Farmer back after fundraising run through India

Australian ultramarathon runner and former federal MP Pat Farmer has arrived back in Australia after a 64-day fundraising run through India.

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He is hoping his run will help pay for the education costs of thousands of disadvantaged Indian girls.

After 64 days and more than 4,000 kilometres, Pat Farmer is home.

Farmer touched down to a hero’s welcome from Indian government and community figures in Sydney.

He arrived from Delhi after the two-month saga where he ran from Kanyakumari, in the country’s south, to the foothills of the Himalaya Mountains in the north.

Mr Farmer says the run has exposed him to many different sides of life in India.

“(It was) good to see the diversity — the deserts, the mountains, the oceans, the seas, the inlands and the people themselves. So many different cultures, so many different religions.”

Mr Farmer embarked on the run to raise funds to provide education to disadvantaged girls in India.

He says there were big challenges along the way.

“Including the moments when I was very, very dehydrated and had to be hospitalised for the afternoon. I then got back out on the road later on after that, after being rehydrated, and continued on running from there.”

His wife, Tania Farmer, was with him during each step of the journey, accompanying him in a convoy that followed.

She marvels at what he has done.

“Everything that’s put in front of him, to still get up every day and just, literally, one step at a time, day after day, and then, finally, he makes it, it’s just … like I say, it’s just an incredible thing to witness.”

So far, Mr Farmer has raised more than $33,000 to help fund the girls’ education.

The consul general of India in Sydney, B Vanlalvawna, was waiting for him at Sydney airport.

Mr Vanlalvawna says the journey has also helped forge a stronger bond between India and Australia.

“I think that the impact … the visibility which he has generated across India will continue to have a lasting impact in the minds of people both in India and Australia.”