Indigenous Marathon Project 2019
This year’s Indigenous Marathon Project squad has trained for 6 months and for 9 of them, will fly for 20 hours and run 42 kilometres in a day at the New York Marathon. The other 3 will run at the Boston Marathon in April 2020.
But, for the collection of teachers, mentors and parents who make up the team - the longest journey will be the internal one.
Ex-Olympian Rob de Castella said there was no App or Fitbit that could measure the transformative work necessary for a person to reach the finish line of a marathon.
‘With running - the pain and the struggle makes you strong,’ he said.
‘And the harder the struggle the greater the reward. We want them to go from virtually no running to being ready for the marathon in 6 months – not 4 years.’
The 6 men and 6 women chosen for the squad each year are located in communities in every state and territory of Australia – helping spread the foundation’s message reach as far as possible.
Narrinda Dempsey, a 27-year-old Kalkadoon woman, was surprised to be selected for this year’s squad. She is a mother of 3 daughters and she joined a gym nearly 3 years ago to lose weight and be a good role model for her children.
‘I need to show them that anything is possible if you knuckle down and work hard,’ she said.
Former footballer Tyrone Bean, 27 is scheduled to run in Boston in 2020. He joined the squad to help show young people there is life after AFL. His football career was cut short by injuries and he now works as a teacher in Melbourne.
‘Success for me will be being able to get back up after years of surgeries and setbacks to run a major marathon,’ he said.
Mr de Castella said 190 applications had been received for this year’s squad.
‘We talk about ripples a lot – to send ripples around the country and around the world,’ Mr de Castella said.
‘The runners are the ripples we are using to drive change and show Indigenous resilience and Indigenous achievement.’