
The world’s largest torch, a giant 25-foot tall Olympic torch replica, was unveiled in New York City by Akio Haruhara, torch designer for the Nagano 1998 Winter Olympics, and Ashrita Furman, 59-year-old health food store manager who holds 182 current Guinness World Records. Stunned by the sheer size of the lit torch, Furman said that the new record is dedicated to his teacher, peace visionary Sri Chinmoy, whose “50th anniversary of starting all our sports and cultural activities including the Peace Run we are celebrating today”. Haruhara, who flew with the original torch from Japan exclaimed, “Today is one of the happiest days of my life!” The flaming torch has a height of 20 feet (6 meter) and a base of 5 feet (1.5 meter) – a total height of 25 feet (7.5 meter). The mega torch is a 11 times bigger replica of the Olympic torch used in the 1998 Winter Olympic games to carry the flame from Athens to Nagano in Japan and weighs 1200 kg. Ashrita and a team of 20 friends constructed the torch of aluminium and steel over the last 3 weeks. Ashrita Furman is the holder of 182 current Guinness World Records, including the official record for “the most records held at the same time by an individual”. The oversized torch ensures him a new entry into the Guinness Book of World Records.
The Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run was launched April 10th at the United Nations with 50 Ambassadors and diplomats and over 300 international runners. On that day, the ambassadors and runners also set a new Guinness Record for reciting a poem on peace by Sri Chinmoy in 206 languages. The torch relay, which has involved millions of young people worldwide, was founded by Sri Chinmoy in 1987. As an athlete, philosopher, artist, musician and poet, he dedicated his life to advancing the ideals of friendship and oneness. Since its inception, the Run has visited more than 140 countries, passing the Torch and sharing a message of harmony and friendship.