Marathon man Pat Farmer to run from Kanyakumari to Kashmir
By Jagdeep Worah
22 January 2016
Australian marathon runner Pat Farmer is geared up to begin his 'The Spirit of India Run' on 26 January, from Kanyakumari to a summit near Srinagar in the Himalayas. He will cover a distance of over 4,600 km in just 65 days.
While the chief purpose of the run is to promote friendship between India and Australia, Farmer would also raise funds for girls' education in India through Mahindra & Mahindra's Nanhi Kali programme.
Farmer will start his run on India's Republic Day, 26 January, which coincidentally is also the National Day of Australia.
He will start from Kanyakumari, run through the western coast touching Kochi and Kasargod in Kerala, Karwar in Karnataka before moving on to Goa, and Maharashtra and onward.
''I'm very excited to be running the length of India, never before have I run in a country with such diversity and steeped in such cultural significance,'' he said.
The Indian tourism ministry and the High Commission of Australia are organising the run to showcase India as a tourism destination and cement relations between the two countries.
Patrick Francis Daniel Farmer, to give him his full name, has served as a Member of Parliament from Sydney for eight years, and has been assistant minister for education and sports, among other posts.
He is a multiple world record holder for endurance running. He has run from the North Pole to the South, and across Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and North America.
Pat served eight years as a Member of Parliament, with three years as parliamentary secretary for education, science and training.
Winner of 'Achiever of the Year' awarded to him by Prime Minister John Howard in 2000, Pat has raised millions of dollars for causes during his 20 year running career, including Lifeline, Cancer Council, Australian Red Cross and Diabetes Australia
He will start his run from the southernmost tip of Kanniyakumari and conclude at Srinagar on 30 March.
During his run, Farmer will be accompanied by a television crew, which will cover the entire run and prepare a documentary to be screened multiple times on Australia's Channel 9 network.
The run is also supported by the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO), Federation of Hotels & Restaurants Association of India (FHRAI), and the state tourism departments of the various states through which he will pass, among others.
Farmer will run through the states of Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir.
The union ministry of tourism has identified 16 places en route to organize 'Incredible India Evening' events.
In South India, these events will be organized at Kanyakumari on 25 January, 2016), Varkala on 27 January, Kochi on 29 January, and Karwar on 7 February.