Thursday June 2, 2011
He has survived the threats posed by polar bears, dangerous crevasses and appalling weather and the worst is yet to come. Australia's ultra marathon runner Pat Farmer has now completed the first milestone of his epic journey by crossing the North Pole, conquering 760 km on foot dragging a 100kg kayak through the ice.
Now on the mainland, he's swapped snowboots for joggers, encounters with arctic ice bears for grizzlies and temperatures of minus 40 degrees for sweltering temperatures in the 40's.
Pat Farmer has already completed 1000 km on Canadian soil and in just under a week will cross the Canadian border to start the USA stage of his run.
He is attempting to run from the North Pole to the South Pole - a challenge not yet accomplished by any individual on earth.
Reflecting on his achievements so far Pat said,'The Arctic ice cap is humbling. Trying to cross it was the hardest thing I have ever done. It involved climbing three metre high walls caused by sheets of ice smashing into each other, swimming across icy water for up to forty metres and suffering hypothermia from falling into the ice - each obstacle beaten, while dragging a kayak.'
'It was the greatest feeling to hit land, thank God this section of it is finally over.'
Embarking on the daunting land section of his epic journey in Raddison, Quebec Pat said 'this run has been my dream for more than half my life. And to touch the lives of so many needy people is all the motivation I need. Something I have always kept firmly in mind is that this run isn't about me, and it's not even really about running a route that has never been attempted before. It's about getting funds to thousands of needy people worldwide through Australian Red Cross. I am serious about raising millions of dollars for this cause. The rest is details.'
Pat Farmer is undertaking this momentous challenge to highlight the needless deaths of millions of people around the world each year caused by lack of clean water. Money raised for the Pole2Pole Run For Water Appeal will be used to deliver clean water and sanitation projects, with a focus on helping the millions of children globally who die each year from a lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
Australian Red Cross CEO, Robert Tickner said 'We are incredibly proud of the amazing progress Pat has made and congratulate him on reaching dry land. We are in awe of his resilience and determination and we send our continuing support and encouragement as he continues his run on dry land to make a real difference to the lives of millions.'
Pat Farmer will continue to run the equivalent of two marathons a day (80km per day) over the next year with no days off as he travels through 14 countries including Mexico, El Salvador, Panama, Columbia, Peru and Chile.
'18 million more steps to go. Stay with me Australia - South Pole here I come!'
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