Now the journey begins in earnest! Sadly we leave Uluru and Yulara behind after three days in this magical place. From now on, our team will share the daily distance between three sub-teams, each with its own vehicle and daily schedule – combining for significant meetings and presentations, and meeting up each evening at our resting place.
Our small crew of four runners will drive the Commodore today, for the first leg out of Yulara.
Our first runner was eager to go. Ava from Yulara School took the Peace Torch and ran with heart-felt enthusiasm for a kilometre or so before handing it over to Pranava Gigja (Iceland) to continue eastwards. Thanks Ava, good running!! If you hadn't had to go to school you would have been most welcome to stay on the team to help us get through our kilometres.
As Rathin Boulton from Canberra takes the Torch, Uluru is still visible, now receding on the skyline, though forever housed in our hearts.
Kata Tjuta also bids us farewell from afar.
The red earth is now our world.
Vilasin Webber from Sydney, next to run, is a botanical expert who alerts us to the constantly enthralling world of trees and plants which embraces our journey.
Photographer Kaspars Zakis from Latvia is in heaven admiring and mingling with Nature's sweet perfection-dance.
The day is hot.
Change-over to the next runner – but nowhere to 'cool down' in this heat.
Out in the desert we came across a little work of art. In white stones upon the red earth appeared a perfectly laid out Heart!
Looking closely at the beautifully wavy red sand we could see so many tracks of little animals, making intricate patterns which must weave together all throughout this vast country, as far as our imaginations can fly!! Some of these curious creatures even came to see what we were doing in their homeland.
Our team of four completed our running for the day, then drove ahead over the distance covered by the other teams, to meet with them at Mount Ebenezer roadhouse.
It was sad to depart from our campsite home in Yulara and step into the unknown journey ahead. As we drove to our team's start point 60km along the road, I marvelled at the hardy plants, which survive with so little water.
I thought of people and how some of us need very little and some of us need more, like a rose or a tropical plant: how each of us is unique with our own needs and design.
With the pangs of leaving the beautiful surrounds I was reminded of Sri Chinmoys’ suggestion to rely on inner beauty and joy. I saw that the outer world can inspire but it is not reliable. I have found if I do become attached to something outside of me there is eventually that terrible fall of hollowness when it lets me down.
There were some sterling performances from the girls’ team today. Stacey Marsh from New Zealand started the first run, rock solid in her strength and endurance.
Our brave and resilient 69yr old Niribilli File, also from New Zealand, followed.
Yashodevi Samar – who only three days ago was facing a fast-approaching Winter in the Ukraine – ran next with her flowing strength ...
... and then powerful Hastakamala Diaz from Perth. They each ran over 15km in HOT conditions.
Not so fit myself, I trotted out a few short runs. I felt a strong connection to the indigenous people through running across their land. It seems to be so much part of their culture. It was most likely my over-active imagination but I felt the flame of Hope, Truth and Faith of the Peace Torch speaking in oneness with these people. How much abuse and attempts to obliterate their values and Truth they suffered. How can a people come back, how can they choose life after such an atrocity of oppression and degradation? I felt this flame offering hope and possibility for a new life. Who knows what that new life will be, but offering that there is hope and a way forward – a new way of living in modern Australia whilst keeping the precious truths and values of their culture.
What do I know of these things? – probably my over-fertile imagination bubbling!
Although our team's route for the day was the furthest from Yulara, we were first to strike camp this morning, arising at 5:00, putting tents together and enjoying a short breakfast ...
... so we could start running at 6:00 o’ clock at our designated starting point, 128km after Yulara.
Felix Lindner (that's me) is first on the road.
We started our allotted 78 km in nice conditions betwenn big cattle stations (with 1 head of cattle per 5 square km – quite unlike Switzerland where I come from!)
Gradually the day became more and more windy so that we had to careful our van stayed on the road!
Team captain, Prabuddha Nicol from Perth is well prepared for the heat.
After the wind has blown some clouds away, the sky was blue like Mountain Blast (Powerade) ...
... and Berry Blitz was more tasty then the red sand in our mouths.
Dhiraja McBryde from New Zealand, a veteran of Peace Runs in Africa, is familiar with arid and hot conditions ...
... and thrives on them.
Bayarkhuu Batbayar from Mongolia prepares for his run outwardly with his famous stretching routine ...
... and inwardly with a moment's meditation.
The further he runs, the broader his smile.
Bayarkhuu liked the hot sunny conditions and after his fast running stints, was suprisingly hardly sweating.
Mindful that the temperature was set to top 42 degrees celcius later in the day, we were happy to complete our stint on the road before 12 o’clock.
With all our teams now finished for the day we gathered at our resting point. The campsite didn’t differ very much from the bush, so our generous team leader, Prabuddha hired rooms for us in the next door motel. We just have to keep the door shut to keep the brown snakes out….!
Torch carried by Bayarkhuu Batbayar(Mongolia),
Dhiraja Mc Bryde(New Zealand),
Niribili File(New Zealand),
Nurari Merry(Great Britain),
Prabhakar Street (Canada),
Pranava Runar Gigja(Iceland),
Stacey Marsh(New Zealand),
The torch has travelled
from Yulara, NT to Mt Ebenezer Roadhouse, NT.