They looked like any other joggers on the side of the road Thursday, except for the flaming torch.
Three men passed through Fort Mill, Rock Hill and Chester County as part of the World Harmony Run. The relay-style race goes coast to coast promoting world harmony in countries around the world. Runners carry a small, flaming torch along the way.
"We do it because we believe in its message," said Charles Medeiros, a runner from Maui, Hawaii, who was driving the trailing wagon when he spoke with The Herald. "The harmony in the world depends on each person's life."
Nine to 13 runners are broken up into three subteams that each cover a certain number of miles a day. Within the teams, runners take turns running and driving the van.
Teams stop in cities and towns along the way to meet with students and others in the community. The idea is to spread the message of peace and harmony one person at a time.
Runner Dmitry Grygoryivsky from Ukraine explained the run's impact as a wave effect.
"People are nice, and they feel one with what we're doing," he said.
The World Harmony Run started in 1987 by athlete and philosopher Sri Chinmoy. At least 100 countries have participated.
Runners on the United States team average about 100 team miles per day. They stay in hotels when they can and otherwise camp out.
"Every little step is every person finding a little more harmony for themselves," U.S. coordinator Lee Berube said after completing a 2-mile run into Rock Hill. "The metaphor runs so deeply through the run."
Berube said harmony means something different to everyone.
"The biggest thing that I take away from the run is a renewed sense of hope that the world is moving toward harmony," he said.