We recently interviewed ultra marathon runner Mr. Patrick Francis Daniel aka Pat Farmer for successfully completing his Spirit of India run. Those who do not know him, Pat is a multiple world record holder for endurance running who undertook his dream run across India to raise money for girl education. Dedicated to helping humanity, this extraordinary human has run from the North Pole to the South Pole, raising AUD$ 1000,000 for Red Cross International. He ran the Middle East Peace Run covering Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and Palestine, as well as the 3,000 kilometres Vietnam Run.
Pat commenced his Spirit of India Run in the southernmost tip of India, Kanyakumari on the 26th of January 2016, and finished in Srinagar on the 29th of March. Pat ran a total distance of 4,416.7 kilometres in just 64 days!
We feel fortunate to interview Pat and to get to know more about his Spirit of India Run experience, challenges and dreams. It is not easy travelling across the country, let alone running! Read his interview below:
Indus Discoveries: Why did you choose India as the destination for your run?
Pat: I chose India because there is no other country on earth where you have such diversity of Landscape, Culture and Climate. In Kerala I was in the tropics, in Rajasthan I had deserts sprinkled with Palaces, and in Kashmir I experienced the lakes of Srinagar and snow fields of Gulmarg.
Indus Discoveries: For overseas travelers, India can be a daunting country to plan for. What were the challenges that you faced while planning your run?
Pat: The challenges of planning a run that started in the southern most point of India and finished in the Himalayas involved dealing with multiple layers of government from District collectors to state and Federal ministries and departments. Thankfully, in the end, I was able to deal through the department of tourism who put me in touch with the India Tourism Operators association and they coordinated the accommodation and travel for my film crew and myself.
Indus Discoveries: Which were the most scenic route and the toughest in your Spirit of India run?
Pat: I find it difficult to state the most scenic part of my route through India, but there were 4 places that stand out and they were Kerala, Goa, Rajasthan and Kashmir.
Indus Discoveries: During the run, you must have interacted with villagers and other locals. Any memorable experience from these interactions?
Pat: Yes, when I ran into the State of Maharashtra I was greeted at the border by literally thousands of people that almost crushed me with excitement, they then placed a traditional head piece on me and escorted me across to an area to plant a Mango tree. This is a symbol of prosperity because of the fruit it would bare and the shelter it would provide from the searing heat and weather. I then gave a small speech before trying to corral the two thousand well wishes into some sort of orderly running fashion for the next 5 kms before I was finished for that night. I have run all over the world but never had such huge and enthusiastic receptions anywhere else on earth.
Indus Discoveries: Will you come back to visit India? Is there any place you missed out on that you would like to see?
Pat: I will definitely come back to India in fact i have already been asked to run down the Eastern side of India and finish on the 26th of Jan 2017. I would start in Gulmarg, go through to Ladakh, then down to Calcutta, the Orissa province and along the East coast to Tamil Nadu and Kanyakumari.
If you want to contribute towards Pat’s noble cause, please click on this link https://www.mycause.com.au/page/116763/the-spirit-of-india-run to help him to raise funds for girl education in India. For the Spirit of India!