Today we learned that Australia has an intricate network of roads, dirt tracks, unsealed roads, highways, freeways, etc… because we almost lost two runners and one car twice during the day…
We had an early start to cover the distance from Bendigo to Harcourt.
Every day I am amazed to see what a fantastic opportunity the Peace Run provides us with to meet all these wonderful people on the road. Many of these encounters happen spontaneously while only one runner is out there with a torch but we don’t have a photo of these instances unfortunately. Or maybe fortunately? On one occasion one of our torches started to malfunction slightly and the flame got huge. Since the flame was getting out of control and two runners had to run on tiptoes and hold their hands really high not to burn themselves, we had to look for water immediately to put out the flame. Well, we have to be ready for everything on the road!
Shortly after a policeman stopped us while the van was pulled over on the side of the road. He asked us if we were waiting for the runner with a torch he had just noticed behind us. When we said yes, he added that she would not be coming and we seriously thought there was a problem. Luckily this policeman was a joker because he added that she was sitting under the tree and having a beer! Yes, Australians have a sense of humour :)
Steve became distracted by the beautiful and luscious apples growing alongside the road...
Despite one runner going AWOL with a Torch, we reunited shortly after in a good spirit to visit the first school: Harcourt Valley Primary School.
The children here had a theme of peace in this school during the previous week so the stopover of the Peace Run here fitted very nicely. They have a Peace Garden and had made some very beautiful artwork for the Peace Run.
We could definitely see how they were well prepared...
... and it was our utmost pleasure to present them with a Certificate of Appreciation which was received by the School captain and Vice-captain.
A moment's silence...
... and the opportunity to hold the Torch and make a wish for peace...
The children's artwork was presented to us, to bring to another school along our route.
Then it was back on the road for the run to our next appointment in Kyneton...
The second school we visited was Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School in Kyneton and here they literally impressed every part of our being.
We started with a symbolic run with the Peace Torch around the school oval...
... after which they displayed some of the marvellous artwork prepared especially for for this event.
The programme, skilfully coordinated by Vice-principal Belinda Ryan, continued with children singing a peace song they had learned. I have to admit that it did bring tears to my eyes because I can rarely resist these emotions when children with angelic voices start singing about sharing peace with everybody. This is always my favourite part of the ceremony.
The school hall had one of the best acoustics which we ever had for our Peace Run song. I can humbly say that it sounded very good - to such an extent that the Vice-Principal asked us to repeat it again at the end of the ceremony. Instead, we taught the children our second Peace Run song and they enthusiastically repeated all the actions which go with it.
This active school is also 'running around Australia'! Every day the children run about 1km each around the school oval and count the total. So far the distance would take them from Kyneton all the way to Mackay in Queensland!
Here we have also continued our 'travelling art exhibition'. We have brought to this school some artwork prepared by children in St. Patrick’s School, Wangaratta and those wonderful paintings from Our Lady of the Rosary Catholic Primary School, Kyneton are kindly being sent to one of the next schools we will visit.
We finished our visit with a real interview prepared by three talented children who noted our answers in their notebooks and we can only say that they can easily be great journalists of the future.
From Kyneton, we split our running team to cover the remaining 100 km into Melbourne.
Runnng through the city streets in the gathering gloom, the Torch reached its destination in Richmond as the night had finally set in. In just a few hours we had travelled from the tranquil countryside to the 'big smoke' of Australia's second-largest metropolis.
Torch carried by Abhejali Bernardová(Czech Republic),
Harita Davies(New Zealand),
Helena Mazakova(Czech Republic),
Stacey Marsh(New Zealand),
Sukhajata Cranfield(New Zealand),
Tom McGuire(New Zealand),
The torch has travelled
from Bendigo, Vic to Melbourne, Vic.