Pole To Pole Run Update: Halfway There!


A little more than a year ago, I wrote about Australian ultrarunner Pat Farmer, who was planning the massive undertaking of actually running from the North Pole to the South Pole. Since then, I hadn’t really heard much about the expedition, but it turns out that it launched on schedule this past spring and Farmer is continuing to make impressive progress.

Dubbed the Pole To Pole Run, and not to be confused with the Pole2Pole Expedition, Farmer set off from the North Pole last April and has been heading south ever since. Traveling across the arctic on foot, and sometimes kayaks, Farmer made his way to Quebec, Canada, then has continued across the eastern United States, down into Mexico, and through Central America, arriving in Panama this week. Thus far, he has covered approximately 12,500km (7767 miles) and is about to start the next phase.

After crossing the Panama Canal, Pat will now make a daring trek through the Darien Gap, a dangerous stretch of jungle that is home to drug runners, bandits, and insurgents. For this stage, which is roughly 250km (155 miles) in length, he, and his support team, will be escorted by armed guards to ensure their safety.

Once he’s cleared that section, he’ll continue into South America proper, where he’ll keep running until he reaches Tierra del Fuego at the end of the continent. That will tack an additional 9693km (6022 miles) onto his journey. From there, it’ll be on to the final stage, which will be a crossing of Antarctica beginning at the Ronnie Ice Shelf and ending at the South Pole, 900km (559 miles) later.

This is a truly epic expedition to say the least and it seems that Farmer could indeed accomplish his goal of running from one pole to another. However, if he’s going to make the 2011 Antarctic season, he’s really going to have to make good time on his way across South America. Most expeditions to the South Pole will get underway in November to allow plenty of time for the crossing of the Antarctic continent. If he misses that window, he may have to wait until next year to complete his run, or risk horrible weather conditions for his crossing.

Either way, it should be fun to follow along with his adventure. Below is a video that was posted to the Pole to Pole Run website a few days ago and gives you an idea of what kind of conditions Pat has been running in recently.

Kraig Becker