After 13,000 agonizing miles, taking him from the North Pole to the South Pole, it was the last few steps that were the most rewarding for Pat Farmer — into the loving arms of his children.
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The ultra-marathon runner flew into Sydney from Argentina on Thursday to be greeted by his daughter Brooke, 17, son Dillon, 14, and a number of proud relatives and supporters.
The 49-year-old former Australian lawmaker left the North Pole on April 2 last year and ran across 14 countries, taking 10 months and 13 days. He covered 50 miles a day, the equivalent of nearly two marathons.
His return completed an epic, record-breaking run which has so far raised AU$107,367 (US$115,215) for the International Red Cross — and it was the first time he had seen his children in almost a year.
"There was not one easy day in the whole journey," Farmer said. "Every day I felt terrible. I knew [that each] day was a day I never had to face again. There’s something about doing distance, something about fighting the elements; there’s something special about doing something for another person, hurting yourself to be able to improve their quality of life."
Brooke said her father was an inspiration and her family were all proud. The children’s mother, Lisa Farmer, died in 1998, aged 34.
"He has looked after Dillon and me so well, and even that in itself, he deserves an award without even [doing] the run," Brooke said. "He deserves it for just being such a great dad. He is an inspiration to me."