Not Humanly Possible, Is It?

Pat Farmer (Photo: Pole to Pole Run)

Close your eyes. Imagine what it would feel like to run a marathon.  Now imagine that you’ve run not just one marathon, but two marathons in a single day. Seems crazy. Now imagine you’ve run two marathons in a day, every day, for 10 months straight without a day off!

Meet Pat Farmer.  He’s an ultramarathoner from Australia who is in the process of running from the North Pole to the South Pole. He covers 50 miles a day, except when he is using snow shoes near the poles. He only manages 16 miles a day in snow shoes.

Unfortunately, Farmer isn’t as good at attracting attention as he is at running.  He is doing the run to raise money for the International Red Cross. His fundraising goal before he started was $100 million, he’s almost done with the adventure and only $100,000 has been donated.

Eric M. Jones.

I'd donate IF he ran from the South Pole to the North Pole...which is ALL uphill! Running the other way is EASY.

Mario Morgan

^ Yeah running from The South to the North would be ridiculous, but you should still donate, its for a good cause. Plus to run 50 miles a day that guy has to be in Top Shape


There are lots of good causes to donate to, and one of the best tools to decide where to donate has been featured on here a couple times - Give Well ( Organizations like that collect and share lots of info that can motivate me to give money to charity, and pick which ones out of the many good charities to give to.

On the other hand, as a couple other commneters have pointed out, choosing to give money to the red cross or not isn't really affected because an athelete has a desire to spend a year running in unusual places.

It would be great if one of the future podcasts could cover this idea in more detail, why is walking 5k (or running marathons for a year, climbing everest, ect) such a common way to convince people to give money?


Dr. Levitt,

Franklin E. Zimring seems to refute your evidence that changes in abortion laws caused the large reductions in crime. Can you post a blog about this please?


The summary made it sound like his vision was impaired while running marathons. George, George, George of the Jungle... Watch out for that tree!


The $100 million target was clearly unrealistic but I think $100k is still a decent amount.

Caleb b in other words, he could have just worked two jobs and donated his salary and saved himself the trip?


I think that he would be doing this anyway so why donate? It feels indulgent. He could have donated his time or money in a different way, given the max amount of blood everyday or something that provides a more tangible benefit.


Perhaps you could do a Freakonomic analysis of this kind of fundraising activity. I've never understood it: you have a person doing some activity that s/he enjoys or sees as a challenge, and we're supposed to be motivated to contribute money because of that?

I'd also be interested in learning how he plans to run across the Straits of Magellan, and from Tierra del Fuego to the Antarctic Peninsula.


He's being airlifted across the gaps.


He should run on a treadmill on the plane...


Not to belittle his achievement (Lord knows I couldn't do it), but that averages out to about 3 mph over a 16 hour day. That's more of a brisk walk than a jog or a run. Still, it's doing it for 16 hours a day, every day, and doesn't include breaks.

Michelle Rawdin

That just sucks. What a waste to run so friggin far and only raise $100,000. He could have traveled by car,boat and the like and probably made that much in donations. But the idea is good. And way to go on running such extremes!


Hate to spoil it for you guys but he finished on January 19th.


My only problem is that I followed the first sentence of this post literally ("Close your eyes.").

Now I can't read the rest of the post.


Now imagine that Cancer required you to have had one leg amputated.
Now imagine on that one remaining leg you set out to run a marathon each and everyday across Canada starting in St Johns Newfoundland to raise money and awareness for Cancer research.
Imagine a "Marathon of Hope".
Now imagine you kept up this pace for 143 days and 5,373 kilometres until Cancer ravaged the rest of your body and took your life- mid-run!
Meet Terry Fox. Canadian humanitarian, athlete, and cancer research activist.
Fortunately his legacy lives on. International runs in his name have raised over 500 million for Cancer research.


how did this man do it

im half his age and can't even do good fitness. he is inspiration


Perhaps you could do a Freakonomic analysis of this kind of fundraising activity. I’ve never understood it: you have a person doing some activity that s/he enjoys or sees as a challenge, and we’re supposed to be motivated to contribute money because of that?

Eric Crampton on the economics of charity runs

Gabby Solano

Pat Farmer is extraordinary- first off for having a dream and sticking with it- and second for having a dream to help others. Even though it is very sad that Farmer didn't raise as much as he would like..its better than nothing at all. At least he knows that he has people who appreciate his actions...