Australia 13 February: Boonah, Qld - Stanthorpe, Qld

Up onto the range

The boys team are enjoying the challenge of the high temperature running. We were generously accommodated at the Lake Moogerah Caravan Park by Lake Moogerah, and enjoyed a cooling swim under a canopy of stars.

The decision was made to leave early in the morning while the temperature is relatively low (30 degrees). Twenty one kilometres south of Boonah the road started to rise steeply to Cunningham's Gap.

We could feel the heat from the sun above us, and the hot tarmac below us. Large trucks roll past, hooting their horns and encouraging us in our uphill climb.

Then suddenly, at the top of the climb, there is a plateau with large trees shading the road. The sound of birds in the thick foliage are so much louder than the bird calls in Europe.

Having found out last night that the temperature was going to rise significantly today, the women's team also set off early and managed a quite fast 10km before the scheduled school visit.

It was a nice feeling having these km under our belts before the sun was too high in the sky.

The first official engagement for the morning was at 9am at All Saints’ School in Boonah.

The women’s team, who has doubled back to Boonah following their early morning warm-up run, were greeted at the school’s entrance by Councillor Michael Enright of the local government, the Scenic Rim Regional Council. Once inside the School Hall, Cr Enright addressed the assembly of 170 students on the significance of the Peace Run and its relevance to their own lives and education.

The front of the stage was festooned with beautiful and colourful banners and posters prepared in advance by the year 5s.

The team members were introduced and students correctly guessed the various nationalities represented in this mostly European ensemble. The team sang Sri Chinmoy’s Peace Run song and coached the students also in the singing of the World-Harmony Run song.

Rarely have we encountered students so quiet, attentive and well behaved!

Class by class, from youngest to oldest, the students gathered on stage to hold the Peace Torch collectively in groups on stage.

The staff hold the Peace Torch together.

Following a note of thanks from the Principal, Shane Seymour, student representatives Darcy and Cooper offered a thank you message for the team’s visit ...

... after which the entire assembly sang the National Anthem, with the Flag held aloft by Indiana and Millie.

Don from The Fassifern Guardian weekly newspaper was on hand to capture the highlights of the occasion for next week’s edition due on Wednesday 20 February.

Several students accompanied the Peace Torch to the outskirts of Boonah.

After the school it was getting hotter and hotter and to combat this we shorten the distance of each leg and took lots of ice with us, giving us quite an adventure of a day. As the team made it up onto the Granite Belt the humidity was less and the needle veered down under 40 degrees again.

Goncalo from Portugal is nursing a knee injury and bravely volunteers to do a kilometre every now and then, walking and running. Two of other runners are also recovering from injury, so the bulk of the mileage is done by Robert from Hungary, Valeriy from the Ukraine and the veteran Peace Runner Akrura from Brazil.

We start running in 5 kilometre stretches, but soon we are down to 3km or 2km stretches.

When we finally stop for lunch in Dalveen, we are content to rest in the shade of the Post Office porch.

While waiting to run into the school, the team was greeted again by our friend Karen Steinhardt of Dalveen Village Crafts, who presented us with a flower for the Torch in lieu of our traditional flame.

All 11 students of Dalveen State School were on hand at the school gate along with their 2 teachers to welcome the international Peace Run team to their school. The sides were evenly matched: Dalveen State School (staff + students) = 13 members / Peace Run team = 13 members!

Acting Principal Geoff McGahey presided over the gathering in the Resources Centre behind the main school building. Team Captain Devashishu Torpy from London, England addressed the children with illumining and entertaining tales from the road and the purport of our journey.

After an assortment of songs, questions and answers (“Do You Train?”), unbelievably our allotted hour had expired ...

... and the team returned to pounding the ashphalt for the remainder of the day’s kms into Santhorpe.

With the day nearly over after meeting the students from Dalveen State School, our women's team had a short 10km to run before finishing for the day, making our way to our accommodation.

On the periphery of Stanthorpe the men’s team was greeted by eager runners Aiden and his friend Jai ...

... along with Aiden’s mother Shannon (Propietor) and Karlee (her assistant) of High St Motor Inn, where the entire men’s team is being generously accommodated this evening.

The women's team is so grateful to Helen from Apple and Grape Motel for hosting three of the team ...

... and to Mark from Stannum Lodge Motor Inn for hosting the remanding three team members!