Ultramarathon Runner Pat Farmer is currently undertaking his Spirit of India Run and will cover 4600km in 60 days, running from Kanyakumari in the south to a summit of the Himalayan Mountains raising funds for girls education in India. We sat down with Pat before he flew out from Australia to get some insight into this epic journey –
How are you physically and mentally preparing for this?
Well physically, every spare waking moment I am either running or training in the gym. And mentally is a back-up of all that training; I’m going over that map time and time again to work out the names of the towns and the places I will be running through. That sort of emphasises in my mind where I need to be and what I need to achieve.
So how many hours a day are you training?
So training at the moment consists of five hours a day – it’s a lot shorter than what I’ll actually do when I hit the race situation when I get over to India on the 26 of January, I’ll be spending eight to 10 hours, maybe 12 hours, on the road. On top of that I’ll be speaking at schools, universities and major functions in towns as well, and I still have to do approximately 80km every single day as well as my other commitments.
Are you particularly scared of anything?
Yeah, there’s always the unknown, you never know whether you can complete the journey or not – I believe that I will. I give it everything I got, but there’s always that unknown and this may be the year of the run where something goes wrong and I can’t handle it. I have more than 30 years of experience and one of the things I pride myself on is the fact that once I take the first step I will always take the last step. So that means even if I have to crawl to the finish line, I will do that.
Compared to Pole to Pole, Vietnam and the Middle East (all previous runs Pat has taken part in) how is this run going to be different?
Well this run is completely different because there is no other place on Earth like India. India is such a diverse place and there are so many different aspects and environments I will be running through. From the mountains where I’m climbing up towards the finish of the last two weeks of the run – which is from Delhi all the way up to the Himalayas over in Srinagar. To the start of the event where I’m very close to the tropical conditions of Kanyakumari, down in the southern most point. So it’s about palm trees and coconuts, but then it can also be about storms and some pretty heavy afternoon rains and some incredibly hot and exhausting days through the middle of it all. And then scattered between it all is the manic and chaos of cities like Mumbai and Delhi, and I’ll be trying to work my way through there on foot through the traffic and deal with all of that. I will be supported by police escorts through most of the very busy areas and there will be some stages where I will have literally thousands of people running with me as well.
What would you say is the goal of this run?
This run has three major objectives. Number one is to create even greater relationships between Australia and India and support the trade agreements that have been put in this place at this point in time at a government level. Secondly is to try, and at very much a grassroots level, to be able to work with the people from both Australia and India to break down any barriers, and to show that anything is possible if you simply believe in yourself and if you never give up on your goals – so it’s about motivating people from both countries to become their best. And most importantly, it’s about supporting education for girls in India and raising funds for that very important cause. I’ve said all along that girls are the first educators of the family and if you educate girls than you educate the nation.
To donate to the cause and follow the run, visit patfarmer.com.