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Pat Farmer plants Red Cross flag at South Pole

Australian ultra runner Pat Farmer raises the Red Cross flag at the South Pole after the greatest run in history.

Thursday January 19, 2012

Photo: Keoki Flagg
Photo: Keoki Flagg

They said he'd never make it. They were wrong. Today Australian ultra runner Pat Farmer raised the Red Cross flag at the South Pole after the greatest run in history.

Inevitably, there was a glitch, for nothing great is ever easy. Pat's support vehicle with his guide and supplies broke down an agonising 8 km from the Pole, so Pat abandoned the crew, and ran on alone to the Pole, where he broke down with emotion, and then planted the white flag with the big red cross in the ice at the very bottom of the world.

Pat is currently in a tent at the US base, with his feet in warm water drinking a bottle of champagne. He's spoken to his children, Brooke and Dillon and is replaying the entire experience in his head with an enormous feeling of deep satisfaction.

"I've endured a lot on this run, but the people of Africa and East Timor and South America who have no clean water or have been victims of flood, earthquake, fire and famine do it very tough too," said Pat.

Show your support for Pat: donate to the Pole to Pole Run for Water Appeal.

In his mission to raise funds for the Red Cross, Pat set out from the North Pole in early April, and ran through Canada, the United States, Central America and South America to his final destination in Antarctica, the South Pole. The 21,000 km epic trek saw Pat brave -40 degree Polar region snow blizzards, become lost in the blazing deserts of Peru, dodge polar bears, snakes, crocodiles, armed bandits and rogue militias, and narrowly miss being wiped out by an out-of-control truck. Running an incredible average 80km every day, with no days off, he has suffered dehydration, stress injuries and pushed through unimaginable pain.

"This run will take a toll on my body for as long as I live," he says, "but every step, every frustration, and every moment when I've considered, but rejected the thought of lying down and not running another kilometre, has been worth it. Running long distances is my gift, my way of making a difference. The money I raise by inspiring people from all over the planet to donate to Red Cross clean water and sanitary projects in the third world will save lives. I'm asking all Australians to dig deep and support this exceptionally important work"

Red Cross CEO, Robert Tickner says, "Pat Farmer is an inspiration to all humanity. Red Cross is extremely proud and grateful to have a supporter like Pat Farmer who has given his all in an amazing feat of physical courage and endurance to raise awareness and funds for water and sanitation projects around the world."

Pat's Pole to Pole run, however, is not quite over. Pat had to cut short his run through Chile and Argentina to make the last flight to the Antarctic in time to reach the South Pole before worsening conditions there made running impossible. He will now fly from the Pole back to where he stopped running in Puerto Montt, Chile, and then embark on the final leg of his run, 2,500 km down to Argentina's Tierra del Fuego, at the bottom tip of the Americas, to finish his run. Then, he says, "I'm going home to be with my children Brooke and Dillon in Sydney, rest up at the beach and have that meat pie with potatoes I've dreamed about."

Show your support for Pat: donate to the Pole to Pole Run for Water Appeal.

For media inquiries or to arrange interviews please contact Jodie Wainwright, Media Adviser on 02 9229 4172 or 0459 838 429 or by email.



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Show your support

You can support Pat's historic achievement through the Pole to Pole Run for Water Appeal for vital Red Cross water and sanitation programs. Donate now.