Australian Adventurer Sets “Pole” Record for Red Cross
24 February 2012 at 12:31 pm
|Pat Farmer returns home to Australia after an epic journey to the South Pole to raise funds for the Red Cross. Photo: supplied.|
After a gruelling 20,919 kilometres and 14 countries over 10 months, Australian Pat Farmer has achieved what he set out to do: become the first person to run from the North Pole to the South Pole in the name of charity.
Upon his arrival back in Australia this week, the Sydney father of two expressed how “difficult” the last ten and a half months had been.
"I felt broken and beaten so many times… Every day I felt terrible, I had aches and pains in my legs, I had blisters, I had bruises,” Farmer said.
Farmer says that the purpose for his epic adventure was to raise awareness and money for Red Cross water and sanitation programs around the world, a cause he says he is extremely passionate about.
“I can’t help but feel I am better person as result of what we have been able to achieve over this run; there’s something about doing distance, something about fighting the elements… there’s something special about doing something for another person, hurting yourself to be able to improve their quality of life.”
The Red Cross says that unsafe water and poor sanitation have claimed more lives worldwide over the past century than any other cause; and some four million people die each year from diseases associated with the lack of access to safe drinking water, inadequate sanitation and poor hygiene.
Farmer’s journey took him through Canada, the United States, Central America and South America to Antarctica.
He travelled an average of 80 kilometres a day, the equivalent of two marathons, with no days off and says that he suffered dehydration and stress injuries as a result of the rough weather conditions he faced along the way.
The Red Cross says that funds raised by Farmer have been used to fund a project in Timor-Leste connecting a school and a clinic on the outskirts of the town of Com to the settlement’s clean water supply.
It says that the money will also be used to build extra latrines at the school and fund hygiene education for the students and teachers.
Australian Red Cross chief executive Robert Tickner said that chronic water and sanitation problems are one of the greatest issues facing the world today.
“Pat has cemented his place in the history books,” Tickner said. “He’s successfully done what no one has ever done before in running from the North to the South Pole, and he’s gone a huge way towards changing the lives of people in Timor-Leste. Pat has truly done us proud.”
“The purpose of this journey was not about Pat Farmer, it was not about setting records … it was about trying to bring home a very strong message, and that was the message of humanity.”