Ben Ferris aka Ferris Gump is a man who likes to run. He does it in his budgy smugglers and his thongs and he’s just back in Byron Shire after having run all the way here from the Sydney Opera House.
If you are wondering why then you’re not the only one but as I discovered it isn’t just that he loves running, which he does, it is because he is raising awareness about the environment and raising money for drought-stricken farmers.
Starting out just over a month ago Ferris ran about 50km a day, about a marathon a day – or a ‘marathong’ as he likes to call it. That was about 8 to 10 hours of running a day pushing a 80kg trolley in front of him all the way as he currently doesn’t have a support team.
On his way up the coast he dropped into local schools to talk about why he was running as well as planting native trees and fruit trees in the towns he runs through.
‘My own project is RunFerrisRunn Australia and I want to plant a native tree and fruit tree in every city and major town,’ said Ferris.
On his way to Byron he planted ten trees with the eleventh, a mandarin tree donated by Mitre 10 in Mullumbimby, being planted at Mullumbimby High School yesterday (he thought he’d get more formally dressed in his shorts rather than budgy smugglers for the tree planting).
‘Running is the most carbon neutral way to travel and you can cover huge distances,’ said Ferris.
In fact he has previously run from Townsville to Darwin, run across England and Belgium as well as running through Indonesia pulling a solar panel to promote solar. And of course as a local lad from Kyogle and Byron Bay he was the winner of last year’s Chinny Charge locals category.
Running on water
No he’s not getting into a car fuelled by water he’s planning to run on water up the coast from Byron Bay to Cairns.
‘I’ll be running on a Hobo Mirage Eclipse stand up peddleboard to raise awareness about the issue of water,’ Ferris explained.
And he’ll be raising donations for the ocean cleaning Seabin Foundation, an Australian registered not-for-profit organisation. The Seabin was developed by local Pete Ceglinski and his friend Andrew Turton. The Seabin is a floating device that cleans the ocean collecting plastic, rubbish, oil, detergents and fuel.
Summit to Sea
The Summit to Sea forum is being run by the Seabin Foundation in association with clothing brand Patagonia, the organisation which is presenting the Summit to Sea event at the Byron Theatre on April 4 from 5pm.
The forum will showcase conservation efforts from all sectors and how inspiration, positivity and innovation can fast-track progress in conservation.
‘The summit will have 16 speakers presenting in a TEDx style format with live music, coffee, dinner and some amazing raffle prizes’, says Ferris.
Ferris will be speaking at the forum and then will be setting off on the Cairns leg of his journey the day after the conference on Friday April 5.
The trip to Cairns on water is around 2,000kms and he expects it will take around two months to complete on his paddleboard.
‘The towns I’ve been through have been really generous and putting me up. For example Discovery Park in Byron has just put me up for two nights. If I’m in between towns then I camp out in nature my tent.’
If you would like to donate to the projects that Ferris is working on or find out more on his Facebook page @runferrisrunn.