Aussie marathoner vows to promote Kashmir as tourism destination

SRINAGAR: Veteran Australian ultramarathon runner Patrick Francis Daniel Farmer on Tuesday crossed the finish line at Srinagar, culminating his 4600-km run across India.
The 53-year-old former Australian Member of Parliament who started his marathon from Kanyakumari in South India on August 26 vowed to promote Kashmir through his social networking sites including twitter and his personal website.
An elated Farmer, who took this epic run through India to raise money for disadvantaged girls, was received here by Srinagar deputy commissioner Farooq Lone and director tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah at Nishat Garden.
“This is an historic day for me to have finished it in Kashmir.
I had never imaged Kashmir would be this much beautiful,” Farmer said.
“I have already given interviews to international media especially from Australia where I talked about Kashmir’s beauty. Kashmir is very beautiful. I will definitely promote it among Australians and in other countries,” said Farmer.
Farmer said the purpose of the run was strengthening the relations between Australia and India, raise funds for disadvantaged girls in India through the Nanhi Kali Foundation and to inspire people, both in India and Australia, to follow their own dreams and make a difference as individuals.
Pat reached Kashmir on March 28 and was given a rousing reception at Banihal Tunnel.
Shah said the historic last leg of the marathon to Kashmir will promote Valley as tourism destination not only in India but in Australia and other countries.
“These steps would help generate awareness about Kashmir’s beauty and its hospitable people,” said Shah.
Farmer said he managed to slice a day off the expected 65-day duration “out of sheer worry” that he would not finish due to landslides and mudslides along the route.
“The roads had been dissected, and there were some days where they would only let the traffic move in one direction, although we had both army and police escorts,” he said.
“I was able to climb over the top of all of that and keep pushing through, sometimes with mud up to my knees. My crew went the long way around and caught up with me,” he added.