• Amardeep Singh, Pat Farmer and Larkhan Sharma

    Amardeep Singh, Pat Farmer and Larkhan Sharma

  • Tania and Pat Farmer with British High Commissioner Menna Rawlings

    Tania and Pat Farmer with British High Commissioner Menna Rawlings

  • Sarina Smith and Stephen Arnott

    Sarina Smith and Stephen Arnott

  • Marita Forde and John Stephen with Rob Thorman

    Marita Forde and John Stephen with Rob Thorman

  • Angad Johar and Amardeep Singh

    Angad Johar and Amardeep Singh

  • Smitha Ajay, Sarika Bajaj, Anil Kalra and Pragna Mehta

    Smitha Ajay, Sarika Bajaj, Anil Kalra and Pragna Mehta

  • Indu Arore, Madhu Vats and Alka Asthana

    Indu Arore, Madhu Vats and Alka Asthana

  • Anu Sharma, Katie Walsh and Nicole Browne

    Anu Sharma, Katie Walsh and Nicole Browne

  • Lisa Martin, Stephen Dziedzic and Shalailah Medhora

    Lisa Martin, Stephen Dziedzic and Shalailah Medhora

  • Claudia Hyles and Ilhaam Soeker-Jadwat

    Claudia Hyles and Ilhaam Soeker-Jadwat

  • Peter Clarke, Jonathan Kenna, Geraldine Tyson and Sheba Nandkeolyar

    Peter Clarke, Jonathan Kenna, Geraldine Tyson and Sheba Nandkeolyar

  • Neeru Johar and Chief of Protocol Lyndal Sachs

    Neeru Johar and Chief of Protocol Lyndal Sachs

  • NGA Director Gerard Vaughan and Khushbir Johar

    NGA Director Gerard Vaughan and Khushbir Johar

  • Tooey and Simon Elliott

    Tooey and Simon Elliott

  • Claudia Hyles with High Commissioner Navdeep Suri and his wife Mani

    Claudia Hyles with High Commissioner Navdeep Suri and his wife Mani

  • High Commissioner of India Navdeep Suri and his wife Mani

    High Commissioner of India Navdeep Suri and his wife Mani

Spirit of India - Pat Farmer's Endurance Run

20 April 2016

It’s hard to understand long distance running when our sedentary lifestyle puts us firmly on the couch with spreading butts and diets to give doctors apoplexy, but maybe a compromise is where the effort should be. Not so for Pat Farmer. He is an endurance runner of extraordinary discipline and enthusiasm for his efforts to raise money for chosen charities and to set himself what would seem to be impossible goals.

He has recently completed a run in India from Kanyakumari in the tropical south to Srinigar in the north, a journey of over 4,500 kilometres at a steady pace of 60-80 km a day. Yes that’s every day with a fair stint at ‘public speaking’ along the way to publicise and raise money for the education of girls in India and rest and recover to do it all again the next day. Imagine that....

I met Pat Farmer after his Pole to Pole jaunt that left me incredulous of his effort to run 21,000 km and realise that this Spirit of India effort is really just a stroll for this man with a passion and motivation above and beyond that of most people. But with each journey, and there’s been a few, it’s the stories he tells and the motivation he engenders just by making you feel totally inadequate that is a lesson in the power of what can be achieved if you make the effort. I made the effort to travel through part of India in the New Year and can assure you that any kind of road running is fraught with danger, not just from the traffic, animals, people, weather and terrain, but the lonely mind boggling boredom running causes. I’m not a fan and am quite happy to walk the walk where in India that too can be an obstacle course. But I do admire Pat Farmer.

The High Commissioner of India Navdeep Suri and his wife Mani hosted a reception and dinner for Pat and his wife Tania and an eclectic mix of Indian and Australian guests at their Mugga Way residence with a motivational speech from Pat that included many of the highlights of the run and heartfelt thanks to his major sponsor adani, congratulatory speech from the High Commissioner and a sneak peek at a film being made about the run which will be a mammoth coup for India tourism’s promotion in Australia. It will be a salutary lesson for anyone who wants to run, as you count the sneakers, socks and paraphernalia required for this gallivant in India with the precautionary Police escort at the front and an ambulance at the back but some of the best faces and places you’re likely to see.

We dined finely on a night when this long season of balmy weather was perfect for a buffet in the backyard in this lovely Canberra residence where the first flag in the world to celebrate India’s Independence was unfurled on 15 August 1947.