Just yesterday I said to somebody that I haven’t seen rain since I arrived in Australia (exactly one month ago). I think Mother Nature heard it and decided to bless us with the rain today. We had planned a long 25 km bushwalk along the spectacular Upper Murray. Six of our team members signed up for this venture yesterday evening.
So our morning started with looking out from the window and watching a downpour that had been going the whole night. Many people had a question: "Is the bush walk going to happen considering the weather conditions". When we met at the kitchen for breakfast, discussion had started. A few of us refused to go: the other tough cookies said they are ready to do it no matter what. So everybody had half an hour to make a final decision. Our coordinator for this section, Amalendu, came up with the plan B in 20 min. He said if we are not doing the walk we have to run more. So everybody agree on that and we hit the road. At this point it stopped raining.
As I looked out the window I wondered if just maybe the Mighty Murray wanted to make sure we would return to its shores, and now with some unfinished business with this beautiful river, the little glimmer of future Peace Runs along the ‘Life Blood’ of Australia has been kindled.
With some of the bush walkers lacking appropriate clothing, plans were changed and instead we ran some of the most beautiful road in Australia: Corryong to Khancoban and all the way via Tom Groggin and Dead Horse Gap through to Thredbo. So we start our run. Our first runner was Nurari, starting on the top of downhill with the refreshed green land around.
Stacey was full of energy and ready to run second.
The girls team were so cold so all of us had to put hats on.
Myself going third hit the downpour that had started from the beginning of my run. Rain made me go very fast.
I met some cows on my way. All of them turned their heads towards me watching this weird human running along the road. I greeted them with the smile.
All too soon our girls team reached our destination of Khancoban and our kms were over ...
... and three drowned peace runners stopped for a little cuppa. As soon as we finished our run and walked in to the café for hot chocolate it stopped raining.
Now we made our way to the nearby Murray 1 Power Station.
We were meet by Michelle who explained to us the workings of the Power Station.
The Station was built with a duel purpose: the main purpose was to divert the the water coming down from the Snowy Mountains and heading east into the sea along the Snowy River, into two rivers flowing westward, to bring water inland: the Murrumbidgee and of course, the Murray.
One of the main focuses – apart from power generation – for this station is to ensure that if there is a 10-year drought, they can keep the water flowing down the Murray and Murrumbidgee.
In the dry continent this is essential.
Our first boys team had meanwhile started their run earlier from the Power Station...
The forest is at its most refreshing and alive in the rain: full of prana, life energy.
The early runners were greeted by drenching rain but it could not diminish their joy in running through this area.
Running in the rain you hear the singeing sound of raindrops landing in the flame right next to your ear.
In heavy rain, these drops can then leap out at you from the flame, which can be a little disconcerting.
Misha from Russia – whose birthday was yesterday – revelled in these conditions and covered just over 25 km.
His enthusiasm was very infectious ...
... giving us immense joy as he pattered away on his flip-flop sandals (worn for entire 25 km he ran).
The scenery is best described by Prabhakar's photos.
We passed through what would be more accurately described as roller coaster hills than rolling hills.
We were further uplifted by being able to run with a lit torch again. It is such a powerful symbol and looks great!
Rivers were swollen with the heavy overnight rain.
All this water is heading for the Murray, and ultimately the Southern Ocean at Goolwa: an amazing life journey.
Even the kangaroos were sodden.
Misha versus ...
At some point I said out loud to the Universe: "Today is SUNday, it has to be sunny”. In half an hour we stopped for a break and all of a sudden the sun came out of the clouds for a few minutes. It was enough for us to enjoy sunshine on our faces and offer our gratiude to Mother Nature. Even on a cloudy day the sun is always shining…
Tom Groggin was the last place we would see the Murray. This is where we would have finished our bush walk, had we done the bush walk today. From here we turn north – and UPhill.
Now it's over to the second boys team, who had the task of running from here to Thredbo. The temperature plunged from 20 celcius to 5 celcius and it was the lowest during our climb.
The smaller the streams, the wilder they flowed, the higher we rose.
Our first runner of the day, Pranava from Iceland, was first out and lucky he was. 5 km hill climb for him.
Not bad for a morning run after a hearty breakfast.
And then back out for another 5 km hill climb.
We are now on another planet.
Felix our German/Swiss runner, even though he is battling injury, could not resist the beauty and splendour of the forest and the cool wind of the mountain hills and jumped out for a run.
These guys – met at the top of Dead Horse Gap – were properly dressed for the occasion.
Our team had an 18 km hill climb and only 5 km downhill from Dead Horse Gap to Thredbo ...
... for that task was our lucky winner, Grahak from Perth.
Our wholehearted gratitude goes to Nadia Fadel, manager of Thredbo YHA Hostel for accommodating the whole team free for the next two nights, which will make it possible for us to also run to Mt. Kosciuszko tomorrow.
One happy team!
Ensconced inside, the team relaxed, with each member doing what comes naturally.
We have now left our beloved Murray River, but continue along our journey taking each footstep across this incredible country, never quite knowing what part of this country will capture us next ... maybe tomorrow as we climb to the highest point in Australia and see for as far as we can see this great and beautiful continent we now call home.
Torch carried by Amalendu Edelsten(Australia),
Nurari Merry(Great Britain),
Prabhakar Street (Canada),
Pranava Runar Gigja(Iceland),
Stacey Marsh(New Zealand),
Sukhajata Cranfield(New Zealand),
Prabhakar Street ,
The torch has travelled
from Corryong, Vic to Thredbo, NSW.