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Uluru the stage for National Deadly Fun Run


Six young athletes stand in the red dirt of central Australia.
The Mornington Island team participated in the National Deadly Fun Run for the first time.
18 Jul 2017

There can be few fun runs with a better location than the National Deadly Fun Run Championships, held in the red sands around Uluru in Central Australia. 

Over 120 athletes from eighteen communities and cities around Australia competed in the sixth running of the event, designed to promote healthy living and encourage more people to start running.  

Organised by the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF), the National Deadly Fun Run involved three and five kilometre runs, plus a community team relay around Uluru. The event’s popularity has continued to increase since its debut in 2012 and this year saw entries from Mornington Island, in the Gulf of Carpentaria, and Port Macquarie in northern New South Wales, for the first time.

Large group of people gather in a circle on ochre red soil with trees and Uluru in the background.
Participants and supporters gather before the races.

The Port Macquarie team, organised by the Indigenous Marathon Project’s first-ever graduate, Charlie Maher, made an immediate impact in their first Deadly Fun Run, taking out the title of community champions. Tennant Creek came second and, in a great result for such a small community, Mimili from the APY Lands of northern South Australia, finished third. A team from the community of Amata, also in the APY Lands, was excited to be back again. 

Port Macquarie also boasted the fastest male runner in the five kilometre race, with Zane Sparke completing the course in a time of 21:06, while Queanbeyan’s Lisa Fenson won the senior female race, finishing in 27:10. Meanwhile, one of the youngest competitors, eight year old Kiera Manning from Kakadu in the Northern Territory, has a bright future, winning the three kilometre Junior Kids, Female (under 10s) race in 16:23.

Mimili Indigenous Marathon Project graduate and Deadly Running coach Zibeon Fielding was proud of the hard work and determination of his team.

“These kids have done so well,” Zibeon said.

“Training hard for six weeks, and working hard at school. They look forward to sharing their stories of the weekend with their family and friends. I’m so proud to be their coach and be part of their journey.”

Two Indigenous adults with six Indigenous youths, all dressed in colourful clothing stand on ochre red soil with trees and other people in the background. Long shadows are forming on the ground.
Amata and Mimili Junior participants and supporters

Indigenous Marathon Foundation director Rob de Castella said the level of energy and enthusiasm among participants was testament to the growing popularity of walking and running groups in Indigenous communities right across the country.

“This weekend has been an amazing celebration of our country’s rich and diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures and spirit, held at the symbolic heart of our country,” Rob said.

“It’s also a powerful acknowledgment of the 125 community champions selected from the thousands of Indigenous runners participating in our IMF Deadly Fun Run series across the country.”

Runners from each community brought a unique, handmade message stick to use as a baton in the relay run. The runners met with the elders of the Mutitjulu community and presented the message sticks as a symbol of respect and appreciation for the traditional owners of the sacred site.

The next National Deadly Fun Run is still twelve months away but organisers are already expecting more deadly fit athletes and communities to compete and further spread the message of healthy lifestyles around Australia.

Find out more

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that Indigenous people improve their health and enjoy the emotional and social wellbeing experienced by other Australians.

The Indigenous Marathon Foundation plays an important role in this commitment, encouraging Indigenous people to live healthier and more active lives.

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