Today started early in the picturesque township of Bridgewater where we were greeted by councillor Julia Boyle ...
... and some townsfolk including reporter Lee Steinbacher and her daughter Darcy on her way to school.
The town dedicated the newly planted Weeping Sophora Japonica as a Peace Tree ...
... standing behind the Sri Chinmoy Peace-Blossom plaque inaugurated earlier this year, when bridgetown became a Sri Chinmoy Peace Town.
Derek is the Head Gardener, who planted and will be responsible for the new Peace Tree.
Bill, a volunteer weeder, also held the Peace Torch.
It was a relaxing and peaceful start to an eventful day of school visits to four schools ...
... beginning with Bridgetown Primary Sschool.
Arriving early, we had a few moments to spare before proceedings got under way.
It was the first time we had addressed such a large school gathering on this year’s run and we were impressed with the children's attentiveness and enthusiasm for the Peace Run.
The children successfully guessed the origin of all team members ...
... including Mongolia.
School reps Chelsea and Leo.
Thank you to Chris and staff for a great start to the day!
Now for some running!
The boys team ran the last 9 km into Greenbushes.
It became apparent we had become used to flat running as the hills proved very taxing.
Then on to Greenbushes Primary School 18km down the road from Bridgetown to a much smaller gathering of children comprising 44.
The runners were welcomed here in an outdoor reception in the grounds of the historic mining town.
This was one of the quietest settings for a school we had found and the children enthusiastically embraced the motto of the Peace Run, “ Peace begins with me”.
School reps Jaslyn and Cameron.
The run around the oval together with the Torch is always fun.
Thank you to Greenbushes Primary School!
While most of the team had been enjoying the ceremony at Greenbushes Primary, Rajpal did a solo run to the next town 10 km away so we could move straight from one school to another.
At Balingup Primary School ...
... we were greeted by the whole school lining the front fence to the school!
This smaller school of 38 children is set in a beautiful garden grounds where Lizzie the gardener was busy weeding to ensure that we did not encounter any bindis!
Student reps Stephanie and Yali.
Our gratitude to Tamara Kennedy, school welfare officer, and staff for such a warm welcome to the school.
The final school of the day, Kirup Primary School, was a real hoot and left us all in high spirits after a student versus peace runners relay race on the oval at the end of the day’s proceedings.
Prior to this, the team enjoyed being grilled by acting principal Jamie Lamb who made sure that the children were asking the right questions including “Why is it important to have peace?”
School representatives, Philip and Emma.
We were grateful for the opportunity to plant a peace tree in the beautifully maintained school grounds.
The Chinese Elm will hopefully provide a lasting reminder of the team’s visit. Mr Lamb urged the students “to watch it grow over time as we do with peace.”
The team was happy to be challenged to a relay race, and didn't have it all our way!
Then it was off to run the final 70km for the day to Bunbury with joy in our hearts after our race with the school’s relay team.
Rajpal had again volunteered to miss the Kirrup school function and get some of our last running section done.
He ended up running over 11km before we could catch up to him, completing a day of more than 20km. This is the first time anyone has exceeded Bayarkhuu in distance!
On the road again after Kirup we found the traffic volume increasing dramatically from the one car an hour we experienced Saturday morning.
Our day finished with Rathin completing the last 5km into Bunbury contending with very heavy traffic. Then it was onto our accommodation at Riverside Cabin Park in Eaton (Bunbury) where we were met by friendly Erica, who has met the run previously in 2013. The owner/manager Ben popped his head in the door to say hello. He and his family will be photographed tomorrow afternoon. Our cabins we noted are very appropriately located on Sri Chinmoy St, dedicated by the owners after the visit in 2008 by the team that ran right around Australia.