The halfway point for Australian ultra-marathoner Pat Farmer was marked with a visit to the home of one of India’s greatest leaders.
On the way to Ahmedabad, the largest city in the state of Gujarat, Mr Farmer and his crew stopped by Sabarmati Ashram – the home where Mahatma Gandhi developed his plans for an independent India.
“Today I had the great privilege, one of the greatest moments of my life, to be able to step inside Mahatma Gandhi’s home,” Mr Farmer said.
“I went to his home and I sat down on the floor, and I thought to myself that this is the same place that Mahatma Gandhi lived. I looked around walls and I looked at such a humble home that he had.
“I realised that the greatest achievers on this planet are not the ones who have the most amount of wealth, the greatest achievers are ones who have the biggest hearts.
“The achievers on this planet are the ones who are prepared to sacrifice themselves for others; they’re the ones who are prepared to hurt a little bit so others may not hurt at all.”
Yesterday was also the day Mr Farmer passed the 2300km point, approximately halfway between Kanyakumari and Srinagar.
To celebrate this achievement, Incredible India – the cultural and marketing arm for the Ministry of Tourism – had a function for Mr Farmer and his crew at Ahmedabad.
In attendance was the CEO for solar manufacturing at Adani, Sameer Vora; Liang Zeng, a representative from the Australian Consulate General, and regional director for India Tourism Vikas Rustagi.
Mr Zeng said Mr Farmer’s journey has been inspiring for people across both countries and said the Australian government would support Mr Farmer all the way until the end of his journey.
“I’ve been following Mr Farmer’s run over the past month and I’ve noticed a lot of warm welcome and support provided to him by both the Indian government and the Indian people,” Mr Zeng said.
“Not only is Mr Farmer a person of great will power and endurance, he is also a great ambassador for Australia. Mr Farmer has not only raised millions of dollars for charity, but he also generated a lot of good will for Australia.
“There is no better way to deepen two countries’ relations than by creating a people-to-people link. It’s about getting Australians to know India and vice versa.
“So by doing this run, he’s helping to strengthen our bonds even further. The film being made about the run will help Australians to see, at home, how beautiful and exotic India is and will help establish India as a must-see destination for Australians to visit.”
During Mr Farmer’s address to the press in Ahmedabad, he spoke about how many of the villages and communities he’s run through were in dire need of basic amenities.
“I’ve seen communities where they don’t have electricity, we ran through so many villages where they don’t have one of the most basic necessities,” Mr Farmer said.
“I reflect on that and I think to myself how important it is that we get some of those basic needs to some out there.
“The numbers are staggering, more than 300 million people within this country don’t have something as simple as electricity to be able to light their way.”
He lauded the country and Adani’s push towards solar energy and commended their approach of using domestically produced and supplied solar infrastructure to boost their economy.
The ultra-marathoner will finish the Gujrat leg of his run on February 28 and will continue into Rajashtan – a state famous for its deserts, wildlife and cultural heritage sites.
He began his run 32 days ago in Kanyakumarai, the southern-most tip of India which was also the resting place of Mahatma Gandhi’s ashes.
Updates and donation links can be found on patfarmer.com