We started early in the morning from Kulgera at 5:15 in the dark in really nicely warm temperature.
Bayarkhuu our Mongolian hero was first up with 10 km straight off the bat.
Both the other team's vans passed us on the road as the sun was rising, as they also were eager to start their running and make the most of the sub-30 degree temperatures of the early morning.
Vilasin brought in the new day and its sun, and we know what that holds in store for us.
Everyone was out to greet the new day.
Most of the time during the Peace Run in the outback is spent waiting for other runners to complete their stints, so we are always looking for new ways to occupy ourselves.
Today Felix demonstrated the North German game of Camelmelon. Try this at home! One tries to let the ball (kamelmelon) roll for as long as possible on the road.
There is always time (and space) to stretch.
Team B (girls team)
After driving the section being run by Team A, our team "hit the road" in South Australia, having crossed the border at dawn, with the gentle morning sun to our left as the first two runners started their runs.
Our km were not too much – only 69 km for the team. As we all ran our first 5 km they seemed to just fly by ...
I for one would have liked to just continue on that long straight road for another 5 or 10 km before being picked up ...
... but with many a km still to run on this Peace Run I took the rest when I could and instead took the moments with the van as a time to embrace the stillness of the outback.
Freight trains running between Adelaide and Darwin also use this route.
Leaving by 5 am means we get to have breakfast on the road. Hastakamala had prepared breakfast packs and placed them in each of the vans the night before and after our first couple of runs we had a moment to sit, relax and enjoy our breakfast ‘on the road’.
Even the Torch needs its breakfast.
As we are now in what is officially the driest State on the driest continent, you could see the trees here darken with the sun – and at times fire.
A local we spoke to last night said they had rain in this area "around May, yeah about 5 months ago". And running out here today you could see that reality in our surroundings.
This knowledge made the scattering of green even more amazing.
We all enjoyed our runs today and feel we’ve acclimatised to the "outback on the road" life.
By 11 am (well 12 noon, if you account for the new time zone we crossed at the border) our running was over, and we were happy about this, as the real heat was starting to come, with a number of runners putting ice under their hats for their last run.
Further along the road and already in South Australia, our final team prepares to run.
I volunteered to be the first runner and immediately was rewarded with a cool breeze pushing me down the road.
Though my legs were a little sluggish it was pleasant running as there were very few vehicles on the road.
It’s amazing how some days 5 km seems so far ...
... and how much you look forward to seeing the support vehicle in the distance.
Today the road was so straight in places that the blurred outline of the vehicle could be seen deceptively close.
Our team of four only had 40 km to run today, after a bigger day yesterday.
Soon Marla, our destination for today, was sighted in the distance.
Janice English, the assistant manager of the Marla Roadhouse complex welcomed us and was kind enough to upgrade our camping accommodation to a large indoor dormitory style facility which suited us tremendously.
Especially the use of the swimming pool which delighted all the team members.
Marla is like an oasis in the desert. The Roadhouse with its attractive park in front and huge accommodation and reception area is quite impressive. It also sports a mini supermarket and large dining hall.
At 1 pm we offered a Peace Run presentation which Janice attended ...
... along with some of her staff members, two local medical sisters Christine and Lee, and Helen Balnaves representing the Marla Progress Society.
They gifted each of the runners with a bottle of cold Gatorade which was very welcomed.
In turn we presented them with Certificates of Appreciation on behalf of our grateful team.
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),
Prabhakar Street ,
The torch has travelled
from Kulgera Roadhouse, NT to Marla, SA.