Running for Mid East peace

Running for Mid East peace

ULTRAMARATHON runner Pat Farmer will run 1600 kilometres from Lebanon to Israel in the name of peace next month.

ULTRAMARATHON runner Pat Farmer will run 1600 kilometres from Lebanon to Israel in the name of peace next month.

The former Australian politician, who ran from the North Pole to the South Pole in 2011, will complete the 20-day “Middle East Peace Run” through Lebanon, Jordan, Israel and the West Bank, finishing in Jerusalem.

He hopes to use the feat as a way to inspire others to come together in the name of peace, as well as to show off the region to the world.

“I grew up with a lot of kids from the Middle East so I’ve been inspired by their stories of the beauty of the people and the places there; and I want to show the Australian public that side of the Middle East, rather than the side that they’re often bombarded with by the local media,” he told The AJN.

“Israel is an incredibly beautiful place and we know its people to be of that nature as well.”

Along the route, Farmer will be joined by both children and adults for short sections of the run.

“We’re trying to encourage as many people as possible to run with me,” he said.

“And not only in the countries where I’m running, but also back here in Australia as well. If you’re inspired by what I’m doing, then I want you to get out there, do a run and dedicate it to this cause.”

He said the run represented a “grassroots approach” to peace.

“If this is driven from the grassroots level, by the people on the ground, and just in support of it by simply running with me, then I think that’s a pretty powerful petition to take to the various leaders to be able to say, ‘look, this is what we want, we want peace, so just get on with it,’” he said.

He added that “you don’t get fun runs or marathons happening every day of the week” in the Middle East.

“What we take for granted is something that we should cherish and we should appreciate – this freedom to be able to go out there and play sport, run around the streets, get fit and healthy, look after ourselves and compete regularly side by side with our neighbours, and get to know them a bit better,” he said.

Farmer acknowledges the run will be a challenge. He cited the variation of terrain and weather conditions, safety and different government restrictions in different countries as factors he will have to be prepared for.

“I see there being many challenges, but at the end of the day, the one thing that I’ll revert back to every single time is the fact that we’re all one in humanity,” he said.

“I’ll draw on my own political experience as well, being able to defuse situations and being able to work with everybody and anybody.”

He is being supported by the governments of the countries and territories he will run through.

“I have had a very cordial meeting with the Israeli Ambassador in Canberra,” he said.

“They will be more than happy to support the event and they believe in what I’m trying to do and they believe in me.”


Pat Farmer in training for the run.

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