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Pat Farmer Wants Simpson Desert Record18 November 1996
Pat Farmer isn't at all worried about any snakes which might be in his path as he runs across the Simpson Desert. Nor is he concerned about clambering over more than 1,000 towering sand dunes in blistering 50C heat.
But the champion runner does have one fear - not finishing the course -- when he sets out on December 16. "I won't even let myself contemplate failure," the 34-year-old ultra-marathon runner said during a training jog along the Bondi cliffs. Farmer is attacking the record for the non-stop run of 379 kilometres across the Simpson -- a record set 10 years ago by Ron Grant, who ran from the Alka Seltzer Bore to the Birdsville Hotel in three days, 17 hours and 52 minutes.
On the way, Farmer will eat 28 bananas a day, drink 30 litres of water and suck at least 10 tins of fruit in an endurance marathon which he aims to finish in 72 hours. He feels competing twice in the 4,719-kilometre Trans-America Footrace, considered the world's toughest test, has given him a good start.
The record-holder, Ron Grant, who retired after the event, said the route was awful. "It's an unbearably hot and difficult run across soft sand with no firm footing," he said. But Farmer isn't daunted. "I like setting myself new challenges." He says the support and love of his wife, Lisa, and baby daughter, Brooke, inspire him to keep going.
Although he has raised thousands of dollars for charity, Farmer has found it tough to obtain sponsorship and has often taken out loans to enable him to complete events. He doesn't believe in special equipment, diets or machinery. His training schedule means getting up at 4am to run at least four hours before going to work in his full-time job as a landscape gardener.
Farmer is scheduled to be in Hong Kong this week for a 100-kilometre race through the mountains, which he says will be a good warm-up for his Simpson Desert challenge . Despite the love he feels for his family, Farmer says the best moment of his life was when he got a big kiss from a sweaty Greek bloke.
That was from world champion distance runner Yiannis Kouros after Farmer stormed past him on a seven-day run through a Tasmanian blizzard. "Kouros only ever kisses the people who beat him," he said. "That kiss meant more to me than even a kiss from my wife. It was a sweet moment".