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Yesterday the Peace Run was in Wagga Wagga. Because our meeting there was quite late in the day, the report of the occasion was broadcast on Prime News in Wagga this evening. The Peace Run story starts after about 12 minutes into the bulletin.
Rolling hills, out of some of Eastern Australia's big rural towns greeted us today along with perfect running weather.
With 130 kilometres to run today there were plenty of opportunities for runners to do some decent mileage.
With our first school visit 47 km out of Wagga Wagga in Yerong Creek, the girls team got some nice morning running in before our 9.30 am appointment.
Yerong Creek Primary School is right on the main road, so they got a glimpse of our runner before the rest of the team even caught up with the Peace Torch.
... and even more impressed when they joined us in the Peace Run song!
Our all female team enjoyed the addition of their beautiful voices. Having also learnt the World Harmony Run song they joined us cheerfully in this one too. We had ourselves quite the choir.
The School Captains Alice Bui, Jessica Galvin and Molly Kennedy all came up to accept the Certificate of Appreciation.
We all went outside to run a few laps with the Torch and talk to the students some more before our runner set off again back on the main road to the cheers of the students carrying her on her way.
As we were traveling along one direct road that connects quite a few of these communities, Eddie, one of the school bus drivers, saw us early in the morning as we started our running for the day. And now at noon we had arrived in his home town of Henty, telling everyone he could about the Peace Run. It was wonderful to meet him ...
We were particularly impressed with their ability to feel peace in their hearts. At every school we visit the children join us in a moment’s peace. These students maintained a pristine stillness during their exercise.
Meeting us at Glenroy Primary School was Emma Aldrich, the Albury Young Citizen of the Year. Donning her Peace Run Jacket she was now part of the team. She fitted in perfectly. The students had to guess her country... which they did very well.
Afterwards some of the students interviewed and recorded some of the running team. The remainder of the school formed a thrilling guard of honour that we ran through as we left.
With Emma and her fresh legs now with us, she ran the Peace Torch into Albury City and to Retro Lane Café.
This café is open to the public during the day but in the evenings it is a Youth Space where many different activities are happening for the youth – so a perfect meeting place for the Peace Run.
The Peace Run was welcomed to Albury by Councillor David Thurley of Albury City who spoke of the importance of the power of loving overcoming the love of power – and how significant this is for us right now.
Councillor John Watson then came to welcome the Peace Run on behalf of the City of Wodonga – where we will be running tomorrow.
He introduced the two Wodonga Young Citizen of the Year Awardees, Jye McBurnie & Alannah McKeown, who were invited to be a part of the Peace Run and also to run the Peace Torch to Wodonga and into Victoria.
Art Space Wodonga and Albury High School had done artwork to be sent to Rome in September, which was presented to the team to be sent over to Italy for the public exhibition.
Emma came up to speak briefly. She commented that the Peace Run had touched so many people in their community, speaking about how every single step has brought our country closer to peace through the education and awareness the team has raised along our journey.
She hoped the values of the Peace Run offered today could continue to be fostered within her community as they moved towards a peaceful future.
With the official part now over we all spent a few minutes talking to everyone there and having some snacks.
Jye and Alannah then took the torch and ran some of the team over the river and into Wodonga, Victoria.
Crossing the Murray River which forms the border between the States of New South Wales and Victoria – and was designated in 1993 as a "Sri Chinmoy Peace River" after the inspiration of the Founder of the Peace Run, Sri Chinmoy.
The girls team are kindly being hosted tonight by Australia Park Motel. Robert and Janice welcomed us and embraced the team wholeheartedly and after spending just a few minutes with them it is apparent they did this with all the people they meet. They kindly allowed us to use their kitchen and restaurant to feed all the runners, and offered for the whole team to come back for breakfast in their restaurant. Much gratitude to you, Robert and Janice, for looking after all of us!
Craig and Jackie are amongst the kindest hotel owners we have ever met. They have already invited us back to their Sundowner Hume Country Motor Inn next year and promised us a BBQ! Jackie had met the Peace Run in her former job as a teachers aide and has fond memories of the joy it bought her and her pupils in the past.