Thiruvananthapuram: Australian endurance runner and former parliamentarian Pat Farmer, who began a run across India from Kanyakumari on Tuesday, was warmly received by people in Kerala on Wednesday.
With his run “Spirit of India”, Farmer hopes to raise 100,000 Australian dollars (about Rs.48 lakh).
His run for charity from Kanyakumari to Kashmir aims to raise funds for the education of girls, cementing relations between India and Australia, encouraging tourism and personal relationships and creating awareness about India as a tourism destination.
Kerala officials was present at the state’s border to receive the 53-year-old Farmer, who later interacted with students and locals.
Farmer will travel a distance of 4,600 km and aims to reach Srinagar, the finishing point, on March 30. He plans to cover around 76 km a day.
The first leg will see him run across Kerala before crossing over into Karwar in Karnataka.
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He will then run along the western coastline through Goa, Maharashtra, Gujarat and beyond.
“I feel very privileged to be here in this beautiful state. I love the palm trees, I love the fact that it’s close to the ocean because my home in Sydney is close to the ocean as well,” said Farmer.
During the run, he will visit schools and other educational institutions to talk about the importance of education and health.
“It’s important that people, especially young people, are inspired and come to understand that problems can be tackled by ordinary people putting one foot in front of the other,” Farmer said.
“My driving force, what keeps me going, is being able to make a difference. I care about supporting people, about helping people,” he added.
He has completed similar runs in the Middle East — a 20-day campaign spreading the message of peace over a 1,500 km stretch from Lebanon to Jerusalem, as well as in Vietnam.
He also holds the record for the longest continuous run around Australia.
He is also known for his astonishing year-long 20,000 km slog across 14 countries between the Earth’s two poles in 2011.
His runs have also gone the distance in terms of raising funds for their intended charities.
The five-stage polar crossing — described as “The Greatest Run in History” — raised $100 million for the International Red Cross in aid of its relief programmes in the developing world.