The Baltics run for unity

  • 2009-08-18
  • TBT Staff in cooperation with the Latvian Foreign Ministry
RIGA- In the week leading up to the 20th anniversary of the Baltic way, the three Balticpresidents are taking part in a 678 kilometer relay race in commemoration.

  On 22 and 23 August, 2009, the three Baltic countries will renewthe historic Baltic Wayhuman chain in a 24-hour relay run, which will begin in Tallinn,Estonia, and Vilnius, Lithuania,and finish on the evening of 23 August at 20:00 in Riga,Latvia, at the country'ssymbol of independence 's the Freedom Monument.

      The 678 kilometre-long relay run will bedivided into 1 km segments, and every Balt is invited to join the leadingrunners at a location of their choice.

      On August 22 and 23, we will stop whatwe are doing, we will go outside and we will join the "Heartbeats for theBaltics" relay run. We will run because of our respect for history. Because of our commitment to tomorrow.  And because of how much we loveour countries. Everyone is welcome. Everyone is needed. It does not matterwhether it is ten kilometres or ten steps. The important thing is unity. Andthat is what we all need the most today.

      During the relay run, we will record theheartbeats of the participants, and this record will give proof that our senseof national identity is alive and thriving.  Each individual runner willadd his or her heartbeat to the rhythm of the common Baltic pulse.

      20 years ago, on 23 August 1989, morethan two million people in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania joined hands to formthe unity way of the Baltic countries and demanded the restoration ofindependence and understood what it meant to stand 'shoulder to shoulder', 'tostand against' something and 'stand up for' something. Tens of thousands ofpeople put aside what they were doing, left their homes and joined hands. Thatwas the Baltic Way.

      20 years later, we invite you toremember the historic Baltic Way with pride and to recreate its route by participating in the Baltic Unity Run.August 22 and 23 will also be a living history lesson for those who were bornafter the Baltic Way or do not remember it because they were too young back then.

     The start: The relay will be launchedon August 22 by Estonian President Toomas Hendrik Ilves and LithuanianPresident Dalia GrybauskaitÄ—.

     The finish line: The relay run will beconcluded at 8:00 PM on August 23 at the FreedomMonument.Latvian President Valdis Zatlers will take part in the final leg of the relayrun and the concluding ceremony.

     Registration: everyone can register totake part in the run at,,, or