Australian ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer will reach the halfway mark of his 4600km journey across India when he arrives in Ahmedabad, the largest city in the state of Gujarat, on 25 February.
As he arrives in Ahmedabad he will have run more than 2300km in 30 days.
Mr Farmer reflected on the purpose of the Spirit of India journey, which started on January 26, 2016 from Kanyakumari.
“This journey is to highlight and promote the best that India has to offer to the world,” Mr Farmer said, noting he was excited to be in the home province or Prime Minister Modi.
The runner lauded the efficacy of the electoral system in a country with almost 1.3 billion people as well as the steady growth.
“India is a true beacon of hope and I highlight that so the rest of the world may learn from India.”
While the halfway mark is an important milestone, Mr Farmer said he still has a long way to go.
“This journey is painful,” he said.
“But if it wasn’t difficult then no one would pay attention; if I’m able to push myself through every single weather condition that I face along the way, if I’m able to keep going through all of this then, and only then, will people be inspired.
“I’m just an ordinary person, and if an ordinary person can put one foot in front of the other and never give up, even though they feel like quitting and stopping, than unlocked in all of us is the same ability to be whatever we want to be.”
The halfway point will be marked on the evening of 25 February, when Incredible India – the marketing and cultural arm of India Tourism – hosts a function for press and special guests. It will start 6.30pm at Hotel Silver Cloud, Ahmedabad.
During his Gujarat leg of the run, he was joined for 24 hours by Jackie Lauff, the CEO of developmental agency Sports Matters.
Mr Farmer has been considered a long-time champion for the agency as a sports diplomat and advocate.
“Since we work in many developing countries all the time, it’s sometimes difficult to translate that experience and supporters in Australia,” Ms Lauff said.
“I think with Pat and this run, it’s a very similar situation. But our team will do whatever we can to share the messages of the Spirit of India Run and we will continue to support and encourage this phenomenal man’s efforts for the next 2300km.”
As well as attending the functions, Ms Lauff also ran with Mr Farmer and has asked people across the world to support the Nanhi Kali foundation.
“It’s hard not to be inspired when running next to this man,” she said.
“He is putting himself through an extreme physical feat and pushing the boundaries of this body and his mind every day.
“We can help him by sending messages of support, but more importantly by donating to support his dedicated cause, which will make a difference in the lives of girls in India by opening the door to education and new opportunities.
“This has been one of the highlights of my life, not just running alongside Pat Farmer but being here and experiencing the impact the Spirit of India run is having on the crew, the spectators, the scores of school children and millions of people coming out to support the run.
“Nothing matches this.”
The Spirit of India Run is expected to finish on 30 March when Mr Farmer is due to reach Srinagar.
Updates and donation links can be found on patfarmer.com