November 2, 2013
Ian Botham started the second day of Beefy's Big Sri Lanka Walk walking through a religious birthplace today, and ended it with the presentation of what could prove to be lifesaving gifts to local children.
The sights were in total contrast to the sparse, post-war landscape of Kilinochchi yesterday, with walkers enjoying ornate Buddhist monuments as they walked past the beautiful steps leading to the temple at Mihintale.
Just as yesterday, scores of people from the local area joined the walk along the way, with many others watching from the streets. And waiting at a local community cricket ground, hundreds of young people greeted Ian and the walkers as they past the finish line.
The walk, which is raising funds for Laureus in Sri Lanka and around the world, passed through the city of Anuradhapura. And joining Beefy at the head of the group was one special guest, cricket great and Sri Lankan superstar, Kumar Sangakkara.
Inspired by the area they were walking through, Ian and Kumar took the opportunity to discuss the fascinating history of religion in the Sri Lanka and the complex mix of Buddhism and Hinduism.
But talking to Laureus.com on the route about the experience, Kumar said: "It's been really interesting. A good pace but not as fast as yesterday, I hear, as Sir Ian has left a few people in the dust, and a couple in the ambulance. But it feels great to be a part of this walk, its a great initiative.
"Thanks to Sir Ian for doing this walk. It's not an easy task. You've actually got to walk the talk. And 160 miles in eight days to raise funds for Sri Lanka, it's an amazing thing; I'm very happy to be a part of it."
The Anuradhapura area Ian passed through today has suffered from water sanitation issues recently, tragically leaving some young people with liver illnesses.
Thanks to supporters of the walk, Beefy was able to give 350 local children water purifying bottles to help tackle the water problem.
This small act might be a drop in the ocean when it comes to tackling the problem at large, but, as Beefy said today: "What is any ocean other than a whole lot of drops?"
It was a truly great way of ending the second day of Beefy's Big Sri Lanka Walk.