PEACE RUN

Australia 28 May: Madura Pass, WA - Caiguna, WA

Little things of the Nullarbor

We had a slightly late start to our day today, but for good reason. Some kind soul gave us some potatoes and with still three days before we hit a supermarket and fresh produce we were more than happy to spend some more time at the camp to cook them up for the team. However in our excitement one team member, whilst checking how they were going, forgot about her long hair and accidently gave herself a little trim with the gas cooker. Never fear, it was only a slight trim and she only has slightly lopsided pigtails now.

Oyungerel meanwhile enjoyed her post-breakfast snack of white bread, butter and jam sandwich.

Our girls team had another light day – only 56 km – so as some of the team were finishing off the lunch prep, one team member took off and ran the hill up Madura Pass. This was pretty exciting as there has not been a proper hill in, well ... we think over 500 km! But it may well be quite a lot more, as the 100s of km do all merge into one when you are running over 1000 across the Nullarbor.

Along the way today we found a cute message on a wall which seemed to sum up our day:

"When I look at a patch of dandelions I see a bunch of weeds that is going to take over the yard. Kids see flowers for Mum and blowing white fluff you make a wish on."

"When I hear music I love, I know I can't carry a tune and don't have much rhythm so I sit self-consciously and listen. Kids feel the air and move to it. They sing as if they don't know the words and make up their own."

"When I feel the wind in my face, I brace myself against it. I feel it messing up my hair, pulling me back when I walk. Kids close their eyes, spread their arms and fly with it until they fall to the ground laughing."

"When I see a mud puddle I step around it, I see muddy shoes and dirty carpets. Kids sit in it. They see dams to build rivers to cross, and worms to play with."

"Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you may look back and realise they were big things. We wish you BIG MUD PUDDLES and SUNNY YELLOW DANDELIONS" ...

As we take each slow and gradual step over this vast land, we will indeed enjoy all of the little things on this Peace Run ...

... be that the long straight white line on the road ...

... the toots from the motorists ...

... the eagles flying overhead ...

... cheers from the team as you arrive at the car ...

... the trees ...

... the camaraderie of the team ...

... with newfound friends from around the world ...

... the subtle beauty of Nature all around us ...

... the satisfaction of doing something we truly love ...

... of matching the right shoes with the right socks ...

... the thrill and joy of running itself ...

... and our reflections of all the experiences we have enjoyed ...

– all of these blessings will be with us as we learn to appreciate the little things in life.

We did meet some very helpful German tourists, who pulled over to see if we were OK. Once they realised we were waiting for one of our runners they were very interested in finding out about the Peace Run and wished us well on our travels.

The running seemed to be over way too fast as we found the stickers the other team had left behind to indicate where we needed to stop. After a brief break for lunch we were driving the last 100 km into our camp site for the night.

As we drove we found a small service station and restaurant to pull into at Cocklebiddy. There we met most of the 8 locals, the budgies (all 25), only 3 of the 7 quails but unfortunately not a single of their over 1 million kangaroos. But we did double their population for a few minutes. Two of the girls splashed out and bought $5 cartons of chocolate milk, which they both felt was well worth the money.

Back to the boys team, the following report from Adrien who had a day off running today to rest a troublesome foot, assisted by Steve ...

After another night of camping, packing everything and getting ready has never been so quick!

On the way to our first run, our team, headed by Captain Amalendu, saw two magnificent eagles on the side of the road, accompanied by two other big black birds. Maybe a reflection of our team of 4 runners.

The first steps on the road can be weary ones, though it doesn't take long to get into a rhythm ...

Bayarkhuu speaks only a few words of English, but through his expression, his constant eagerness to run, to participate and to serve in every way, his heart ensures we always feel in close communication with him ...

Bayarkhuu was playing soccer with himself while waiting for the next runner ...

... on the other side of the road, Prachar was learning some songs ...

... then they combined for a brief set of Nullarbor volleyball.

Prachar is back on track with a first run of the day of 2 km, that led him to an enthusiastic second run not long after.

Steve our photographer was busy focussing on Ion's lime green shoes, when he looked up to see at this precise moment ...

... a lime green invasion!

There are many more trucks than cars across the Nullarbor ...

... trucks of all shapes and sizes, carrying all manner of unusual cargos ...

... they are our constant companions on the road, invariably honking us and waving cheerily to their peculiar fellow road-travellers running with this Torch across the land.

After a day off the road, Captain Amalendu also went for a 2 km run, followed by another 4 km ...

We are very proud of our Moldovan champion, Ion, who astonished everybody by completing 10 km in one stretch! Bravo!

But we needed to know how could he achieve such a great feat...
Steve, our photographer-interviewer, uncovered the mystery for us:

_”Hey mate, that's quite impressive! How did it go?"
_"Well, that's easy, it's all about breathing. When I run, I focus my attention on my breath, and in this way, all the parts of my being connect together and I feel more present and peaceful, so I can run more!"
_"Wow, that's super! We are very happy to have you on our team! Thank you!”

It's not all about running ...

Amalendu comes into Caiguna having just run the fastest 2 km in history – minus 32 min and 27 sec! (he had started in one time zone, and ended in another, 45 minutes earlier – we are now in Western Australia time) ...

Shona at the Caiguna Roadhouse is kindly putting us up for the night in the camping ground here. She remembers the World Harmony Run coming through this area in 2008, when she was at Cocklebiddy, and accommodated our team there.

Shona keeps some lovely flowers here at Caiguna, a rare sight on the Nullarbor!

With the new time zone coming into effect, we found ourselves finishing super early today, setting up camp just after lunch ...

Time to catch up on some housekeeping tasks: washing the van windows ...

... Drishalu is our expert Torch-Meister ...

... he takes meticulous care of our Torches, cleaning, polishing and keeping them in perfect working order day after day after day after day ...

The clouds loomed ominously, but dissipated by dinner time to allow us a peaceful evening ...

An enticing dirt track behind our campground led to ...

... a peaceful bush resting place ...

... for retired automobiles ...

Twilight descends on a happy, contented team.