Nov. 6, 2014 Live from the road

Waikerie, SA - Renmark, SA

Reported by Atul Arora, Grahak Cunningham, Nurari Merry 80.0 km

Teams A and B – After bidding a warm farewell to Ted and Cheryl Angove, our hosts last night, the team departed to attend our first school ceremony ...

... at the Waikerie Lutheran Primary School.

The Principal, Adam Bourges, was very happy for us to visit his school. He explained how this event aligns with the new curriculum implemented in his school. It aims to develop an international mindfulness before the end of their primary schooling.

The ceremony took place at the school’s indoor basketball stadium with an attendance of nearly one hundred students.

The students were very eager to learn about the Peace Run and posed very good questions of the runners.

"Feeling peace in our hearts."

We gifted the two pieces of peace art we had received from the Mannum Community College, in addition to the Certificate of Appreciation as our thanks for their enthusiastic participation. The school’s team captains, Nicola Schmidt & Adam Weir, received them on behalf of the school.

Outside to the oval.

Warmed up by their recent in-school fun run, the students wanted to run three laps of their soccer ground with the torch.

Their level of fitness and eagerness to develop international mindfulness was very evident to us in this short meeting.

Team C – on the other side of Waikerie, at the same time, started at Ramco Primary.

It was thanks to a chance meeting that we made it there. Shopping for our supplies the evening before, a teacher started talking to us at the supermarket. “Come to our school,” she said. “Well, school's finished for the day and it'll be hard to organise.” “Nonsense, I am the Principal!”

So we went to Ramco Primary. Principal Deb Halligan gathered her students and we enjoyed a spontaneous meeting with the students.

As always, the Peace Torch was star of the show.

There is a wonderful field alongside the school, perfect to run around.

Thank you, Ramco! This spontaneous meeting was a great start to our day.

Back to Team A – time to start running.

Our task was to run the first 22 km out of Waikerie, to the Goyder Highway. After 1 km we had a ferry crossing when a little red-breasted bird serenaded us the whole way. It sat on the ferry rail just outside our car window and chirped happily as we crossed the Murray.

It has taken a while but I feel I have finally adapted from desert life to river life. With all the team transformations I felt like I was a cog in a machine trying to find its new place, but today I feel like the new machine is running smoothly. My mind had got a little stuck in survival mode from the desert sparseness and I could feel it gradually relax – shops, roads, people! (Actually there was plenty of food and supplies at the roadhouses as we ran from Uluru.) It is great to be in lusher vegetation and have beautiful views down the cliffs to the river.

Although the land is still dry, somehow the farmers can grow huge fields of golden wheat.

I found a new use for the Peace Torch today (it wasn’t lit because of a fire ban.) On my run I came across a sausage-like black and yellow lizard, sunning itself plump in the middle of the road. I nudged it with the handle of the torch to inspire it to move to the roadside. It was most annoyed and I am sure if I could understand lizard there would have been some strong language coming out of its wide open mouth! It wasn’t happy about it, but with encouragement it padded to safety off the road.

This area is famous for its abundant fruit which we tested at a road side stall. The real thing!

Roadside radio interview, "live" to air.

We ran along the picturesque back road along the Murray, all feeling like we had hardly run at all, no one going over 10 km for the day.

To compensate we all tried to do some speed work ...

Arriving early into Renmark, we recuperated from our speedwork and enjoyed lunch down by the waterfront.

Team B – Meanwhile, running 29 km from the Goyder Highway ...

Team B – our task to run 29 km from the Goyder Highway.

We meet some wonderful people out here on the road.

The cool breeze and hot barren road made our running very interesting. Each member completed their distance in one stretch.

As said by Misha, our Russian runner, the road was "No left no right only straight" (with whistling sound effect).

Team C – we are running the final 29 km in to Renmark and our next school meeting, so we have a deadline.

Felix was keen to run now he had some new shoes. Apparently he went missing the day before for an hour. Later we learned he tried on every pair of shoes in the shoe shop!

There are endless expanses of vineyards in this region, growing what must amount to trillions of grapes each year.

The shoes worked well.

Sukhajata and myself shared a couple of runs together to increase our miles; it was nice having a chat.

Big trucks encouraged us with support, and a swish of wind as they passed.

At the end of our collective running, all teams gathered in Renmark.

Here we met Chris and his dad, Byron.

Our final school meeting of the day ...

.... is Renmark Primary School. Here we met the local reporter who got some photos with us and students Jemma, Aleisha, Tahlia and Dallas ...

... before we went in to meet with the rest of the school.

There wasn't much time before the end of school, though there is always time to hold the Torch and run around the oval.

At this school, Atul met a few kids from India who spoke his native family language, Punjabi. They invited the team to visit the Sikh Temple (also called Guru Dawara) to commemorate Guru Nanak Ji’s birthday and have dinner – more on this later!

We finished our day at around 4 pm and arrived to our accommodation, most of our boys team staying at Renmark Hotel. Amazing location, great hospitality and well maintained room were some of the first impressions we had when we entered. There we were welcomed by the duty manager, Andrew Freeman. Andrew’s kind words and support were a perfect way to conclude our day’s schedule.

Our girls team finished the day at Renmark Motor Inn, where the boys driving the vans up to Uluru had stayed three weeks ago. The kind owner, Rosy, agreed to provide complimentary accommodation for us again.

The remainder of our boys checked into the Ventura Motel, hosted kindly by Anne Pethick. It was time for a dip, resting our weary legs in their pool!

Seemingly randomly, just outside the hotel, a couple saw our torch and were so inspired that they donated $50 to the team. This just showed when we make a small effort for peace it can give a spontaneous joy to others.

On our way to dinner we met two people who had heard us today on the radio and came up to hold the Torch and wish us well on our journey.

Guru Nanak founded the Sikh faith upon the belief that everyone is equal and part of one big family. Many followers of this faith have served tirelessly to protect this belief since then. Atul, our Indian representative went ahead to the Temple to confirm our invitation for the whole team.

The invitation sounded very promising, especially to those who were rostered to cook tonight.

Upon arrival at the Temple, the team was greeted by many people at the function. We attended the formal ceremony where we learned several things about the Sikh faith, one most significant being the idea of the oneness of the world to bring about peace. This of course complements well the motto of our Peace Run. We again met many of the Sikh students from the school. “Do you remember us?” I asked one of the girls. “How could I ever forget!” came the reply.

We were offered and enjoyed most delicious Indian snacks followed by many varieties of scrumptious and delicious Indian food (also called Langar). After the dinner everyone wished us well for the journey ahead.

A most satisfying evening indeed – a delightful surprise!

After the meal at the Temple we stumbled upon the ‘Possom Parade’.

All these possums come out and are super friendly, coming right up to you (mostly to investigate if you have food).

Coming from New Zealand were they are a pest, it was so refreshing to see them as just a cute Australian animal.

At the possum parade we meet Pete, Kimberly, Lily and Ava Stevens who are from Adelaide, in Renmark preparing for the Half Ironman this weekend. They connected with the Peace Run message straight away.

It was close to a full moon night and we marvelled at the river that during the day was a moving body of water, but now on this still night looked like glass, reflecting the beauty around it.

Torch carried by
Atul Arora (India), Felix Lindner (Switzerland), Grahak Cunningham (Australia), Kaspars Zakis (Latvia), Mikhail Vasilchenko (Russia), Nurari Merry (Great Britain), Prabhakar Street (Canada), Pranava Runar Gigja (Iceland), Stacey Marsh (New Zealand), Sukhajata Cranfield (New Zealand), Yashodevi Samar (Ukraine).  
Kaspars Zakis, Prabhakar Street , Stacey Marsh
The torch has travelled 80.0 km from Waikerie, SA to Renmark, SA.

Latest reports from Australia - 2023

view all

Latest reports - around the world:

view all