Behind the cabin where we stayed last night at the Deer Park Motor Inn were a few very friendly and impossibly cute deer ...
... the girls were delighted that the deer allowed themselves to be fed by hand – however the deer were not so keen on the boys!
The business end of our day began just down the road, by joining 400 Armidale City Public School pupils and staff for their morning assembly ...
We were met by a group of super smart school captains who were really great ambassadors for their school, and ran us into their assembly ...
They took us to meet their fellow pupils, staff and Cherrie Paterson, the principal. We were all moved by the warmth and enthusiasm of our reception.
This was an enthusiastic band of young people, all eager to hear about our route around Australia, its reasons and purpose ...
A few of the students had composed Peace Poems which they presented to us, and they very kindly gave us a beautiful Peace-themed poster ...
We have the poster now in one of our vans and it’s really lifted that space – it’s certainly more attractive than the usual running gear and food items that we normally find there!
Here are a couple of the poems the students presented to us:
“Harmony is a great word to know,
But how come it is so hard to show?
Our world needs to be a better place,
We need to get rid of hate and all become each other’s mate.
Let’s show everyone how it is done,
And together we will join the Peace Run.
To stop the war that has no truth,
And restore every soldier's well deserved youth.”
– Chloe K.
“Peace is Tranquility,
Harmony is Humanity,
Disarmament is to cease all Rage,
Friendship is the peace of this Age.
A Masterpiece is the Dove.
To help get rid of anger and bring more Love.
Have peace Released,
And war decreased,
So the world shall have more Peace,
And the world shall have more Harmony.”
– Dougie Close
Thank you Armidale City Public School!
It’s awesome to meet such a large group to share our message – when we finally went outside, the students formed a circle to pass the Torch and make a wish for Peace and the circle must have been about 100m across!
A great big circle of Peace, Harmony and happiness. Very cool.
The reporter from the local media interviewed Bahumanya – being from England, he is one of our team members who actually speaks English!
Sadly, we had to leave Armidale School early to make our scheduled appearance at the Rocky River Public School in Uralla, which was over 20 minutes drive away. Our girls team slipped out with cheers and applause from the young students and made our way to Uralla ...
"How can you make such fast progress to the next town?" I hear you ask ...
Well, this is the advantage of having a team! This distance was being run by our team captain Sukhajata, all the time our Armidale School reception had been in progress ...
Arriving at Rocky River Public School ...
... we were greeted by Harry, the student acting on behalf his classmates and others who would welcome us.
The welcome we received was very warm and friendly ...
After our regular program, we learned that the children had written special poems for us on peace ...
Katanha wrote: “Peace is freedom. Peace is feeling. When you are full of peace, you feel calm and worriless. You know you’re peaceful when you hear birds chirp, when you hear the rustling of the leaves, when you hear your breathing. Peace is like breathing. Peace. What is peace? Peace is a world that is happy, calm and war-free. The world needs peace. Peace is inside everything, you just need to show it. The world needs peace. When you’re peaceful, you will be worry free, calm, and happy. A peaceful land is a happy land. The world needs peace. Think about hippies, they are peaceful, happy and worriless. The world needs peace. The world needs peace. You may think I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one."
"World of Peace
I dream of a world which has peace.
A world that we can all share.
A world with no guns or bombs, a world with people who care.
We need to stop shooting the dove,
And let him live happily.
We’ll open his cage, let him spread out his wings
And then we will let him fly free.
Racism needs to be banned!
And all countries will be united!
We’ll forget about wars that we’ve fought.
I dream of a world we won’t be scared of!
A world where everyone’s happy
A world which God will watch over
A World where the dove can be free."
"Peace is the love for people.
Feeling so good for you and your friends.
Sometimes it is like you are floating on the air.
Peace is freedom from the war, hostilities, strife or dissension.
A state of being tranquil or serene.
Quiet and without worry or trouble.
Without violence – peacefully."
We loved the "Peace Pledges" which had been displayed along the windows: we need to practise these ourselves!
The students then followed up with two songs: one entitled "I Can be a Peacemaker" and theother “You and Me, A Peace Prayer.” It was a struggle to keep my composure during the songs as they sung with such hope and sincerity. All adults were moved by the songs.
During this time, the boys team was able to join us for a final few minutes with the kids ...
... and tea and coffee with the teachers. Before our departure, Harry personally shook my hand and thanked us most sincerely for our visit.
Jo Thornton of the Rocky River School spoke with me about her school and her five point philosophy called “You Can Do It”. She focuses on teaching her students about organisation, persistence, getting along, resilience, and confidence. She spoke about an additional point, that of community, recently added yet most important. As a teacher, she feels her most important role is to teach her students how to learn.
Our girls team then had to depart to begin our first 18km stretch ...
... in order to arrive in Walcha by 1pm ...
... to meet with the Mayor of Walcha, Councillor Janelle Archdale.
Janelle greeted us enthusiastically ...
... and ran with us for a short while. She was a runner as a youth and revisited her previous sport to join in with us on the Peace Run.
Stacey then began our 40km segment toward Gloucester and was literally chased down the road by a reporter from the Walcha News who wanted to interview her. That gave us a chance to visit one of the city landmarks in town ...
... that of a man and woman holding up a traditional Australian tin roof that was about to receive a downpour of rain, as depicted by the orientation of the moon over the roof. The position of the crescent moon foretells significant rainfall, meanwhile the man and woman stand ready to protect against it. Uugana was happy to see the sculpture and pose for a photo with the Torch.
The rest of the day we spent running in our familiar rotation. Everyone took their turn for an adventure through very peaceful cattle country ...
One memorable leg for me meant I started a mini-stampede of cattle which flushed a small rabbit from the underbrush. It became a comic event of cattle chasing a tiny rabbit over the dry landscape. Fortunately, my furry friend made it through just fine and I continued running ...
... later I was greeted by another herd of cattle who were very interested in my passing and quite fearless.
On my next leg, I was part of the evening roundup as many dogs appeared among the cattle I was passing and rounded them up for a trip to somewhere, I assume back to the feeding yard.
All in all, it was a great day of running and visiting with those people, young and old, in this part of the world who care about peace ...
Our other boys team had started further ahead of us – but not before attending to the essentials, namely lunch ...
This is today's Caption Competition photo :-)
Between Walcha and our destination for the day which was Gloucester, was sublime running country ...
Nature blessed us with exquisite landscapes of hill, mountain, forest and streams. It really was a paradise ...
... not only that, but apart from the occasional uphill, it was largely ecstatic downhills!
Armidale forms part of the Great Dividing Range which cuts across Australia and is at 980m above sea level. We descended to an altitude of about 100m ... and if that wasn’t enough, the temperature rose steadily as we went down, leaving the chills of the more elevated inland areas behind.
There were some serious smiles on the faces of the runners today after yesterday’s uphill and chilly exertions!
How many times have we praised the Mongolians?
Look at how Odgiiv runs and decide whether he is really 69 years old ...
At the end of our day we found our way to our accommodation for the night at Barrington Riverside Cottages. It is run by Ron and Rosie and the cabins are really first-class, being less than a year old. Luxury!
It is one of the many privileges of the Run that we are gifted with the opportunity to meet so many great people and Ron and Rosie struck us all with their warmth, openness and a tangible air of goodness. It’s hard sometimes to put your finger on why you like a person on first impression, but it was our prevailing impression here. Thank you both so much for allowing us to stay in your cabin, it was most appreciated by these tired runners and we wish you well in everything you do.
Our girls team were welcomed with friendliness by A Room with a View Bed & Breakfast, who hosted our Mongolian sisters and Elsa, our Argentinian sister for the night. Elsa immediately fell in love with Sue and Kim’s Cavalier terrier Charlie. The family cat was unwilling to let go of Stacey’s shoulder when it was time for us to depart. We were able to leave eventually and settle in to our accommodations ...