Pat Farmer crosses equator in epic pole to pole run and calls for donations to Australian Red Cross.
Thursday October 13, 2011
Pat Farmer facing another river crossing in Panama's Darien Rainforest
As Pat Farmer enters the long and arduous next phase of his historic attempt to be the first person to run from the North to South Pole, he has urged Australians to support the cause that drives him on.
Since April, Pat has run the equivalent of two marathons every single day to raise money for Red Cross programs which provide basic access to water and sanitation for millions of people around the world.
In one of his infrequent rest breaks, Pat said "the thing that inspires me to push on through aches and pains and the incredible distance that I am attempting to cover, literally from one end of the earth through to the other, is the constant reminder that there are people in world that are holding on waiting for help, and the longer they wait the more of them die."
"The sooner I complete this journey, the sooner I raise the vital funds needed to provide them with clean water and the sooner we can alleviate many of the problems they have in their lives. That's what pushes me on."
"I've seen the work that Red Cross does in communities around the world to help the millions of children globally who die each year from a lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene. It's tough physically for me. Yeah, I'm going to feel a bit of pain along the way, but for these people this is life or death," Pat said.
In August this year, Australian Red Cross was able to use the funds that Pat has raised so far to start a water project in East Timor designed to bring fresh water and sanitation (latrines) to a village that includes a school for 1000 students, a clinic and community centre. The project survey and design have now been completed and construction is due to start in late October.
Red Cross CEO, Robert Tickner said "There are not many people who would undertake such a gruelling physical challenge and when you take into account Pat's altruistic intentions, you can't help but admire him. With the money he has raised so far, Red Cross is pleased to begin a major life saving water sanitation project in East Timor, but we still need $20,000 to complete this project and unfortunately there are many more projects on the list that are yet to start due to lack of funding."
Pat has now run over 11,000 km's of his 21,000 km journey and is due to cross the equator in Ecuador today. He recently completed one of the most challenging sections of his run - the Darien Rainforest.
"Running through the Darien Rainforest was quite a surreal experience, one that I'll never forget. I was escorted by the Panamanian security forces along trails they had never travelled before.
We crossed many rivers and literally had to climb mountains. Many times we had to scramble to higher ground when flash floods threatened the camps. The only relief from flesh eating flies, ants and mosquitoes was the cool mud that quickly gathered around the lower half of our legs. In some areas, where there was flooding, the earth would swallow us up in a muddy swamp that would rival any quick sand."
Pat is elated about accomplishing this part of the journey and is now even more determined to make it to Tierra del Fuego in Argentina - referred to by locals as the "end of the world" to set off on the final leg to the South Pole.
Read more about Pat Farmer's journey.
Visit the 'Pole to Pole Run' website.