‘‘IF I can run from one end of the Earth to the other — you can do anything.’’
Blackwell Public School pupils have their hearts set on big dreams after those parting words from ultra-marathon man Pat Farmer during his motivational visit last Tuesday.
He had flown in from Vietnam that morning, going straight to the school from the airport.
Mr Farmer had been in Vietnam planning his next challenge: to run the length of the country, starting next month.
He spoke about his nine-month Pole to Pole adventure, when he ran 21,000 kilometres, raising $100 million for clean waterprograms for Red Cross International along the way.
He told the children it was the toughest thing he’d done.
‘‘At the start, I didn’t know what I’d taken on,’’ Mr Farmer said.
‘‘But I had a job to do. Lots of children ran with me along the way, which made it special. Would I do it again? Definitely not. It nearly killed me.’’
He answered pupils’ questions including weirdest animal [sloth], favourite country [Colombia] and the hardest part of the run [missing his two children].
‘‘This is the best school I’ve ever been to,’’ Mr Farmer told the pupils. ‘‘I’m going to tell everyone about this school. I want you all to remember that within each one of you is the ability to do great things. If you really want to do something, you’ll find a way to do it and I’m proof of that.’’
Pupils walked away inspired and were still buzzing later from the visit.
‘‘We haven’t had anyone like this for a while,’’ assistant principal Rod Woolard said.
‘‘He was animated and got down on the kids’ level.
‘‘To have kindergarten kids enthralled for two hours is not easy. It was a great way to teach the kids.’’
Teacher Jenny Naglic organised the visit after she met Mr Farmer at a book signing.
‘‘The kids couldn’t stop talking him,’’ she said.
‘‘He’s the type of guy who would do anything for anyone. He visited our school out of the goodness of his heart.’’
The pupils left a lasting impression on Mr Farmer.
‘‘Although it’s difficult to find the time to speak schools, I get more out of the children’s smiles and enthusiasm than you can possibly imagine,’’ he later emailed Mrs Naglic.
‘‘I draw strength from the memories of these moments through the struggles of my sometimes arduous life.’’