“I’m hoping to show other Aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders that anything is possible when you put in the hard work
I joined a walking to running program and this is a great example of what you can achieve out of something as small as that.
Growing up I wasn’t a sport person but it’s not all about sport, it’s about a holistic view and making a change for the better, I want people to think ‘if Cara can do it than so can I’.”
Queanbeyan mother Cara Smith has just completed a remarkable journey at the New York marathon on Sunday (see her Story Part 2 below )
“The running the New York Marathon has given me a lot of discipline.
The main reason why I joined the squad was to be a positive role model for my family and for my community. People see me doing this and hopefully it gets them on the right; if you put in hard work you get rewarded for it.”
Speaking from Central Park New York Roy Tilmouth said the IMF running project had inspired him to be a positive role model for his community in Alice Springs.(see story Part 1 Below )
Update 9.00 am good news all 10 completed #NYM
Background news coverage Part 1 of 2
GROUP of indigenous Australians planning to participate in this weekend’s New York City marathon say the terror attack in Manhattan will not deter them from the race.Indigenous Marathon Foundation director Rob de Castella said the squad never considered pulling out.
“Absolutely not – I refuse to change my way of life and my aspirations and dreams based on what some radical, rat bag people do because once you start doing that, then terrorism wins,” he said.
The IMF project turns indigenous Australians from beginners to marathon runners within six months in an effort to promote healthy lifestyle choices, resilience and success.
“Most of them have done no running and they’ve gone from struggling to run three kilometers or five kilometers to six months later running 42 kilometers non-stop,” he said.
Participants also have to complete an education component, which this year featured an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health and First Aid course.
De Castella said the runners, many from remote and regional areas, have experienced profound transformations as a result of the program.
“They realize that they’re so much stronger than what they were,” he said. “They want to make life better for their community because they are exposed to so much dysfunction and suicide, loss, suffering, abuse and alcoholism and they want it to stop.
“They realize that it has to start with them so this experience transforms them and makes them realize they are strong and that they have the capacity to drive change and address those issues they want stopped,” he said.
Twelve indigenous Australians will run in the world-famous New York City marathon, thanks to de Castella’s mentoring program. In the lead up to the marathon, the participants had to complete several challenges, including a 30-kilometere run in Alice Springs.
Speaking to News Corp Australia in Central Park before a practice run, Roy Tilmouth said the IMF running project had inspired him to be a positive role model for his community in Alice Springs.
“The running has given me a lot of discipline,” he said.
“The main reason why I joined the squad was to be a positive role model for my family and for my community. People see me doing this and hopefully it gets them on the right; if you put in hard work you get rewarded for it.”
Another mentee of De Castella, Layne Brown, said that his daughter had inspired him to prove something to himself.
“I’ve lost 20 kilos on this journey and I’m trying to live a better way than I have in the past,” he said.
“I stuffed a lot of things up and I want to be a better person and keep working towards that and running has been my vehicle for that over last six months”.
For Perth’s Luke Reidy, the running project offered an avenue to tackle his depression.
“I had a few deaths in the family and got depressed and I just want to highlight how physical exercise can also help with mental exercise,” he said.
Mr Reidy said he was humbled by the amount of people who had followed his progress and given their support throughout the process.
“The amount of people that watch your journey that you don’t know and they come up to you – it’s really humbling.”
Queanbeyan mother Cara Smith will complete a remarkable journey at the New York marathon on Sunday. Photo: Rohan Thomson
Smith has been part of a gruelling six-month training program under the tutelage of Australian marathon legend Rob de Castella as part of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation.
The 30-year-old was one of 12 people selected from more than 150 applicants after sharing her story with de Castella of wanting to fight a long family history of diabetes and obesity.
Smith has braved 4am training sessions in the the Canberra winter said she has herself through it to be part of something special and inspire her one-year-old son.
Smith said she was couldn’t wait to arrive in New York and soak up the atmosphere ahead of one of the biggest challenges of her life.
“I’ve been looking forward to this all year, I’m super excited and really nervous too so it’s a good mix but I just want to get started,” Smith said.
“I don’t know what to expect but I just want to soak up atmosphere and I can’t wait see my son’s face when I show him the New York marathon medal and talk to him about it one day.”
There will be unprecedented security at the event following the recent terrorist attack in New York which claimed six lives.
Smith prepared with five training camps which included a 30km effort in Alice Springs last month, the longest the group have run in preparation for the 42km epic.
“The final 12km will be pure willpower, I have a strong purpose and that is my son and setting up a healthy active lifestyle for him to aspire to,” Smith said.
“I want to set an example and I’ve done the training so I’m confident I’ll get there, I know it’s going to be tough but I’m really looking forward to the challenge.
“I want to see what the infamous wall throws at me, I’m really pumped for the final hurdle and I just hope the body and mind will hold up.”
De Castella said Smith’s sense of purpose is what will carry her the final 12km when her body is screaming to stop.
“In the marathon you always get to a point when you ask yourself ‘why am I doing this’ and it’s really important to have a really strong answer to that question,” de Castella said.
“The marathon doesn’t start until 30 km and that’s as far as they’ve ever run so they just have to get themselves to starting line and then it’s about hitting the wall and pushing through soreness and fatigue and blisters and exhaustion and pain.
“The only reason you keep going because is the reason of why you’re doing it and Cara’s reason is she wants to be a great model for her child and a leader for the community.
“These are everyday people, mums and dads and single parents, they’re not elite athletes, not high-flying academics and doctors and lawyers, they’re just everyday people that have basically had a gutful of all of the struggles and the problems in life and they just want to be part of a change going forward.”
Smith hopes her performance will inspire those in the indigenous community who are looking to make positive changes in their lives.
“I’m hoping to show other aboriginal and Torres Strait islanders that anything is possible when you put in the hard work,” Smith said.
“I joined a walking to running program and this is a great example of what you can achieve out of something as small as that.
“Growing up I wasn’t a sport person but it’s not all about sport, it’s about a holistic view and making a change for the better, I want people to think ‘if Cara can do it than so can I’.”
Press release from Federal Government