SRINAGAR: When former Australian parliamentarian Pat Farmer proceeded from the Jawahar tunnel in south Kashmir on the last leg of his ultra-marathon, two young Kashmiri athletes ran with him to the Mughal Garden Nishat in Srinagar, where Pat’s 4,600 km-long journey concluded.
Pat, a professional athlete who has run from the North Pole to the South Pole, across Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam and North America, began his journey in India about two-months ago. He walked about 80 kilometers a day to end his long journey in Kashmir on Monday last week.
Kashmiri athletes Ehtisham Khan and Tanver Husain walked about 107 km with Pat from the tunnel to the finish line.
It was their longest at-a-stretch run, completed in two stretches within two days: one from Jawahar Tunnel to Awantipora completed in 11 hours, and the other from Awantipora to Nishat covered in six hours.
Ehtisham (18), a student, is a passionate adventure sports’ athlete. In his career, he has participated in six Indian national tournaments, became a top runner in Jammu and Kashmir, and won a bronze medal in artificial rock-climbing.
Tanveer (23), a self-trained athlete, has also represented Kashmir in the national level events held in India. One of the most successful runners in the state, Tanveer has won most marathons he participated in.
The purpose of the ultra-marathon was strengthening of the relations between Australia and India, to raise funds for ‘disadvantaged’ girls in India through the Nanhi Kali Foundation, and to inspire people in both the countries to follow their dreams and make a difference as individuals.
While Pat had practiced hard before he embarked on the long journey, the Kashmiri duo walked the distance without any prior practice and training.
“It was an impromptu display,” Ehtisham told Kashmir Reader.
“A day before the start of the run, I was asked to participate in it. I had no practice, and it was going to be the longest run in my life. But love for the sport and desire to run along with Pat did not make me fearful of the distance. I enjoyed it.”