In the morning of the 7th the group of runners woke up at 5 am to set out to run at 6 am. The night before had a very intense rain storm go over the house we all had been staying so the day was nice and cool. The group of about 7 runners set out to cover 67 miles to Washington D.C. running into Lafayette Park.
While running i came across something, I’m not to sure what to take from seeing it, i am also unsure about if what i did was ok or not, or if I could have done more. I, Rhi-Rhi was part of the first car out, and the 3rd runners out on the road. After getting dropped off, it was maybe 20 minutes into my run. I came across what i thought was a dead deer, I didn’t notice it until i was maybe a few feet from it. Thinking it was dead I started to slowly walk past it, then it started to move. The deer was looking right at me trying to get away from me, but only its front half could move. The other half of its body wasn’t and could not move. I i then stopped and said “are you ok?? What happened?” it just stared at me looking so scared. I will never forget the look in its eyes. I thought about moving it, but i wasn’t sure if I touching it would be good at all, ot how it was hurt. So I continued to walk by, after seeing me walk away it laid its head down.
As i walked away I prayed for the animal, but also wondered about how it came to be there, and if there could have been more for me to do, not while i was out, alone, with cars just whizzing by me. The rest of my run went just fine, got kind of warm as the day went on, but not too hot. So I was ok.
When we finally got to the while house it was hot, and sticky. I was so uncomfortable, but i still felt this accomplishment of being able to finish, and actually run for a cause I believe in. I am very happy to have gone as far and as long as I did, it was done, but not over, I will continue to spread the word about Leonard and other Prisoners of conscious. Also to remember to enjoy my life, and each day taking a breath of fresh air while being in the sun thinking of them, and giving them my strength so that they may hold on. I don’t think I could imagine being in the position they are in for myself at all. I thought of all this while being in front of the White House,
After closing circle we all took a group photo in front of the White House then set off for out next adventure. At dinner the night before we were all invited to a temple, I can’t recall the name, but I know it’s a Vietnamese Buddhist sect. The land there was so magical, and wonderful, looking around the grounds it looked so amazing, you could hear dogs in the background, we then went in and did a greeting prayer. Afterwards we were told about the grounds before all this was even her, they said that it was quit bare, and mostly nothing was out here. Then a story about relics came about, and about how they had gotten so many, and how they had gotten their very first ones. A while later we were offered food to eat. So we walked down stairs, and there was a table set up for us, whit plates and cups with a bowl of fruit at the end. I was then put right to work helping set the table with more food, there was brown rice, three bowls set along the table. One in the middle and two on the ends. Then there was shitake mushrooms in some sort of seasoning, can’t remember what it was tasted kind of spicy to me. After setting them down came one of my favorite dishes, it was tofu in tomato sauce. It was very tasty, and then the last dish was black eyed peas in cumin, I think that’s what it was. I didn’t have any of the other because there was only one bowl, and I was mostly eating the tofu in tomatoes. We sat and chatted for a bit longer, walked around the grounds for a bit, I wanted to say hello to the dogs who were barking so much, they were so nice, even though they seemed mean they were just really excited for new people. Then i t was time to go, it was getting late and we were all pretty tired from the hot day, so we headed out back to Temmu’s.
The group ended the night in a very good note. all excited for our journey back to our homes, I know I was. That was the last day, very eventful yet not very fast or to exciting. I loved it, and will remember it for a long time.
Day 10 – Harrisburg PA to Hagerstown MA
Man its HOT 96 degrees today but we got up had a little breakfast and headed to Hagerstown right around 64 miles. A lot of civil War markers along the road today but only had time to glance at them. Tonight we are staying with Temmu Shonin at his house/temple. We are going to have a pot luck with some of his community. I think pictures are going to have to wait for another day or so but we will get them posted.
I was lucky to be with the first group to get on the road, what that meant was we were doing our miles early in the morning when it was still fairly cool. Today’s run/walks were characterized by deep history. We did our first miles in Mechanicsburg and our lead runner went right down the nearly 200 year old downtown section. Every village and town we ran through had that same historic character. Beautiful restored stone homes from a bygone era were common all along our route in the villages and on the old farmsteads. One such magnificent 2 story stone was reputed to have been commandeered by some Confederate general for his headquarters for awhile on his way to Gettysburg. As the day wore on the heat became more and more oppressive and drained us of our energy to keep going. Of course it doesn’t help that we are in our 10th day of running, and the accumulation of stress and energy loss in our bodies was beginning to weaken us. All in all though it was a beautiful day of travel through the scenic and historic Pennsylvania countryside. We reached our overnight and have just the run into Washington DC tomorrow to complete our mission for this event, and none to soon as the summer temperatures escalate. Til the AM!
Day Nine, Eight, Seven & Six
Sorry everyone but we are going to squeeze 4 days into one post and I promise we will add more pictures later.
Today is the 9th and we are heading towards DC with our first overnight being in Harrisburg PA. We managed to cover 74 miles today and are staying in Carlisle PA a little west of Harrisburg. Tomorrow we head off to Hagerstown MD.
Sorry for the short updates but we are all tired.
Will update more when we can. See ya on the road
On the 8th we are running to the prison. We were done by 11 when we were told almost immediately that we had to move on by prison officials. We drove around the prison all of us in our own thoughts. The rest of the day was spent with friends and resting so we can continue on tomorrow. We did have to send off Jake today we are down to 6 now
On the 7th we got up early and headed out tonight we will be staying 20 miles outside of Lewisburg at Elizabeth Sterlingsplace a contact we got in touch withthrough another friend Art Brown thanks Art Elizabeth and Jude was Great! We had a fine overnight with a pot luck dinner and another showing of Incident at Oglala the Leonard Peltier Story. We also got 2 walkers to join in and help us out the next day.
On the 6th day instead of going to Altoona we stopped short at a little town called Ebensburg PA. the thought being we are down to 7 runners so we are going to split the millage into three days instead of 2.
The camping was lets say I haven’t herd that much big haired 80s metal in one night since well the 80′s.
Day Five – Newcomerstown to Pittsburgh
Another early start, this time on US 22 towards Pittsburgh. As Larry was dropping me off at the entrance to the park I noticed a huge bird chirping on top of an electric pole nearby. We watched as it took off and realized it was an Osprey. Nice beginning to the day. Heading east on 22 the terrain changes from the flat glacial tilled farmland of central Ohio to the rolling hills suggesting the beginnings of the Appalachian mountains. It is such beautiful countryside but now and then you can see the scarred remains of surface mining. Some of the areas seem to have been reclaimed appropriately and have cattle grazing or crops, but we also saw the bare dirt and rock of still active mining, reminding us of our recent experience in West Virginia on the March on Blair Mountain where several hundred people spent a week retracing the steps of the militant miners who fought the armed stooges of the coal companies in 1921 to achieve decent working conditions and union recognition. Our march culminated with a thousand people climbing Blair Mountain to commemorate the events 90 years ago, call for the end of mountain top removal today and for a sustainable economy in Appalachia. We are still trying to comprehend the magnitude of that event but we know it will be huge.
We finally made it to Pittsburgh where we stayed with some friends of Jake who opened their home at the last minute for our strange crew and made a delicious meal of authentic Mexican food. What a treat! It is always so good to meet like-minded people who’s generosity help us so much down the road, and to realize that there are so many people out there in their own communities doing good work. Making those connections as we pass through community after community on foot around the world is one of the things that makes all the sweat and blisters so worth it.
Today I left the run to attend to some family business, so I want to express my gratitude to everyone whose efforts help us make it down the road. To our hosts and food preparers, know that everything you do is just as important as the participants out there running because we wouldn’t make it without you. To the runners, know that every step you take is a prayer offering strength and resolve to Leonard Peltier and all prisoners of conscious. May you all stay strong and resolute. Take care of each other. In the spirit of John Toren, all my love, Jon.
Day Four – Columbus to Newcomerstown
As is often the case on events like these, we catch up with old friends and make new ones. Colleen helped us tremendously last year on the Nuclear Free Future walk as we passed through the Columbus area, and she saved us again this year by finding us accommodations and providing a delicious supper and breakfast. We stayed at her friend Tom’s place just outside of Columbus last night and enjoyed lots of good conversation and slept well on his pleasant land. Thanks so much Colleen and Tom!
We got an early start heading east on Old Route 40 out of Columbus. It was nostalgic for all of us who had walked the same route last year on the NFF walk as we passed many familiar sites and places we had stayed. Not being able to find any accommodations in Newcomerstown, we stayed at Salt Fork State Park (very clean) and had a delicious meal prepared by Jim and Sophie.
Day Three – Yellow Springs Ohio to Columbus Ohio
We have a new runner! His name is Jake and he lives right now in Yellow Springs Ohio and came for dinner last night. Jake is staying until Lewisburg PA. It is so nice to have some fresh legs because we have some long distances to cover in the next days.
Last night’s stay in Yellow Springs was excellent. Dorothy and Cathy hosted us, and Dorothy organized a community potluck that about 20 people came for. Lots of great food and discussion, with a talk by our new runner Jake and his friend Jen about their experiences helping traditional Dineh keep their land on Big Mountain, Black Mesa, Arizona. This experience was part of the inspiration for Jake to join us on the Run for Freedom. After their talk we all watched Incident at Oglala, the Leonard Peltier Story. Most of our guests had heard of Leonard Peltier, but the movie and our discussion allowed many to understand his situation much better.
Several of the runners spent the rest of the evening enjoying one of America’s most fun villages, Yellow Springs. Then after a good night’s sleep and a delicious breakfast of oatmeal (what else?) and Cathy’s famous granola, we had a fairly uneventful run to our host just outside of Columbus.
Day Two – Williamsburg Ohio to Yellow Springs Ohio
Free Leonard Peltier!
Today started out foggy and cool but by noon it was sunny and hot. It is also Delza’s last day with us so he is putting in almost half of our miles today. He will also get picked up by another supporter so after we drop him off that will be the last we see of him until we get back home.
Thanks Delza for not only participating but for hosting us and feeding us.
After a good lunch and a quick visit to check out where we are staying tonight we are all off to the local library.
Yellow Springs is also home to Antioch College who throughout the years the college, the students, the teachers and the community have been strong supporters of this and many other running and walking events that have come through this area of Ohio. It should be a really nice overnight here
Day One – Covington KY to Williamsburg Ohio
This event really started last night with a pot luck dinner and a showing of Incident at Oglala The Leonard Peltier Story.
Today was cool with a little rain, We have 8 Runners, Walkers and a Cyclist to start the event. We got started about 9am, today is a short day only 36 miles.
We will be starting in Covington KY and will finish in Williamsburg Ohio tonight we will be staying with a couple of friends of mine one going all the way back to high school Delza Smith and David Nagle They have been hosting us for the Run for Freedom for the last several years.
Come and hear first hand of life living near a uranium mine by visiting collegue, Reinford Mwangonde who has challenged Perth-based mining company, Paladin Energy's operating procedures in Malawi since before the licence was granted in 2007.
Kayelekera uranium mine was the biggest mining project in Malawi’s history, but has long caused controversy in the Karonga region of northern Malawi. Uranium mining was imposed on the people of Karonga in 2009 from Paladin Energy, now in administration, and people would still prefer it had never come to their country.
“The mine is located in the catchment area of a river that flows directly into Lake Malawi,” said Reinford Mwangonde, Executive Director from Citizens for Justice Malawi , “one of the most pristine freshwater bodies remaining in the world and a vital source of food for the Malawian people.”
This evening will provide a unique insight into a story that continues to generate heartache and headlines today and convey a sense of the Karonga people's experience of imposed uranium mining by a Perth-based company.
We will hear about the cumulative impacts of the Kayelekera uranium mine, and how Paladin has walked away without a clear contingency plan and Malawi has been left with a hole in the ground and contaminated waterways with no means to fix them.