Another 12 Indigenous Australians have completed the Indigenous Marathon Foundation’s (IMF) Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP), running a moonlit marathon in Alice Springs on Saturday 31 October to mark the project’s tenth year.
IMF is headquartered in Canberra, founded by local champion marathon runner Robert de Castella and strives for educational outcomes for Indigenous Australians, underpinned by the importance of physical activity.
Since its inaugural year, 108 Indigenous Australians have trained and run a marathon whilst also studying a Certificate IV in Sport and Recreation in line with a wider educational program.
Mr de Castella said the program had provided incredible results for the Indigenous community, and he was proud to see another marathon event on Saturday night.
“It is the personal and family commitment that every single IMP runner has that provides them with the purpose to push on and finish,” he said.
“In so many ways, it is both a privilege and an obligation they carry. To now have 108 IMP graduates, who have not just run a marathon, but also competed the IMP education program, is incredible.”
The marathon location is usually in New York City, however was shifted to Alice Springs, where the program selection originally started, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions.
Just 10 years ago, no Indigenous Australians had run a major international marathon until four Indigenous men travelled to the United States with the IMP and completed the New York City Marathon in 2010.
Mr de Castella said he was beyond proud of the 12 Indigenous men and women who had completed this year’s marathon in Alice Springs.
“It doesn’t matter how fast or slow you run, when you run a marathon you are a marathoner, and nothing tests you like the marathon,” de Castella said.
“This has been the most challenging year ever and that is good, because I want these men and women to know how strong they are, and you only find this out in the tough times.
“I am so very proud of them all. It also shows their family and the entire country how determined and strong our Indigenous people are.”