Oct. 25, 2014 Live from the road

William Creek, SA - Marree, SA

Reported by Prabuddha Nicol, Stacey Marsh, Vilasin Webber 208.0 km

Team A

We headed out at around 5 am from our overnight stay ...

... accompanied by two of the local William Creek dogs. They were very enthusiastic, darting off into the bushland every few minutes chasing some rabbits or small marsupials.

My legs were very tired after yesterday's efforts and it took quite a bit of determination to keep up the running stints. Prabhakar was feeling it too.

Today we are again lucky to have cloud cover for two reasons: 1) the sunrises are spectacular with cloud around, and 2) it takes the intensity out of the Sun’s rays, supplying us with cooler conditions and less sunburn on our bodies.

We thought that after a few kilometres the dogs would tire and return home, but after 15 km they were still there, strong as ever.

After 15 km we had to drive forward to our next runner, so we gave the dogs a drink and hoped they would find their way home OK ...

... though when the van sped up, they took this as their cue to go into overdrive!

They eventually realised they were getting further and further away from tonight's dinner, and turned back.

Just a few km down the road we saw what we thought was another small dog crossing the road in front of us. However as we approached we realised it was a dingo pup, probably looking for its mum. It vanished into the bushes.


The road ahead.

The terrain was again pretty sparse and the road conditions deteriorated to a point where corrugations and stones made the going very slow, not only for running but also driving.

Anyway we were soon finishing our last few km and looking for the marker to indicate our finishing point (left there by the girls team where they had started running from earlier) ...

... this time it was a "peace tree" marker, looking very neat against the landscape.

Having finished the day's running we started driving towards Marree.

I noticed a sign saying Coward Springs and remembered someone telling me there were some hot springs there. We immediately investigated and found a lovely area just a few hundred meters off the main road which had been a favourite stopping place for weary passengers on the rail service that used to operate through this region.

We wasted no time in immersing ourselves in these mineralised waters, which I think helped revitalise our bodies.

Onwards next to the edge of Lake Eyre which looks spectacular in size and whiteness.

It must be a treat when it floods, as we saw pictures at the William Creek Road House of the last time it flooded.

At the spot where Team A had finished our running – we rewind now back to the dawn, to pick up the happenings of ...

... Team B

We bid farewell to William Creek, our home for the previous night. When you first arrived all you saw was one old hotel and lots of dirt and dust. Leaving here, you saw this special place with a new light, thankful for the opportunity to stop and take the time to get to know William Creek and its residents.

We again had the middle section to run today and set off at 5 am to make it to our start location just before sunrise.

Today will be the last day of our running through Anna Creek Station. It has taken us a few days but we will leave the largest station in the world today as we cross the dingo fence and make our way to Marree.

Hastakamala seems to be exulting at something. What can it be?

The last thing you would expect to see here, a sight we haven't seen in a LOOOONG time!

The old railway track.

After being out here for a few days and running down this endless track, you start to see even more of its beauty.

The barren land that surrounds you from all sides springs to life each time you take those extra few moments of silence to just be.

I will forever look upon what before I would have called dry flat dirt as a thing of beauty with its delicate subtlety, grandeur, the small tufts of dry brown grass and cracked earth that stretch as far as the eye can see, makes you feel and embrace the vastness around you and opens your heart to feel that vastness within.

The sky out here is again vaster than I have ever experienced. I feel it must look at the earth and sees how it can either complement the earth to show of the earth’s beauty or how it can outshine everything around it so all you can do is look up in awe at its lustre.

Passing Lake Eyr today ...

... we stopped to take some photos.

It is amazing to see this dried up salt pan that will fill up sometime in the next decade and be a beacon for wildlife. As we learned yesterday, it is the size of Holland – we were barely skirting its southernmost tip.

It was a treat to run next to this famous lake.

My heart has been pulled to the flat dry land of the desert, and as we slowly made our way down the last few kilometres of the track, my heart yearned for just one more day here to try and capture the specialness and beauty of this road and land less travelled.

We finished our kms again quite early and took a leisurely pace for the rest of our drive to Marree ...

... stopping to see some outback sculptures.

They were just in a paddock next to the road, and with such flat, treeless land around they pretty much stood out like a sore thumb.

Here we met Ken, who has been coming down from Darwin and has seen us on the road ...

... happy to finally meet us, we thought it appropriate to have our photo under one of the sculptures with him. Further down the line, we saw what looked like camels ...

... and true to our dehydrated eyes they were.

Meeting a couple that are travelling on a gypsy trailer – that is being pulled by camels from Alice Springs to Adelaide to raise money for the homeless to buy them swags.

We found them at a cattle grid – one of many we had passed on this track. They had to dismount and untie all the camels and take them over one at a time. When we saw them, nine camels had crossed the grid with two to go.

We happily went over to say 'hi' to many of them sitting under the tree waiting for their next journey to begin.

Nurari befriended many of them and gave a lot of the littler ones a good pat.

Meanwhile, up ahead of us and yet winding the clock back to this morning ...

Team C

Reporting for duty!

Flat and featureless. That would be a good way to describe the landscape we ran through today, if indeed there were a complete absence of hills and undulations ...

... which there weren´t!! It was pretty flat though, the occasional dry creek bed offering a bit of variation to the terrain underfoot.

After passing the vastness of lake Eyre we started running with Pranava taking the torch for the first leg of the day.

Even the emus ...

... wanted to get into the act. Heh, where's your Torch?

Progressing as we were, leg by leg, we came to the point where Kaspars from Latvia, his eyes doing their best to decieve his mind, beheld far up ahead a strange sight ....... Meanwhile, Kamahl Druesne and Marie Asselin, peering back along the track were having a similar experience! Why was this guy running after them out here in the middle of the desert, and what was he holding in his hand? Had they dropped something and he was running after them to give it back?

As Kaspars drew steadily nearer, joy and amazement (and relief that he wasn‘t becoming delerious in the heat) dawned upon him as he began to recognise the unmistakable shape of a team of camels and a wagon. It was in fact the Compassion Camel Caravan!!

Kamahl and Marie are travelling from Alice springs to Adelaide to raise money to buy swags for the estimated 40,000 homeless people who sleep on the streets every night in Australia.

Bayarkhuu knows camels well. His grandfather owns 100 camels in Mongolia.

Recognising old friends.

Learn more at www.camelcaravan.com.au. Good on you guys, great to meet some other people out here doing something for a good cause!

("You too!")

We arrived into Marree all flags blazing ...

... with time for a coffee and cool down before meeting the locals who had gathered to run into the Park with us.

These we meet at the Roadhouse (where we had had our yummy coffee).

Waiting for us was June (with back to the camera) who had organised all of this. June is the local nurse, Ambulance driver, Chief Fire warden, Tennis and Darts Coordinator and local pool caretaker, to name just a few of her ‘hats’ ...

... Irene, Lincoln – the local pilot ...

... Savannah ...

... Kuliah ...

and Tishorni.

Our new team ran from the Roadhouse to the local tennis court ...

... where June, true to her generous heart, had put on quite a spread for all the runners, and after our long hot day on the road it was gratefully and maybe a little too quickly gobbled up! June then let us into the school pool to cool off.

At 7 pm on a Saturday night, everyone is welcomed to the tennis court for some tennis and a BBQ, so off we went a short jog down the road from our accommodation. Here we sang the Peace Run song, and met our friends from this afternoon along with many of the other local community.

We were soon all out playing tennis, throwing the ball, patting the dogs or just chatting with the locals.

After dinner we all moved into the BBQ area and spoke to everyone about the Peace Run.

This community at Marree is so welcoming and openhearted; they were clearly demonstrating just through their actions what a wonderful community they are, which shows the hope and promise for a better and brighter world right here in remote Australia.

As we walked home we stopped in to see Neville Ross who manages the Caravan Park at Marree and offered him a Certificate of Appreciation for offering us discounted cabins for the night. Thank you to Marree Roadhouse!

Torch carried by
Bayarkhuu Batbayar (Mongolia), Dhiraja Mc Bryde (New Zealand), Felix Lindner (Switzerland), Gantha Pierce (Australia), Hastakamala Diaz (Australia), Kaspars Zakis (Latvia), Niribili File (New Zealand), Nurari Merry (Great Britain), Prabhakar Street (Canada), Prabuddha Nicol (Australia), Pranava Runar Gigja (Iceland), Rathin Boulton (Australia), Simahin Pierce (Australia), Stacey Marsh (New Zealand), Vilasin Webber (Australia), Yashodevi Samar (Ukraine).  
Kaspars Zakis, Prabhakar Street , Stacey Marsh
The torch has travelled 208.0 km from William Creek, SA to Marree, SA.

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