May 12, 2013 Live from the road

Port Campbell, Vic - Portland, Vic

Reported by Helena Mazáková, Prachar Stegemann 158.0 km

Heading west from Port Campbell, the spectacular coastline along The Great Ocean Road continues with its fantastic formations born of an epic struggle.

Here is where Nature wrestles with Herself – pitting a monstrous ocean against a mighty continent ...

... and here at least, the ocean – slowly but surely – is winning.

With a weather change looming on the horizon, there was a powerful swell crashing into cliffs around 'The Arch', and one could easily see how these seemingly impregnable fortresses of limestone can be eaten away and eventually swallowed by a voracious sea.

Bayarkhuu doesn't miss any oportunity to capture an image for his friends back home in Mongolia.

Drishalu from Austria, the gentleman of our team...

Only one kilometre further along the coast, we arrive at the famous 'London Bridge'.

'London Bridge' was a natural arch connecting the mainland with what was to become a small island when, on 15 January 1990, the 'bridge' collapsed, leaving 2 tourists stranded on the island, to be rescued hours later by helicopter.

The Peace Torch was carried right to the end of London Bridge once in the late 80s: the next time we came, the bridge was gone!

Looking westwards...

4 photographers for every Peace Runner (this photo was not staged!)...

As always, other tourists were more than happy to join the Peace Run albeit for a brief moment ...

Another remarkable feature in this endlessly-fascinating coastline is 'The Grotto': an intricate maze of caverns and arches, sculpted by the ocean with careful artistry over millennia, showing that along with Nature's brute force, there is acute sensitivity and aesthetic sense: while with one hand She smashes and crushes, with the other She caresses and finesses.

The rain started the moment we lifted the Torch out of the van to commence our run. At first it was only a light sprinkle, though heavier showers were to bless us throughout the day.

On our way we also wanted to make new friends with the local animals ...

... however, having seen the torch they turned around and ambled away.

Our European runners were fascinated by the pine trees found in this area...

We typically park our van at the side of the road and await our runner, meanwhile sending another runner ahead with a second torch, so as to cover more ground and keep the torch(es) moving forward. On this occasion, 3 generations of a family emerged from inside a house, to find out who we were and what was happening – a spontaneous ceremony ensued.

Bayarkhuu and friends ...

Our teams joined forces for the run along the main street of Warrnambool towards ...

... our only official engagement of today: a meeting with Cr Michael Neogh, Mayor of the City of Warrnambool at Civic Green in the centre of the city at 11 am.

Mayor Neogh is a member of "Mayors for Peace" – a Japanese initiative bringing together Mayors from all over the world to express solidarity, concern and action on a variety of significant global peace initiatives.

The Mayor was thrilled to welcome such a multinational group of runners to Warrnambool, and spoke warmly and most encouragingly of our efforts.

Sean, a reporter from the 'Warrnambool Standard' – here interviewing Steve from Brisbane ...

... and photographer Damien, were on hand to capture the Torch and all the runners from every conceivable angle.

Mayor Neogh then ran with us across the park – in full suit and in the rain! – and proceeded to photograph us all with his own camera, to post later in the day on Facebook.

It was a small gathering, but very heartening and significant for us all, brightening our wet Sunday immensely.

Salil's sister Carol and her partner Annie hold the Torch with Salil as a final farewell before the team departs for Portland. They had come for dinner with the team last night and brought ice cream which was most appreciated! They then followed the runners on the road throughout the morning, before attended this ceremony. Salil was delighted to be able to share the spirit of the Peace Run with his family members.

Saranyu – our coordinator for western Victoria – with her friends Gabriella (left) and Lee Vallence, who a few years ago swam the English Channel together.

We definitely had a lighter step after Warrnambool, and it wasn't long thereafter that the rain eased up as well…

One final downpour approaches as we come into Portland, our resting place for the night ...

... followed by an auspicious rainbow!

Our whole team is staying tonight in Portland, in 3 locations. Thank you to our kind hosts Peter and Rosemary who are taking good care of 2 of our runners this evening at Victoria Lodge Motor Inn.

Two more are staying in charming comfort at Admella Motel ...

while the remainder are in the luxury of the Quest Portland on Julia St. We are SO grateful to our kind hosts in all our accommodations tonight – after a day's running in the rain, a dry warm bed is nothing short of heaven!

Torch carried by
Abhejali Bernardová (Czech Republic), Asankita Bell (New Zealand), Bayarkhuu Batbayar (Mongolia), Drishalu Grunstaudl (Austria), Harita Davies (New Zealand), Helena Mazáková (Czech Republic), Nelson Myers-Daly (New Zealand), Oyungerel Seded (Mongolia), Prachar Stegemann (Australia), Prasasta Armstrong (New Zealand), Salil Wilson (Australia), Saranyu Pearson (Australia), Steve Elliott (Australia), Varunavi Glabnikova (Slovakia), Zina Palic (Moldova).  
Asankita Bell, Prachar Stegemann, Steve Elliott
The torch has travelled 158.0 km from Port Campbell, Vic to Portland, Vic.

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