Australia 28 May: Currumbin, Qld - Byron Bay, NSW

The beautiful Tweed Shire

Early this morning the girls team were treated to a display of squawking lorikeets, being fed by the owner of motor camp where we were staying. Yet another lovely clear day promised warm running conditions. Our first task was to drive ahead as the boys team were assigned to run the first sector...

Atul Arora, our Queensland Coordinator for this year's 30th Anniversary Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run, started the day at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary for our final stint in his State.

Yvonne stopped us to find out what the run was all about. She was really enthused with the message and wished us well.

Today is Atul's last day on this leg of the Peace Run. We will miss his strong running ...

... and ... humour?

Though Atul will be missed, our team is fortunate to be joined today by Bayarkhuu Batbayar, the great Mongolian runner ...

... and habitual stretcher.

Bayarkhuu is a seasoned international Peace Runner whose presence brings tremendous strength to any team.

The girls team had meanwhile started our running. The first 20 km of running took us over scenic, hilly countryside offering spectacular views. We are fortunate to be joined for this leg by Constance Attard from Brisbane.

Niribili File from Auckland, New Zealand, is the oldest member of our team yet one of the strongest and most reliable runners – as well as constantly cheerful.

Aion Royden, also from Auckland, New Zealand, is our youngest team member ...

... who runs hard and then tires ...

... and enjoys the comforts of our well-appointed van.

Nikolaus Drakonja from Austria is enjoying his first visit to Australia.

"Just go straight, no turns?"

The author (Daniel Rubin from South Africa, pictured) would like to acknowledge the openness of New South Wales’s residents: ...

... it seemed like every driver offered a friendly wave or toot to the runners.

It really motivates the runner to have a lighter step and positive attitude as he/she puts in kilometre after kilometre. Each smile or word of acknowledgement is like “a real shot in the arm” (I am using a Nelson Mandela quote here. He uttered these words to Sri Chinmoy during a meeting with Sri Chinmoy during which the late South African President actually held the Peace Run Torch).

A frisbee is an essential companion on any Peace Run team, for those moments while waiting for our runner to arrive.

If frisbee is not challenging enough, there is always juggling...

As the team entered Murwillumbah they were greeted by the Deputy Mayor of Tweed Shire, Chris Cherry and her daughter; Cr. Pryce Allsop and his wife Carol; and Tracey Stinson , one of the Council’s Directors with fellow triathletes Brian and Julie.

The Peace Run team performed their theme song and talked briefly of the goals of the Run.

The Deputy Mayor of Tweed Shire Council, Chris Cherry, offered these inspiring words:

Welcome to the Tweed. We are honoured you have chosen Murwillumbah as a stop on the Peace Run.

In the world picture of peace, Tweed Shire Council plays its part by fostering connections with local towns in Kenya where we work to provide safe drinking water.

Locally, our community has experienced a catastrophic flood only six weeks ago and although we are still reeling from that shock, out of that experience we have forged new connections in our community that are strong. And we are building a stronger and more resilient community.

As we all know, peace comes with connections, understanding and tolerance of other people’s ways.

Thank you for the commitment and awareness you are raising across the world for world peace – for being an inspiration to us all.

We wish you well on your journey.

Our meeting occurred beside a huge lemon scented gum tree in front of the Shire Chambers, which had been selected to be dedicated as a Peace Tree to honour the occasion.

Two members of the original team from the first-ever Sri Chinmoy Oneness-Home Peace Run in Australia in 1987 were present – Unmilan Howard ...

... and Animesh Harrington.

Led by Tracey, the torch then continued the journey towards Byron Bay via the hilly Tweed Valley Way.

Our escort of local runners helped carry the torch for nearly 6 and a half kilometres and then had to run back to town! Thanks a lot guys, your enthusiastic support was very gratefully received.

On the road to Brunswick Heads, Emerson and Lucy (co-incidentally students of Brunswick Heads Public School) stopped us on the side of the road near Tugen. They were interested in our reason for running.

It’s always nice meeting like-minded people along the way.

Continuing south ...

... we arrived at Byron Bay in time for a swim for the hardy brave few.

Our whole team had a lovely stay at the Outrigger Bay Apartments in Byron Bay. Our hosts were David and Jan Riddel. Thank you for your warm hospitality and generosity in sponsoring three large and beautiful apartments for the weary-legged (but cheerful) runners to relax and revive.

It's time to extinguish the Torch for today...

See you on the road tomorrow!