Former Australian MP sets off on 4,600 km 'Spirit of India' marathon run

Kanyakumari (TN): Former Australian MP and ultra-long distance runner Pat Farmer today set off on a 4,600 km marathon run of the country, during which he will promote bilateral ties besides aiding a charity for education of the girl child.

53-year-old Farmer, also a former junior minister, set off on his 'Spirit of India' journey from the southernmost tip of the country and plans to cover about 60-80 km a day before ending his marathon run in Kashmir.

The start coincided with the Indian Republic Day and the Australia Day.

"I am very excited to be running the length of India, never before have I run in a country with such diversity and steeped in such cultural significance," he was quoted as saying in a release by the Australian Consul General here.

"I am sure that this will prove to be the most incredible run that I have ever done," he said.

Another release said Farmer would not take any break during this period and that "he has also tied up with a leading charity to raise money for the education of the girl child". He ran from the North to the South Pole in 2011-12 and raised more than A$100,000 for Red Cross International's clean water programmes while in 2014, he ran more than 1,300 km in two weeks through the Middle East to raise money and create awareness for peace initiatives in the region, the release said.

Starting in Kanyakumari, Farmer and his team will journey via Kerala, Karnataka, Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat before moving to Rajasthan, Uttar Pradesh and Delhi and then into Haryana, Punjab and Jammu and Kashmir. He will be accompanied by Anupam Sharma, a well-known Indian-Australian film maker, "who hopes to produce a top quality documentary at the end of the run", it said.

Corporates supporting the runner include The Adani Group and Mahindra and Mahindra, besides national carrier Air India.

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