June 9, 2024 Live from the road

Lake San Antonio - Marina

Reported by Varunavi Klabníková 40.0 mi

We spent the night at a beautiful campground beside Lake San Antonio. Since we were quite some distance from the ocean, the temperature rose considerably.

From this lake in the morning, we were heading towards salty water, back to the Pacific shores.

It's good to do some running early in the morning before it gets too hot. It was the mens' teams turn to start first.

Our first stop was at the Mission San Antonio de Padua. To get there, we drove through a military base which surrounds the whole mission ground.

The mission was established on 14 July 1771 and carries the name of St. Antonio. Our team member from Padova was very happy to see the geographical and spiritual connection. A big thank you to Jean Steel, pictured holding the torch, who organized for our visit today!

This is a national historic site in a pristine setting (no noise, no air traffic, no other buildings, no artificial light) - and we definitely felt both inner and outer peace there.

This mission was the 3rd one to be established in  California by the Spanish back in 1771.

Before the official mass began, we had time to introduce our Peace Run, sing one of Sri Chinmoy's songs, and tell the congregation a little about this year's route.

The audience was varied and included some military and their families.

When the Priest arrived, we participated in the whole service, including singing the songs which we enjoyed very much.

The top statue is archangel Michael, the one just below is St. Antonio - the gentlest of Saints and the Saint of Miracles. All statues are wooden and date back to the 19th century. They were restored recently are in wonderful condition.

At the end of the ceremony we met with some of the congregants, pass the torch and spoke more about our run.

Everybody was appreciative of the message of the Peace Run and we made many new friends!

Many of the congregants travel long distance from the whole region to come to the church on Sundays.

The current garden now features 27 out of 30 original plants that the Salinas used to grow here in the past.

We were fortunate enough that Jean Steel from the Mission gave us a thorough explanation of the historical events including a guided tour of the premises.

The site features original equipment and furniture of the first inhabitants.

The Spanish brought Christianity to the US, then the mission was later taken over by the Mexicans.

When the Mission was established, the Spanish brought with them olive trees and grapes which they planted to grow. This original olive tree is even DNA certified to trace back its origins.

It was time to hit the road again. This time it was our women's teams turn. Due to fire risk, in California we don't light the torch. Instead, we really like to decorate it with various flower variations symbolizing our inner flame.

The running posture shows how strong the head wind was - we almost had to push through it.

The scenery changes with every mile we come closer back to the ocean shore. Inland it is very hot with blue skies and drier fields, it changes very fast the more we approach the beaches.

Many new friends along the way!

At the shore in the city of Marina, our final destination for tonight. The skies are low and cloudy (as they say: May grey, June gloom...)

The water is increasingly colder the further north we go. And now only few of us dare to fully immerse themselves in the waves, the temperature becomes icy (since the current is coming down from Alaska).

We finished our day at Julia's Vegetarian Restaurant, where we were treated to what is said to be the most delicious vegetarian food you can find in the town of Marina. Julia's have most generously offered our team a meal every time we have come through Pacific Grove since 2014, and this year was no exception- gourmet style, charming, high quality, tasty and super healthy!! The service was also exceptional. Much Gratitude!!!

Rose, Isabella and Jada - our amazing servers from the restaurant under a Peace flag. We share the same values. Thank you once again for the most delicious meal!

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Torch carried by
Arpan DeAngelo (United States), Erdenetsetseg Gankhuu (Mongolia), Harita Davies (New Zealand), Pransukh Marks (United States), Pujari Schaffer (United States), Roxana Magdici (Romania), Salil Wilson (Australia), Varunavi Klabníková (Slovakia), Virangini Afzal (United States).  
Erdenetsetseg Gankhuu, Harita Davies
The torch has travelled 40.0 mi from Lake San Antonio to Marina.

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