Oz run­ner runs to make In­di­ans healthy

Marathon run­ner Pat Farmer’s Spirit of In­dia Run cov­ers 10 states, over 4,600km of the coun­try in 60 days

HT City - - My City / Lifestyle - Henna Rakheja henna.rakheja@hin­dus­tan­times.com

The cel­e­bra­tions for the Re­pub­lic Day are over for now. But one man is keep­ing the spirit alive by run­ning across the length of the coun­try from Kanyaku­mari to Kash­mir to cover 4600 kms and 10 states in about 60 days. This is the aim of Aus­tralian marathon run­ner Pat Farmer, who has be­gun his Spirit of In­dia Run from Jan­uary 26.

“The date was cho­sen specif­i­cally be­cause it marks In­dia’s Re­pub­lic Day and also Aus­tralia Day,” says Farmer.

“This jour­ney is about bridg­ing the gap be­tween In­dia and Aus­tralia, and bring­ing peo­ple to­gether at a grass­root level. For many sports events peo­ple buy a ticket, but in this one peo­ple can just join in as I run through their town!”

The for­mer politi­cian is known to have made records and raise sig­nif­i­cant funds in the past through his var­i­ous runs in­clud­ing one from the North Pole to the South Pole. “For me, it’s not about records,” he says. “I feel that I have a gift and that is to be able to com­mu­ni­cate with my run­ning. So it’s about us­ing that gift to in­spire and help as many peo­ple as I can by rais­ing funds which go for girls education this time.”

Ex­cited that his run will be live tele­cast in Aus­tralia, Farmer adds, “My film crew wanted me to do a recce of the jour­ney from start to fin­ish. I said ‘no’. My rea­son­ing for that was to feel the ex­pe­ri­ence at the same time that they were film­ing me… I there­fore have no pre­con­ceived idea about In­dia. The smells, the tem­per­a­tures, all ex­pe­ri­ences will be fresh and new. And peo­ple, not just in Aus­tralia, but world­wide will see In­dia through my eyes. The ad­ver­tis­ing cam­paign ‘In­cred­i­ble In­dia’ is what one might be aware of. I’ll show the world is what that re­ally means!”

Look­ing for­ward to in­ter­act with peo­ple as he runs, there is an­other de­sire which he hopes gets ful­filled. “Even if peo­ple can’t run with me on the road, when I’m run­ning ap­prox­i­mately be­tween 5am and 5pm ev­ery­day, per­haps they could put in 5, 10 or 15 min­utes of their time in some form of ex­er­cise. If they do that from the day I start to the day I fin­ish, they will see a dra­matic change in them­selves.” Guess he will only stop once In­di­ans adopt a healthy life­style!

For many sports events peo­ple buy a ticket, but in this one peo­ple can just join in as I run through their town! Even if peo­ple can’t run with me, per­haps they could put in 15 min­utes of their time in some form of ex­er­cise Pat Farmer, ul­tra-marathon ath­lete

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