FORMER AUSTRALIAN MP and ulta marathon runner Pat Farmer, 54, looks like an Australian cricketer or perhaps a slimmer version of cricketer Dean Jones.
Ask him about running and Farmer does not wait for even a second and starts speaking about his Spirit of India Run to the 50-odd listeners at a city hotel. “I have run nearly 3,600 km in India during this run,” he says.
And his enthusiasm does not drop a little even after completing the Chandigarh leg of his run in the day and after being part of a couple of felicitation ceremonies.
“India is like no other country. There have been crowds watching me run throughout India and most of them were interested in what I was doing. Some ran along with me for 500 mts or even 5 km. And that included people of all ages. That’s what I want to tell them. Everybody can run and I am happy to inspire them during this run,” says Farmer, who will run a total of 4,488 km during his 65-day run in India.
A multiple record holder, which also includes running from North Pole to South Pole in 2011, Farmer started his run in India from Kanyakumari and is in India with a 10-member support staff, including his TV crew. From running to Agra and seeing Taj Mahal to running at India Gate in Delhi, the athlete has seen it all and finds Chandigarh a city suitable for runners.
“This city is an example for the whole of India. There are lots of open spaces and gardens, and I got an opportunity to see some of the gardens and the lake today. The city ought to have fit and healthy people and given a chance, I would love to live here. I met lots of wrestlers, boxers, athletes during my run in Haryana and most of them were crazy about running too. I too surf, cycle and do other sports whenever I am free,” says Farmer.
Farmer’s wife Tanya Farmer also runs for some kilometres during the run in India. So far, Tanya has run for 10-15 km along with Pat’s 70-80-km-long runs every day. “Running has been a challenge for me but running in India has been a new experience for me too. Seeing Taj Mahal and running in the same city apart from running near Parliament have to be the most memorable moments of our run in India,” says Tanya.