HT City

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

- Henna Rakheja henna.rakheja@hindustant­

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

 ??  ??

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India