Meeting the Americans and the Americas

Published on 04.07.2011 - Pole to Pole Run

Above left: reception at the australian embassy. Maryland : Farmer needs a special permission to cross a bridge

Above left: reception at the australian embassy. Maryland : Farmer needs a special permission to cross a bridge

© Farmer's website

Pat Farmer is continuing to publish his short videos recounting the highpoints of his amazing adventure on a more or less daily basis. With some surprises on the way...

A video per day or almost and we discover - from two to three minutes of footage - what Pat Farmer is in the process of living throughout his running trek through the deepest America. It’s a pity however that we do not have the dates that go with the anecdotes that he relates, because we would then have a better idea of the pace with which this Australian marathon runner is progressing towards the great South that he wants to reach.

We can nevertheless get a bit of an idea because, in one of the videos published on his website, he had arrived at the town of Charlotte in North Carolina, the largest city of the state, with some 730,000 inhabitants. There, once more, he met the authorities of the local Red Cross and ran a few miles voluntarily accompanied by representatives of this institution.

The most astonishing aspect of this unfolding adventure is that everywhere where Pat Farmer passes, he receives the warmest of welcomes and he is even often received by the local authorities who take pleasure in granting him a photographic souvenir and a few words on what he is in the process of accomplishing.

In this video, we see him making a stop in a restaurant on the side of the road for his breakfast; he has hardly opened the door before all the customers sitting at the tables get to their feet to give him a standing ovation. In yet another, we follow the course of a family that was looking for him for two days before finally finding him running along some asphalt that he was burning up. Embraces, congratulations, etc.

Above left, a gaz station dedicated to fifties and sixties. Right : meeting with the president of American Red Cross.

Above left, a gaz station dedicated to fifties and sixties. Right : meeting with the president of American Red Cross.

© Pat Farmer's website

Another video shows how Farmer goes about crossing a bridge (in Maryland), which is forbidden to pedestrians. We literally witness the moment live when the police intervene before going to see the bridge authorities and finally allowing him to run across the bridge (two miles) under there escort …

And then the most surrealist video is undoubtedly the one where Pat Farmer is receiving treatment at the foot of a little Korean and Vietnam War Memorial from a doctor who heard about his adventure and his minor tendinitis problems and who had agreed to treat him for nothing. Here, we are at the limit of “live” and stage-management because Farmer is treated on a genuine physiotherapist’s table, which of course could not have been there by chance.

The only things furthermore that are slightly regrettable in this kind of communication and in this adventure are that we never see behind the scenes (except for shots of the following van or vans), that we never get to know with the Marathon Man’s support team and that we don’t have the faintest idea of the way in which he is looked after on a daily basis…

Apart from that, this means that discovering the deepest America and the Americans is not only interesting but also effective. Farmer has clearly well understood what the word “communication” means and what the Web would be able do…

Also to be seen for discovering the deepest America is the video where the local firemen douse Farmer with one of their hoses in order to give him a nice little shower (see photograph bottom left).

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