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Beyond the Bale : September 2015
26 OFF FARM TO QUICKSAND CHALLENGE For a man who has literally run to the ends of the earth, finding a new way to challenge himself can be the biggest challenge of all. Yet veteran ultra-marathon runner Pat Farmer succeeded in this task -- organising a gruelling marathon (42km) race on the soft sand of Maroubra Beach in Sydney. "I had been looking for a while to find something that was really challenging but that could be finished in a reasonable time frame," explains Mr Farmer. "That may sound simple but when you have run across America twice, traversed from the North Pole down through the Americas to the South Pole, when you have run all the way around Australia and across the Middle East, it's a stretch to come up with something that will challenge other people but not kill them!" The Quicksand marathon -- that included 10 kilometre and half marathon options -- was also a fundraiser, with the event raising $15,000 to Fr Chris Riley's Youth Off The Streets program. A long-time champion of Merino wool, Mr Farmer knows all too well the power of a performance fibre when competing in difficult conditions. Having worn Australian Merino wool sportswear when he ran across the Simpson Desert and around Australia in every condition imaginable, it's no wonder WOOL RISES that it is his fibre of choice when putting his body on the line. "I have been racing in superfine Merino wool for the past 17 years and together we make a great team, so if anyone asks me what's the best material to run in, the answer is naturally wool." For Mr Farmer, who, like many other Australians lives in a coastal area, is exposed to the evening coastal winds that can "cut through you like a knife". "The big advantage of natural fibres, in particular superfine Merino wool, is that it not only protects you against the cold but it breathes and prevents overheating. This is why it's the best product for active sportswear. "When I was looking to promote wool with my homegrown Quicksand run I contacted AWI and they connected me with Australian sports and lifestyle brand Jaggad, who was only too happy to help." Working alongside AWI, Jaggad produced an exclusive Quicksand running T-shirt, made from 18.5 micron Australian Merino wool, which was given to every Quicksand contestant. "All of the 100 runners competing in the event commented on the comfort of the Running legend Pat Farmer (centre) with some of the athletes preparing to compete in the soft sand of Maroubra Beach -- all wearing 18.5 micron Australian Merino wool T-shirts. tops. When it comes to performance you can't beat natural fibres, and it just makes so much sense to combine Mother Nature's resources with modern knitting techniques and blends." Mr Farmer believes there is currently a strong market for high-performance running apparel and Merino wool's versatility and natural attributes make it a natural fit. "We've seen the cycling apparel market grow, with cyclists prepared to pay a premium for quality apparel. But now I see the market out there for runners, who want a stylish and functional design without having to compromise on performance. "Merino wool is the perfect choice for athletic gear in all temperatures because it breathes so well and has excellent wicking properties. This meant the athletes on the Quicksand run didn't get chaffed under the arms or around the nipples as you would with synthetics, and it also helped to regulate the body temperature as the night drew on and the temperature cooled." MORE INFORMATION www.patfarmer.com www.patfarmersquicksand.com.au www.jaggad.com FAST FACTS • Multiple world record endurance runner Pat Farmer organised a charity marathon event in June on the soft sand of Maroubra Beach, with athletes competing in Merino wool apparel. • Collaborating with AWI and Australian lifestyle brand Jaggad, athletes were given a T-shirt made from 18.5 micron Australian Merino wool. • A long-time champion of Merino wool, Mr Farmer strongly believes there is a market for Merino wool running apparel.