Australia 3 November: Adelaide, SA - Goolwa, SA

To the Mouth of the Murray

Team A – Our first school today was at Woodville Primary School: we arrived in force with some of the local Peace Run coordinators from Adelaide joining us.

We ran in to meet the excited children and spoke to them about Peace; they all did such a great job at the guessing game ...

... no one better than one girl who didn’t need any more clues from Yashodevi than her speaking in Ukrainian. Her hand shot up and she proudly said "Ukraine!" – and you guessed it, she lived there as a youngster.

Sipra Lloyd then came up to introduce our special guest – Mayor Kirsten Alexander.

Mayor Alexander has been a strong supporter of the Peace Run since first hearing about the Run in 2013. From our initial conversations last year, you could see and feel how Mayor Kirsten intuitively understood the simple message the Peace Run is trying to offer.

Yesterday she had unveiled a statue of the founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy, at a park in her City of Charles Sturt at Westlakes.

When the Mayor was explaining the statue to the students with such feeling, she expressed how honoured and blessed she felt the City of Charles Sturt was to have this statue.

She encouraged everyone to go there and to appreciate a rare place where people can reflect on Peace and find it within themselves.

We were very honoured to offer Mayor Kirsten the Torch-Bearer Award today for her untiring dedication to Charles Sturt, both as Mayor and also in the many years before she was elected. She was active in preserving parklands a public space for the use of all.

Mayor Kirsten holds a special place in the hearts of our Peace Run team.

We took time to feel our own moment of peace.

Everyone enjoyed the presentation inside the hall.

We then asked harry Clay and Amelia Buzario from the junior class to come and accept the Certificate of Appreciation on behalf of the school.

We then went outside ...

... for everyone to hold the Torch and make their wish for peace.

To end, we all went for a run around the school grounds, led by Olivia and Christophe, the Captains of the winning sports team from last week's Sports Day.

Farewell to Woodville Primary and a wonderful Mayor Kirsten Alexander.

As we had another school just over a hour, later the teams split the kms ...

... the girls team taking the first 7.5 km ...

... and the boys team the second, running simultaneously.

We all arrived at Marion Primary School with about 10 minutes to spare, giving us enough time to speak briefly with Marion Mayor, Felicity-Anne Lewis. She is standing down as Mayor this year after 14.5 years in the job. She remembered when a Peace Tree was planted many years ago and knew that as the oak grew the plaque withered and is no longer. Seeing the significance of our time here at Marion she has suggested that the plaque be reinstated, mentioning this most recent visit of the Peace Run.

Our team is enjoying the presence of a few new members today, including veteran round-Australia Peace Runner, Steve Elliott, visiting for the day ...

... and Sukhajata Cranfield, who will stay with the team untill Canberra.

Mayor Felicity-Anne then led the team ...

... through the guard of honour into the hall.

Here the students took over, welcoming the Mayor and the runners and inviting the Mayor to speak.

Mayor Lewis spoke of the importance of Peace and feeling it within ourselves. Before her she saw a mini United Nations with so many students who had been born in different countries, many of them war torn. She remarked that she could see how this school got along in harmony and cooperation and this demonstrated how our world could be if we lived with peace inside our hearts. By now we wanted to sign the Mayor up to the Peace Run team – she had run with us, she totally understood our message, she saw the goodness in the people and places around her: a perfect team member!

The students then invited us to speak about the Peace Run ...

... learning our song so well ...

... and all finding peace inside their hearts.

Room 11 had been working on artwork and studying the Peace Run. They were then invited up to show the school the artwork before giving it to the Peace Run to take with us.

Students and staff together then went outside ...

... to hold the Torch and meet the Peace Runners.

We were then led out by three of our new friends and stopped briefly by a student who just wanted to say 'Thank You' for coming to her school.

Team B – After earlier driving to Myponga, we started our running for the day ...

... with the appropriate blessings before we commenced, of course.

Several members of our team were taking their first steps for the 2014 Peace Run journey n Australia, including Atul Arora of India (hailing now from Brisbane) ...

... Grahak Cunningham of Perth.

Grahak is a winner of the Self-Transcendance 3100 mile race, the longest footrace in the world, staged by the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team annually in New York.

Misha Vasilchenko from Omsk in Siberia, does all his running in thong-like sandals ...

... and Abhinandan Willis from Melbourne, who doubles as the Accommodation Coordinator for the Peace Run team.

We ran alongside the sea for much of our 49 km run to Myponga.

After momentarily losing our Russian runner we reached our first school of the day, Myponga Primary.

The children had gathered in their indoor assembly area and we were met with a display of art from the youngsters.

Major Julie Venning had competed in the Sri Chinmoy Triathlon in Canberra and inspired her kids to learn more about the ideals of peace with posters, art and peace kites. Ms Corina Brand then led the children in a Song of Peace.

Padmanandana Marek, our local schools coordinator, presented the Certificate of Appreciation.

The children really came to life upon holding – and running with – the Peace Torch.

Even the local journalist, Alice Dempster, got into the spirit.

Our team then made our way to Investigator College in Victor Harbour ...

... where we were very nicely welcomed ...

... joining Mr Craig Doneley’s Year 3 students. 

The children were well briefed on the message of the Peace Run and had written some really heartfelt poems and messages on peace.

After holding the Torch, they then gathered for a relay run on the oval and had a great time.

A word from Padmanandana Marek, who has made all the arrangements for the amazing school visits we have enjoyed in the Adelaide region:

What a privilege it has been to be part of the Peace Run. Contacting schools and Mayors and feeling the growing enthusiasm. Corresponding with secretaries and teachers and office staff to fit together a schedule for the Peace Runners. And then the thrill of seeing the children, staff and Mayors embrace and feel the heart and soul of the Peace Run and its message as the team made their school visits. Children made Peace Pledges, Peace Cranes, Peace Posters, Peace Torches, Peace Kites and filled us with hope for the future. The Peace Run team which carries the joyful responsibility of spreading the crucial message of fellowship, love and oneness are within themselves the embodiment of the human endeavour to strive for those ideals. What a privilege. Padmanandana.

After the school, Grahak found a number plate that suited his inner nature ...

... and Abhinandan also found one that some would say represented his personality. One day he may reach the inner peace Grahak has, and graduate to a similar number plate, although he is expected to remain on his L plates for a number of years.

Team A – Rewind.

After a brief break we prepared to hit the road again. The boys on Team A were to run as far as Victor Harbour.

Annabel Digance, the South Australian State MP for Elder had seen us running, and stopped to find out what the Peace Run is all about. She was very happy to have met us, and we to have met her!

We had some shorter turns to run today, under nearly stormy conditions and in a lovely wooded area, where it was nice shady from the trees.

The girls section of Team A proceeded to Victor Harbour, and prepared to run through to Goolwa.

Ah, the ocean!

As I was running for the last time, I encountered Bob who sells oranges from the front of his driveway. He was excited to see the Peace Torch and offered some super sweet oranges to help me on my last few km. Not wanting the rest of the team to miss out, the girls team drove back after running to buy a big box full, however Bob had other ideas. He loaded the oranges in the car and then insisted we did not pay, saying we were doing something good: he could not run but we could run for peace for him.

We were not sure where our ceremony would be the next day, when a plaque is to be installed for the Murray as a Sri Chinmoy Peace River. So we decided to make our way to the waterfront and sat under the bridge looking out over the Mighty Murray.

Prabuddha soon called to say he was going to the Murray to install the plaque before the ceremony tomorrow – and would you believe, it was right where we were sitting!

We were able to help install the plaque in readiness for tomorrow's unveiling.

Soon all the teams turned up, and we then made our way ...

... to the nearby Mouth of the Murray.

We will be running from the Mouth to the Source, so all of the team wandered down to put our feet in the mouth, connecting us with the Murray, this mighty being.

As we take our steps along this 2,500 km river with the Peace Torch, the river now will be not only in our sight but also deep inside our hearts.

Anytime our legs get tired or the day seems long, we just need to connect back into our hearts and feel the strong current of water and life flowing and energising us.