This morning at the recommendation of our host, Michelle, a number of our team members wandered down to the beach front to see the sunrise ...
Sitting looking over the beach you saw so many Peace Runners scattered along the beach, either sitting watching the sun as it dawned over the Tasman Sea, or just walking slowly along the beach soaking up the peace and tranquility of the early morning.
Watching one of our Mongolian runners take his shoes off and walk to the waters edge, you wondered if this is the first time he has seen a sun rising over the sea. To have lived in a landlocked country your whole life is so unimaginable for many of us ...
... seeing the lone figure at the water's edge, somehow made this dawn more special and significant.
Last night we stayed at the wonderful Melaleuca YHA at Anna Beach, run by Mick and Michelle ...
Mick and Michelle are heavily into conservation and they nurture and protect all manner of wildlife at their idyllic place. Thanks go to Mick and Michelle who supported us on our last Run, so they are becoming like part of the family.
We shared this place with Joycie the very tame kangaroo. She was as affectionate and approachable as a dog and Michelle told us that she thinks she is human!
Joycie has been living here for sometime and happliy hangs out with the guests and loves a scratch under her chin!
We also caught sight of a koala sleeping high in the trees and apparently we would have seen whales and dolphins if we had been able to stay longer.
From this view you can see how difficult it is to spot a koala in the wild – he's up there!
On the way to our start location we stopped briefly at Stockton Bight Sand Dunes that run for 32km along the coastline ...
... this is the largest sand dune system in Australia.
In a previous report, it was mentioned that the Run affects many more people than we imagine, and today we had another example of that. We received a call from Rebecca at Islington School, Newcastle who wanted us to visit them after she was told about the Run by a friend from a school we’d visited yesterday. The web of connections of people who have been touched by the Run increases daily – the further we run, the wider these connections spread. Maybe a day is coming when a critical mass of awareness is reached and the change that our world so clearly needs will be manifested in a peaceful world.
For now, there is only one thing to do. Keep running.
Islington School was a jewel of a school with 40% of its pupils being refugees.
It’s quite amazing to recognise that children all over the world behave very similarly. They don’t have any problems with different cultures or ethnicities. They don’t even see any differences – a friend is a friend, regardless of race or religion and Islington embodied many examples of this.
We can learn a lot from the children of this world and a child’s spontaneous goodwill for all will surely form part of the solution to the problems of the modern world.
Thank you to Islington School – we leave you with full hearts and fond memories!
We tend to run along the roads because they are direct, have good surfaces, are easy to route-plan and allow regular support by our vehicles. If a runner goes the wrong way or is in trouble (tired/injured), then we can soon rectify the situation because we can find the runner easily with our vehicles. Today we chose to use a bike path to avoid a main road – one of the many excellent cycle paths in these parts. Great for running but far from ideal to locate an errant runner ...
... Bahumanya (pictured here studying his map prior to running) seemed to get carried away on such a perfect running surface, away from the cars – and he overshot his meeting spot by a good 5km which made for an interesting start to the day. But with the experience garnered from 105 days on the run, a large amount of patience and a lot of luck we found the lost runner and were back on track!
The afternoon brought with it rain, sweeping in from the Pacific ...
Steve had a poncho which kept us dry and was shared without hesitation ...
... as we know that if we’re all dry and happy, then overall we’ll be happier than if one of us is wet and cold. An important lesson from the Run.
The rain couldn’t dampen our spirits and amazingly, two cars stopped on a busy road to talk to Ion about the Run in a very short stretch of road. Perhaps the sight of a flaming torch and a smiling runner provided a powerful contrast to the grey skies and driving rain, making a compelling case to stop and ask for reasons.
It was good to run in the rain. It was also good to get back in the van at the end of a running stint!
By now, our girls team were meeting with the students at Marks Point Public School ...
... we met in their hall, as the rain and cold weather had come – given the conditions outside, we were all very happy to be indoors for a little while!
The students from one of the classes offered the team artwork on Peace.
Two students were inspired to write a poem for us.
Stephanie read out:
Peace is like a baby with a dummy,
Peace is like having fun every day,
Peace is like an ice cream mix
Peace is like a war to fix
Like being in paradise
Like everyone laughing and being nice
A Peaceful world is the place to be
Peace, it means everything to me."
Lucette also read hers:
"Peace is like a piggy with its mummy
Peace is like giggles filling my tummy
Peace puts a smile on your face in a tick
Peace is like looking at a live baby chick
Like a walk in the sunny bay
Like stopping the fight because that’s the right way!
Peace is harmony and
harmony starts with a tick,
ticks are a sensation like
a yummy ice cream lick!"
One of the teachers, Honi Faasisila, accepted the Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the school.
All the students then formed a big circle in their hall so that they could all hold the Torch and make a wish for peace. As they were waiting, many students asked us questions about the Peace Run. A number of them wanted to know how to say hello in Spanish, so that they could say hello to Elsa our Argentine runner.
There was so much excitement and noise that none of the students heard the bell for lunch! We then made our way out and walked through the school, stopping to talk to the students and answer more of their questions as we left.
Then we drove to our start location and away we went ...
... the rain had really set in by now so we all had quick changeovers when we reached the van, taking off our wet jackets and quickly getting into the warmth of the van and driving off to pick up the next runner.
We heard that we were staying at the Pittwater YHA and it involved a ferry ride to the location. It all sounded very exciting but we were 90km away and we had just enough time to catch the ferry ...
... we made it with 5 minutes to spare.
Finally we were dropped at Halls Wharf, our destination, by which time it was pretty dark. Hall was the family name of a Sydney dentist who originally owned the property where we would be staying, and who had gifted the place to the YHA who now run it to a very high standard ...
Two of our runners had run in through the National Park during the afternoon, and took these photos in daylight – the rest of the team made it across on the 5.30pm ferry.
From the ferry there was a 15 minute climb to the accommodation.
Michael and Sarah run the Pittwater YHA with great care and attention. We greatly appreciated the homemade cookies Sarah made and the eloquent history of the place and the area that Michael gave us. Thank you for your support guys and I would love to come back here and spend some more time.
We are now all sitting by the fire warming ourselves and enjoying the peace and silence surrounded by the National Park.
It really is a beautiful place and the sitting room is really outstanding – I could spend many hours in such a room. It lends itself to quiet contemplation, good conversation and friendship. I’m looking forward to the morning when first light will reveal the natural beauty of this place which was shrouded by darkness on our arrival.