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24 May 2018
The influential Indigenous Marathon Project will continue setting a healthy track record across Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities, thanks to new investment of almost $3 million by the Turnbull Government.
The Minister for Indigenous Health, Ken Wyatt AM, said the commitment would allow the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) to continue the popular Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP) for a further three years.
“Since 2010, scores of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young men and women have graduated through the marathon project but their dedication and positive outlook continues to influence a vastly greater number of young people,” Minister Wyatt said.
“The program has given them qualifications and experience in leadership, communications and the principles of healthy living, with many still actively involved in delivering running and wellbeing programs in communities across the nation.
“Like their legendary mentor Rob de Castella, they are now mentoring our young people for a healthier future.”
The IMP recruits a group of 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women aged between 18 and 30 each year to undergo endurance running training, physical and mental health first aid studies and public speaking and media training.
The group also participates in a six-month educational and leadership training program, with graduates receiving a Certificate IV in Sport and Recreation and a Level 1 Run Coaching Certificate. After completing these courses and a 30 kilometre trial run in Alice Springs, they are eligible for selection to run in the annual New York City Marathon.
IMF Director Rob de Castella said he was thrilled to see ongoing support for his marathon project vision.
“In just eight years, 75 young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women have been through the program, emerging as inspirational, qualified and respected leaders and health promotion role models,” Mr de Castella said.
“It is what they do after IMP that really matters, drawing on their new skills, confidence and qualifications to drive and inspire change within their families and communities.
“I look forward to continuing working in partnership with the Department of Health, First Peoples communities and our graduates to continue to spread the message of ‘run, sweat, inspire’ throughout the country.”
This year’s squad includes participants from the Kimberley, North Queensland, the Torres Strait and regional Victoria, South Australia and New South Wales.
Minister Wyatt said many marathon project graduates had successfully gained permanent employment as health and education professionals and continue to act as champions for Closing the Gap in health equality.
“Just this week, we have applauded project graduate and local health practitioner Zibeon Fielding, who’s run a 62 kilometre ultramarathon across the APY Lands, raising tens of thousands of dollars for kidney health in the process,” the Minister said.
“This is what marathon squad members do every year, promoting healthy lifestyle messages including more physical activity, having regular health checks and addressing issues around mental health, chronic disease, obesity, smoking, and alcohol and substance abuse.”
Media contact: Nick Way, Media Adviser 0419 835 449
Authorised by Ken Wyatt AM, MP, Member for Hasluck.