Young Indigenous people are being giving the opportunity to run in the New York Marathon as well as undertaking certificate IV training in sport and recreation via the IMP.
The Indigenous Marathon Project has been running for seven years and aims to lift resilience and achievement within first-nation communities.
‘There’s a great fire in all of us, a hunger to be the best we can be. Unfortunately for a lot of people they never get to really ignite this fire,’ Layne Brown, a member of last year’s IMP said.
‘In New York last November I felt so normal; like I was meant to be here at this very moment in time and that running marathons was normal.
‘When you run with 50,000 people, sure 42.195km definitely does feel normal.
‘It was incredibly powerful and a reminder that I am capable, strong and resilient,’ he said.
‘I’m a proud Aboriginal man from Australia. I’ve been mentoring with AIME for seven years.
‘I was not a runner, but now I am,’ he said.
Six months training
Each year a group of 12 Indigenous Australians (six men and six women) are selected to train for the New York City Marathon with just six months of training.
Education is a compulsory part of the IMP program and all squad members are required to complete: a Certificate IV in Sport and Recreation, and a Level 1 Recreational Running Coach Accreditation through Athletics Australia.
They also get CPR, first-aid and media training.
The program hopes that the participants can use their skills, knowledge and qualifications to become healthy lifestyle leaders when they return to their communities.
The IMP was founded by former Australian marathon champion Rob de Castella.