Aug. 11, 2013 Live from the road

Cronulla, NSW - Wollongong, NSW

Reported by Bahumanya Guy, Rupasi Young, Stacey Marsh 60.0 km

We had all arrived at our accommodations after dark last night, so did not publish our customary acocmmodation photos with yesterday's report ...

... so when we awoke this morning, we first made sure we got some snap shots of our lovely surroundings.

Our boys team were fortunate to stay last night at the Cronulla Cabins ...

... while our girls team of Rupasi, Uugana and Avanayaha, were taken care of at The Boatshed at Woronora.

Jonathan and Jane Bell provided coffee, cookies and tea by the bedside. We had a very restful sleep.

Jon cooked breakfast for us and made the best flat white I have had since I arrived in Australia.

It was a peaceful breakfast by the river, next to the canoes stacked and ready for Sunday use. When we were leaving, many diners and canoers were arriving. Thank you to our kind hosts for their care. We felt right at home and would have liked to stay longer ...

Meanwhile, back in Sydney, this morning four of us who had stayed in Sydney last night ran the City2Surf, the world's largest fun-run – a 14km race from Hyde Park in the City to Bondi Beach. The event has been running for over 40 years: starting with just 2,000 entrants, now there are over 85,000 people running it!

It is incredible to be running with so many people. We all got herded into our starting areas and each area would be let go at a certain time. We were the blue start group and we looked up to see the yellow start group all standing waiting for us to pass before starting their run.

As we started our run we heard the Peace Run being announced. You wondered if anyone can hear over the crowd or the noise but as we ran we were greeted by other runners who had heard the announcement and were all happy to see us as we made our way towards Bondi Beach.

On the Peace Run you usually only have you and the Torch to run with; being surrounded by so many other people all doing the same thing really lifted your spirits.

There was a nice steep hill at about 6km in. I remember saying to one of the runners, "this is a good one" – then we had made it to the top! The energy of the crowd really pulled you along; I know by myself up that hill would have been hard, though with thousands of people around you all running it hardly registered. Every time we looked up, another km had ticked by and we were soon making our way down to the beach and the finish.

As we ran over the finish line we met with Alan – who had run with the Olympic torch in 1956 and 2000, so he was very happy to hold another torch and loved that it was a Peace Torch.

It took us quite a while to wander through the finish chute, not only because of the masses of people, but also because of everyone who wanted to stop and hold the Torch and make their own wish for Peace.

Susie was very touched by the Peace Torch and really connected with the message of the Peace Run.

It was amazing how many people had either heard about the Peace Run – like Maggie, who has been following us as we run around Australia, and Angie, who saw us way back in May when we ran through South Australia.

After about 45 minutes of talking with our fellow runners we slowly – very slowly made our way to the buses and our way home. As we walked back past the finish line there was still a mass of people crossing the finish line!

By now our 'main' team had finished their relaxing breakfast at the boathouse and were ready for the road ...

We had 60km to run before the end of the day. The run started out on the busy Princes Highway ...

... and proceeded into the Royal National Park and some of the most beautiful coastline in Australia along Lawrence Hargrave Road.

We had been promised some stunning natural beauty today. Once again, Australia didn’t disappoint ...

We got off to a stuttering start as both our first runners got lost(!), putting us a bit behind schedule and requiring Ion to run a longer than usual 15km leg – he expected to be picked up after 5km. Unfortunately we needed to find the runners before we could pick him up and let another runner go. We consoled ourselves with the fact that he was running along trails in the beautiful Royal National Park and that it would likely be a fantastic run. Nevertheless, it was complicated by a complete absence of mobile phone signal and we were unable to let him know our situation or find out where he was ...

... finally, with both lost runners found, we raced 20km right around the National Park to find where the tiny trail Ion was on emerged onto the main road. It was a bit like finding a needle in a haystack and I was full of doubts until we turned a corner like the other hundred before it, and there was the trail. One minute later and Ion popped out of the forest! This was just a small example of the many experiences we have all had on the Run where a solution is revealed when all begins to seem lost – as if a hidden hand is guiding our steps.

We didn’t have to wait long to require the assistance of that hidden hand again. Athene, a runner from the area who is a regular in the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team Races (and regular winner) rang our team phone and asked to join the Run. We were delighted and she wanted to know where we would be in a couple of hours time so she could run to join us. I had to tell her that judging by our morning’s performance, it was hard to tell. She was so keen that she decided she would start running, and if Fate was in agreement, we would meet somewhere on the glorious coastal road ...

... once again, I doubted that we would meet and once again I was proved wrong as the unseen hand guided her steps and ours until we met. I should really learn from these experiences that things always work out on the Peace Run – one way or another.

Athene has met with tremendous adversity in life yet was one of the most inspired and positive of people. She began her marathon running career only four years ago and has achieved a 3:40 marathon already. She writes affirmations on her arm before long runs, including: “The distance I have traveled today is nothing compared with how far I have already come.” She also said, “If you can help people by doing something you love, why not do it?”

She loves running and has become an excellent athlete after most people have said she could never run. We ran together for about 12km before we bid our farewells and she ran back home from there. It was great having her run with us today. Thank you Athene for your stories about your faithful horse Wally and the picture of him you shared with me ...

Being a local, Athene also helped ensure we didn't get lost for the remainder of the day!

We met a lovely Japanese couple who were super excited to meet us. It was such an extraordinary view from the top of the cliff and we decided to soak up the panoramic views ...

... we also met Tony Olejnicki from Poland and his Vietnamese friend. He organised adventure holidays to Nepal and Tibet which sounded pretty cool. He knew about the founder of the Run, Sri Chinmoy and was keen to tell all his friends about us.

This evening we are staying at the Wollongong YHA, which is nearby the University of Wollongong ...

The managers had invited many of the students to welcome us and join us for an impromtu gathering ...

We enjoyed a relaxed meal and chatted about the Peace Run ...

... watched the Peace Run DVD ...

... and presented Ben Hales with our Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award. He would love to come on the Peace Run and asked many questions about it. His career goal is to pursue mining engineering so he can change the way it is done to lessen the harmful impact on the environment. We talked about many things including making change somewhere by first accepting it as it is, then working for good within that confine.

Our sincere gratitude to Mary, the Manager who has shown us such wonderful hospitality.

Torch carried by
Avanayaha Tsendee (Mongolia), Bahumanya Guy (Great Britain), Drishalu Grunstaudl (Austria), Elsa Paillaman (Argentina), Ion Frunza (Moldova), Jaival Dudko (Ukraine), Odgiiv Jadambaa (Mongolia), Purevdorj Dashzegve (Mongolia), Rupasi Young (United States), Stacey Marsh (New Zealand), Steve Elliott (Australia), Sukhajata Cranfield (New Zealand), Uugantsetseg Otgonbayar (Mongolia).  
Jaival Dudko, Purevdorj Dashzegve
The torch has travelled 60.0 km from Cronulla, NSW to Wollongong, NSW.

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