040 – Pat Farmer – One Step at a Time (Part 2)

Ultra-Marathon Runner & Former Federal MP

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This is Part 2 of the Pat Farmer story:

If Pat Farmer’s story was a movie you’d think it too far fetched to believe.

For more than 20 years he has been running ultra-marathons. Crazy, long runs – the length and breadth of entire nations. Continents. Even the globe.

Among his epic journeys, Pat has run the length of India and Vietnam. He’s run from Lebanon to Jordan. Across the entire USA. He has even run a lap around Australia.

And – believe it or not, he has run from the North Pole to the South Pole. More than 20,000km – averaging 65km per day for more than 10 months.

Amongst all of those incredible events, he found time to spend 9 years in Canberra as a Federal Member of Parliament.

During our conversation Pat tells us all about his running career, how he got started, how he trains, what he eats and drinks, why he loves running for charities and how running has shaped his philosophies on life.

He also tells us – with astonishing honesty – about his time in politics. The lessons he learned and the forces that really drive our political system.

And, as a huge bonus for the podcast, Pat gives us the scoop on the next epic run he has planned.

This conversation was recorded in front of a live audience at an event in Pyrmont hosted by Techni-Clean Australia and Bounce Rehab.

Pat Farmer talks to David Frizzell for the Team Guru Podcast


Part 1 (8 September)

  • Introductory to running (you’re not going to believe the story of how Pat got into running)
  • Developing as a runner – seeking advice
  • Planning his epic runs
  • The Pole to Pole
  • Nutrition
  • Training regime
  • Developing his own solo runs
  • Up coming race – an announcement

Part 2 (15 September)

  • Political Career
  • Running tips and advice
  • Audience questions about running
  • Pat’s philosophy on life

Lessons Learned – Part 2

Here’s what I took from the episode:


No matter your political lens, Pat’s message from his time in politics is that ‘it’s a bloody tough job’ – especially if you’re in it for the right reasons

‘You are public property’

After his Centenary of Federation run in 1999 John Howard called him and asked if he’d consider running at the next election for the Liberal party. Pat hung up on him twice – he thought it was his brother playing a practical joke

‘I live by a simple philosophy – opportunities come along and we either take them or live with regrets’

‘The worst thing that could happen was that I’d give it a shot and if I didn’t get elected at least I’d have known that it wasn’t for me’

Q – What surprised you about your time in politics?

A – Often people would be picked for a role not because of their skills or experience – it’s more about who is owed favours or deserves a promotion politically

We rely heavily on government departments – and it’s just as well that we do because often the Minister ‘doesn’t know what the hell they’re doing’

‘Everything is a trade-off in politics which is why we don’t often get the best people for the right jobs. Thank God for the people at the next level down’

Pat has always remembered something Ronald Reagan when he became US President:

‘I’ll surround myself with the best people I can find and I’m smart enough to listen to them’

That’s the sign of any good leader

Philosophy – One Step at a Time

Take an enormous task and break it into bit size pieces

Pat has never looked at his runs in their entirety – just one day at a time

Running helps to put life into perspective


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