After six months of running, adventurer, ex-politician, and Order of Australia recipient Pat Farmer is within sight of Uluru, the final destination in his 14,000km run around Australia to raise awareness for the upcoming referendum on the Voice to Parliament.


Over the past six months, Pat has covered between 30-80km daily, hot-footing his way around the country to raise awareness, support, and engagement for the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice to Parliament on his ‘Run for the Voice’ campaign.

Read more: Unpacking the Voice to Parliament

Farmer set off from nipaluna / Hobart in April earlier this year with one goal: to engage with as many people from as many different places as possible, advocating for empowering First Nations Australians to have a voice in our national parliament. His deadline is to reach Uluru by the 14th of October, the date of the national referendum.


The running route!

Who is Pat Farmer?

For OG ultra-running fans, the name Pat Farmer will be familiar to you. Pat’s first foray into running was in 1983 when he competed in the now infamous Sydney to Hobart race, which saw unknown Victorian dairy farmer Cliffy Young blitz the athletes of the time to win the race in an astounding five days, fifteen hours and four minutes. Pat was just 18 years old at the time.

Coincidently, as he tackles his second lap around this continent, he’s the same age that Cliffy was when he caught the world by surprise; a sprightly 61 years of age. Since his first ultramarathon, Pat has gone on to traverse 23,300km between the North and South Poles in 2012, which saw him negotiate jungles, ice shelves, and numerous continents over the six-month expedition, raising funds for the Red Cross. Watching Cliffy defy expectations some 40 years ago still inspires Pat today.


Why is Pat running?

I had the pleasure of catching up with Pat in August, on his 115th day of Run for the Voice while he was on the NSW Central Coast. Although he’s now at an age where most people would be ready to call it a day on such epic achievements, Pat believes this opportunity to advocate on such a paramount issue was too important to pass up.

‘I think that as you get older, you realise that you only have a certain amount of time on this planet, and it’s significant that you make your life count for something,’ Pat explained.

‘Raising money for all of those causes was great, and supporting those causes, and maybe even saving some lives through all of that, was fantastic and very noble. But those causes will always be there; those needs will always be there.’

‘But with this particular run, a change in our constitution to support the First Nations people of this country will give them an opportunity to be able to change their lives forever.’

Along the journey, Pat has met with thousands of people and had conversation after conversation about what the Voice would mean for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

Through having one-on-one discussions, he has been able to address concerns, dispel misinformation, and share stories of the First Nations communities he’s visited, not only on this trip but also on his previous lap around Australia in 1990 to celebrate the Centenary of Federation.

Follow Pat’s Final Days

As Pat’s incredible run draws to a close, you can follow his final days in the Northern Territory via Stravalive tracking and Instagram. If you’re going to be in the Red Centre next week, get around Pat and watch him finish at Uluru on Wednesday 11th of October.

And if you’re worried that there’s not enough fuel left in the tank for Pat to make it these final weeks, well, he’s never not finished an undertaking he’s started. As the formidable Cliffy Young once told Pat, ‘You can’t win unless you finish’. And what’s at stake this time is too crucial for Pat to ignore. In Pat’s words;


‘There are very few runs that you can do or very few things you can stand up for where you can actually make your mark in history, change the course of history for the better and support people long after you have gone.’

With early voting now open across the country, now’s your opportunity to cast your vote. If you’re undecided, these words from Pat might help you decide which side of history you’ll be on.

‘This is our moment. If we don’t take this opportunity now, it will be another generation before it ever happens again.’


Feature image courtesy of Pat Farmer