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Farmer Returns From Middle East To Tackle City2Surf

By Tom Penistone on August 7, 2014 in News

Photo: Pat Farmer

Photo: Pat Farmer

It’s that time of year again when the crowds swarm to Bondi in skimpy clothing and the beach becomes overrun with people enjoying what looks like the world’s biggest sausage sizzle. No ladies and gentleman, this isn’t Shorething; this is the City2Surf.

Established in 1971, the gruelling 14-kilometre run takes competitors from Sydney’s city centre, past notorious night spot Kings Cross, along some of Australia’s most iconic coastline (via the ego-shattering ‘Heartbreak Hill’) and on to the finish line at Bondi Beach.

One of the 60,000 plus competitors in this year’s race will be Maroubra local Pat Farmer. A 52 year-old father of three, Farmer is no stranger to distance running, although 14-kilometres is not something he would likely call ‘distance’.

Born and raised in Darlinghurst, Farmer moved near to Maroubra over ten years ago. Many locals will have often seen him running laps of the sand down at Maroubra Beach, or charging up and down the Eastern Suburbs coastal walk.

A multiple record holder for endurance running, his major achievements include running from the North Pole to the South Pole, across Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and North America.

He is currently ranked third in the world for running 1000 miles on a track, is a two-time record holder for crossing the Simpson Desert, and he also currently holds the world record for running 10,000 kilometers (which he completer in just 129 days).

Over a twenty-year running career, Farmer has raised millions of dollars for multiple causes including Lifeline, Cancer Council and the Australian Red Cross. He also served eight years as a member of Australia’s parliament. In 2000, he was awarded the ‘Achiever of the Year’ award by then Prime Minister John Howard.

Farmer’s most recent expedition, The Middle East Peace Run, concluded on the May 20 this year. The 20-day run started in Lebanon, and passed through Jordan, Israel and several Palestinian territories. The aim of the run was to raise awareness in the Middle East and back home in Australia for peace.

“Often all we hear about are tragedies and war, but people are just the same in the Middle East, it’s just they are caught up in the conflict. They loved the fact that someone from as far away as Australia cared for them,” he said.

Racking up an average distance of 70-80 kilometers per day – or the equivalent of nearly two marathons – the run was deemed a success, with numerous people and media outlets in the Middle East supporting and joining him along the way.

Now back from the Middle East, Farmer has his sights set firmly on the City2Surf, a race he regularly competes in and one that he holds close to his heart.

“The race is full of iconic spots right from the start at Hyde Park to the finish at Bondi Beach. What I love most about the race is that is doesn’t matter what age or gender you are, everyone is competing on an even keel,” he said.

Although Farmer is capable of running the race in under an hour, this year he will be entering the race in the charity group category, running for the Australian Red Cross. He has been training a group of locals who will be running for the same cause, and he’ll be doing his best to ensure that they all get across the finish line.

“The race just has an incredible community spirit and provides people with a great opportunity to raise money for charity. You get cheered on the whole way, from a gorilla playing the drums to children throwing buckets of water out of windows,” he said.

This year’s City2Surf will be held on August 10. You can donate to Red Cross Australia through www.patfarmer.com.au. If you’re interested in learning more about The Middle East Peace Run, Channel Nine plans to show a documentary in September.

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