Palau 29 September: Koror Township - Meyungs Island

A day of sports and good food

The nation of Palau consists of over 200 islands and is part of the Micronesia region in the western Pacific Ocean. The Peace Run is spending its time on the islands of Koror, Meyungs and Babeldaob, which are all linked by bridges or causeways.

Boasting a lush tropical climate with mountainous areas in Babeldaob Island, Palau is a treasure in the Pacific. They have respect and love for their environment both in the ocean and land, and were the first country in the world to create a shark sanctuary.

They created the Palau Pledge that all visitors must sign in their passport before entering the country pledging to look after the environment; they banned all bottom trawling commercial fishing in their waters to help protect the fish who breed there.

The Palau Pledge created by the children of Palau that every visitor must sign before entering the country...

"Children of Palau.
I take this pledge,
as your guest,
to preserve and protect
your beautiful and unique
island home.

"I vow to tread lightly,
act kindly and
explore mindfully.

"I shall not take
what is not given.

"I shall not harm
what does not harm me.

"The only footprints
I shall leave are those
that will wash away."

Waking up before 5am, the Peace Run team arrived at the registration of the Peace Run Public Run at about 0505 to see a huge line of people registering for the event.

Just before the start of the event the Peace Run team came on stage to introduce the Peace Run and encourage all to hold the Peace Torch during the event.

The Minster of Community and Cultural Affairs - Minister Baklai Temengil was there to introduce the team.

Minister Baklai Temengil and her office tirelessly organised the events for the Peace Run in Palau and the team offered a small token of our appreciation to her and the Ministry for all of their work.

The Minister of Finance, Minister Elbuchel Sadang, also welcomed us on the behalf of the President of Palau.

About 200 runners and walkers turned out to run and walk 5km from Ernguul Central Park to the Satellite Office of the President at Meyuns and back to Ernguul Park.

With the Palau flag flying high the event started.

With both a running and walking group we brought out two Peace Torches to be passed from person to person while running through this beautiful country.

The Cadets with the flag and torch brought the Peace Run to the finish line and all were given Peace Run T-Shirts with the Independence Day Logo on the back.

There were seasoned runners there like the Palau team of 7 from the Run the World Challenge who had been running for 32 consecutive days and had a total mileage of 900 miles.

The Head of the Mission of the Consulate of Germany, Mr Thomas Schubert ran today and kindly held the torch after the event.

Former Olympian Peoria Koshiba is the organiser of these walk for life events, with the one today been renamed as the Peace Run event. She competed at the Sydney Olympics and spends her time encouraging people to exercise – be that running, walking swimming – in whatever way to stay active and healthy.

As the clock struck 7am and feeling like a full day had been had already, Minister Baklai Temengil took us to the Palau swimming association Open Water Swim meet.

Here we met her daughter who is going to the youth Olympic Games on Wednesday to represent Palau in swimming.

Billy introduced the event and then also the Peace Run, noting Abhejali's achievement in her Ocean's 7 completion. He has completed a couple of the Oceans 7 so knew the channels and the distances.

Some of the local swimmers had recently swam between two of the islands, a total distance of around 8 miles in a great time of about 2 hours.

After the race briefing all the swimmers were sent into the water to get ready to start. The 500m, 1500m and 3000m all started at the same time.

Swimming out there was like snorkelling in a tropical paradise; and from what the locals have said the coral and fish just off the coast of the main island are nothing compared to other areas – a little unbelievable for us that is for for sure!

... with Stacey placing second in the 500m.

Abhejali of course won her distance ...

After the prize giving, Minister Temengil took us to the Independence Day volleyball tournament, with the women's team playing in the morning and the men’s team playing in the afternoon.

When there was a break between matches they kindly all gathered around to hear about the Peace Torch and take a moment to hold it and put their own wishes and dreams for Peace into it.

We then made our way lowly back to Ernguul Central Park where the farmers market was being held, with entertainment from 24 singers who were here to celebrate Palau Independence Day.

The Minister kindly introduced the team and we spoke about the experience we have felt here in Palau so far, of feeling the oneness, family and community essence that has enveloped all of the team members.

The Minister reminded us we needed to sing our Peace Run song – in front of all of these amazing Palau Singers! Luckily we had the Peace Run song on the back of the banner and all of the singers stood behind us and lent their strong and powerful voices to ours.

The Vice President - Raynold B. Oilouch thanked us for coming as we came in for a group picture.

He then took the torch first to make his wish for peace before sharing it with the people gathered.

Mr Moses Uludong, who we had met last night at the night market, came to speak to us again. He runs one of the newspapers in Palau and wanted to hear more about the Peace Run.

After taking a few moments to soak up the atmosphere at the Park, Minister Temengil took the Peace Run team out for lunch.

Overlooking the crystal clear water and lush islands we were engrossed in hearing more about Palau, their traditions and what both the Ministry and the government as a whole are doing to promote health, eduction and exercise.

It was an engaging and informative afternoon.

This evening Minster Temengil invited the Peace Run to the Leadership Baseball match. The Government representatives and Leaders were divided into teams and played against each other.

The President flew in just in time to join The Executive Team.

It was fantastic to see all the leaders joining in and having such a fun but competitive time.

Ambassador Maddison from Canada came to join in the festivities and spent some time speaking with the team.

We departed as the last match was being played, while the Peace Torch was shared with members of the audience: a fun and joyful end to an incredible day.