United States 1 May: Oxford, Alabama - Birmingham, Alabama

Friendly Alabama

Hampton Inn and Suites offered one of the women's teams a very nice accommodation in their hotel. We had four very nice hotels in Oxford, one for each of our four teams.

Home 2 Suites by Hilton also offered one of our teams a very comfortable and clean accommodation for the night.

Arpan, Vrishaketu and Kaspars(taking photo), stayed at the very nice Hilton Garden Inn nearby.

The Holiday Inn Express and Suites was also very kind to offer a room for our second women's team.

Our first stop of the day was at the Oxford City Hall. We were warmly greeted by Mayor Alton Craft and some of the staff there as well as members of the police department.

Mayor's Assistant, Janet Stephens helped to arrange today's meeting. We are so grateful to her and all the employees of the city of Oxford today who gave us a warm welcome and offered us words of wisdom and support.

Some of the police officers share their kind words with us.

We are very grateful and honored to have such a warm welcome by so many Oxford City employees who came out on their busy workday to share the Peace Torch and their kind words of encouragement and support.

Further down the road some of our teams were welcomed to Talladega by City Manager Patrick Bryant .

He kindly told us some history of Talladega as one of the oldest towns in Alabama and the most diverse population.

We are grateful to Mr. Bryant and the city of Talladega for the words of support and encouragement.

The men's teams were scheduled for the morning runs which is preferred as it is cooler then. The temperature is rising rapidly here in the South. Tomorrow the women get the morning runs.

Vrishaketu enjoying his run today.

Along our running route today we met many friendly locals who would stop to share the Peace Torch and offer their prayers and wishes for peace in their communities and the world in general.

A local worker stopped to check out our route and share the Torch.

This huge local resident was too tall to take the Torch but he did offer us the largest slice of pizza in town, which would feed our whole team.

The roads were long and wide with lots of traffic to keep us company.

Rolling hills today.

Kaspers is glad to finish his run on a hot, sunny day.

More friendly Alabamans along the way stopping to help and to share the Torch.

Large semi-trucks also offer some challenges to our route. The women fortunately at times had some wide highway shoulders to run on.

A bit of countryside also offered us a little respite from the busy traffic.

A group of city workers were happy and grateful to share the Torch.

Wanda Berry was so happy to meet some of the women on the road. She offered these very kind words: "Thanks so very much for your time today. I pray God's Blessings for you and all the peace runners thoughout the world. Welcome to Alabama and Birmingham. So happy to meet all of you."

A little break for lunch.

Virangini, our newest member who hails from Rhode Island, meets Alice Moran at the Oak Mountain State Park. She offered her kind words of suport and gave the women's team the opportunity to cool down in the lake there, after a long hot afternoon of running.

We were very grateful to meet Webb and his two children, Bash and King, and his wife Brooke as they welcomed us to the Olive Garden in Birmingham. They offered the whole team a wonderful and delicious meal which was cheerfully served by Devaughn, holding the Peace Torch. The offering of meals for our team of volunteers is very much appreciated as it keeps us nourished after a long day on the road. We also get to meet even more friendly locals when we are able to spend some time with them at their own local establishments.

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