Australian ultrarunner to attempt pole-to-pole run

Australian ultramarathon runner Pat Farmer has announced that he plans to run from the North Pole to the South Pole in an attempt to raise money for charity. The endurance athlete, who once served a decade as a member of Australia’s parliament, has already completed long distance runs around and across his home country, as well as across the United States twice.

The expedition will get underway in March of 2011, beginning at the top of the world, 90ºN. From there, it’s a 13,000 mile journey, heading south the entire way, crossing through Canada and on to the West Coast of the U.S. From there, he’ll run down into Mexico, before proceeding through Central and South America, and eventually ending up in Ushuaia, Argentina, the southernmost city in the world. From there, he’ll hop a flight to Patriot Hills in Antarctica, where he’ll resume the run until he reaches the Pole at 90ºS. The entire journey is expected to take about 11 months to complete.

Farmer’s charitable goals are just as lofty as his physical ones. He hopes to raise $100 million for the Red Cross to help fund their clean water and sanitation efforts around the globe. The inspiration for this endeavor comes after a recent trip to Southeast Asia, during which he witnessed children living in poverty and lacking common resources that most of the developed world takes for granted. Upon his return home, he decided that he wanted to do something to help.

All told, when the run is complete, Farmer will have traveled through 14 different countries on three continents. He also says he expects to shred about 40 pairs of shoes and 300 pairs of socks along the way as well. As an extreme endurance athlete, he is use to running for 50-60 miles per day on a regular basis, but he also admits that this will be the biggest challenge of his life, and that he has been in heavy training to get ready.

Come next March, we’ll see if all of that training can sustain him in the harsh Arctic conditions.