Nov. 8, 2014 Live from the road

Mildura, Vic - Tooleybuc, NSW

Reported by Grahak Cunningham, Nurari Merry, Sukhajata Cranfield 180.0 km

Despite the girls team being on the road supposedly by 7 am, our group left Mildura rather late (too many important tasks to attend to).

This was a mistake as we had to drive for an hour and by the time we started it was already nearing 40 degrees.

There was another total fire ban in place – understandably so, as we felt we could combust at any moment. So no flame in the torch again today.

One of the hottest Peace Runs I have ever done (admittedly I wasn't on the section from Uluru to Oodnadatta).

Meanwhile the other boys team report: A hot, dry, still morning. Being the weekend, school is out and we have a long day on the road. The extreme heat and dryness are responsible for a total fire ban.

Misha's smile is not dependent on the weather.

The girls team were already further ahead. They concur – The forecast was correct: it was a hot hot day!

No wind and clear blue skies for as far as the eye could see.

Each time we set off for our next 5 km we had to prepare ourselves, inwardly and outwardly. Downing 500 ml of cold water before setting off you knew you would be thirsty at the end.

Atul proving that, heat or no heat ...

... he is an absolute clown.

Though he likes to show ...

... that he has ...

... his serious side as well.

Des and Heather Ellen from Moowamba stopped to meet us and to hold the Torch.

The ever-present Murray River was our solace ...

... and timely refuge for hot legs.

A refreshing dip in its waters provided an antidote to the heat.

We had a fair amount of kilometres to run today and my foot was complaining a bit so the other girls had to take the weight of the distance on their legs. Stacey ...

... and Yashodevi managed to complete the distance in hot, windy conditions, showing how strong they both are.

It was a relief to get onto some back roads, and off the highway where the trucks thunder past and almost blow you into the fields! Something I enjoy about the vastnesss here is that as soon as you leave the town it is like you are out in the middle of nowhere again.

Our small girls team of Yashodevi, Stacey and I had started the day with a light brekkie kindly given by the hotel we stayed at. We were offered juice –apple, pineapple and orange. It gave me joy somehow that each of us chose a different flavour; it highlighted our different personalities, yet we can all live together and be a strong team on the Run. We are confident enough in our own personalities to be different and I feel that helps us to work together.

Today with the high kms and the heat it gave you the opportunity to go deep within.

You had to forget about the strong rays of the sun and the long straight road ahead of you and just place yourself deep inside your heart where everything is calm, tranquil and blissful.

And each and every time we set off, we felt the joy and happiness of our heart, the road seemed shorter then and the rays of the sun, gentle rather than powerful.

We all ran in 5 km stints with plenty of ice, cold drinks and air conditioning in between.

Along the road we met Alex, Emma, Elle and Katrina who enthusiastically cheered and encouraged us and ran with the torch.

The boys team ahead of us had put the marker out (indicating where they had started running, and hence our finishing point) – but it had been taken down by someone. When we called to see if they had in fact put it out, from the description of where it was we had overshot our finish point by about 5 km! So there is a 5 km stretch along the Murray that got blessed with two Peace Torches going through it in the matter of a few hours.

With a short break at Boundary Bend for lunch, our girls team were the first to arrive into Tooleybuc, where we are staying tonight. The rooms were not ready so one of the friendly staff gave us directions to the local swimming area in Tooleybuc.

The water was so cool and nice. Our girls team enjoyed our first official swim in the Murray.

It took a joint effort of Stacey and myself to reach the rope, but it was worth the effort.

We swung right out into the middle of the river before dropping in!

Arriving back into the town centre, we found the boys teams.

Not wanting them to miss out on the fun we gave them directions to the swimming hole.

I am beginning to love the Murray River and the friendly Aussie river folk are melting the surface of my cool British exterior! Everywhere we have been met with warmth and friendliness.

We had stopped at a roadside stall with bags of oranges and mandarins, outside a farm. No one was around and there was a sign instructing us to put the money in a slot on the counter. Yashodevi and I agreed that that level of trust was extremely unusual in our own countries. In Tooleybuc there are only 180 people. It seems these small communities have a lot of heart.

Tooleybuc is a small town on the river.

We made – and ate – dinner in the park.

A big thank you to Scott and Michelle for hosting the whole team tonight in their wonderful Tooleybuc Hotel. They had been really busy over the last few weeks and we are grateful they found the space to fit us in.

Scott was telling us what a wonderful community this is: last year it raised the most money per capita for the Royal Children’s’ Hospital - $13,000 and with only 180 residents!

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 180.0 km from Mildura, Vic to Tooleybuc, NSW.

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