FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Gold Coast Marathon to Host Indigenous Runners
A squad of 11 Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander runners selected by the
Indigenous Marathon Project will run at this year's Gold Coast Airport
Marathon (30 June -1 July) in preparation for the New York City Marathon
later in the year.
The six male and five female runners in the Indigenous Marathon Project are
being mentored by Gold Coast Airport Marathon Ambassador and four-time
Olympian Robert de Castella. They will be running in either the ASICS Half
Marathon or Southern Cross University 10km Run on the Gold Coast as part of
their six month training program for New York.
The Indigenous Marathon Project, which started in 2010, annually selects a
group of young Indigenous men and women to compete in the New York City
Marathon with the overall goal of increasing physical activity and
promoting healthy lifestyles in Indigenous communities.
The group, who come from some of the most remote places in Australia, will
arrive on the Gold Coast for race weekend and will share their vision of
increasing physical activity and promoting healthy lifestyles in the
One runner who will be pounding the pavement on the Gold Coast will be
21-year-old student Grace Eather from Maningrida in the Northern Territory.
Grace said she feels a sense of responsibility to promote health and
wellbeing to the younger Indigenous generation.
"I want to see that we are able to make a change in our own communities and
have the same opportunities as young people in the cities, and that young
Indigenous people can do whatever they want when they put their mind to
it," said Grace.
Residing in Milikapiti in the Tiwi Islands (100 kilometres north of
Darwin), 19-year-old Kieren de Santis said he was determined to stick to
the six month training program and complete his race at the Gold Coast
"When I got the phone call I was very proud of myself. Now that I am in
this position, I just have to prove that I can stick with the program and
do the training so I can get somewhere," said Kieren.
"This will change my whole world. I want to show others around the
community that it's not hard to change your lives."
Indigenous Marathon Project founder and mentor Robert de Castella said the
Gold Coast Airport Marathon will be an eye-opening experience for the group
as they continue their journey to New York in November.
"Imagine coming from one of the most remote, isolate and driest parts of
Australia to the Gold Coast, and then being one of tens of thousands of
others, running at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon," said de Castella.
"Most Indigenous Marathon Project runners didn't even know what a marathon
was in February and at the Gold Coast Airport Marathon, they will be
running a half marathon off just three months training as they track
towards the full marathon distance at the famous New York City Marathon in
just four months.
"Along the way, they will get fitter than ever, see and do some amazing
things that will inspire them, and learn about looking after the health of
their communities through their Certificate III in Community Recreation
(Indigenous Healthy Lifestyle)."
Minister for Tourism, Major Events, Small Business and the Commonwealth
Games, Jann Stuckey, commended the partnership between the Gold Coast
Airport Marathon and the Indigenous Marathon Project.
"The Gold Coast Airport Marathon is one of the world's greatest running
events, and the Indigenous Marathon Project continues to be an important
aspect of the event, supporting the determination of the group as they
strive for New York."
"Last year we welcomed more than 50,000 visitors to the Gold Coast for the
event, building Queensland's reputation as Australia's number one tourist
More than 130 people applied to be part of the Indigenous Marathon project
with the final 11 chosen after lengthy national try-outs and interviews.
30-year-old Emma Cameron from Darwin is a Northern Territory netball
representative and aims to demonstrate to the Indigenous women population
that participating in sport can increase confidence.
Anna, 19, and Nicky Kerindun, 21, from Aurukun, Queensland are both aiming
to make a change in their community. Anna has the goal of building a PCYC
for young children in her hometown, while Nicky wants to be a strong role
model for her community.
21-year-old Amber Parker from the Hunter Valley, New South Wales wants to
utilise her chance with the Indigenous Marathon Project to experience more
of her Indigenous culture and become more involved in her community.
22-year-old AFL fanatic Marius Clarke from Gunbalanya in the Northern
Territory does a great amount of work in Indigenous communities helping
young children and hopes to continue to be an inspiration for his family
29-year-old Justin Gaykamangu from Ramingining, Northern Territory, wants
to set a positive example for his son and continue his presence in his
community, especially in organising sporting activities.
A first grade rugby player from Newcastle, New South Wales, 26-year-old Nat
Heath wants to use his opportunity with The Project to promote education
and health in the Indigenous community.
Alice Springs local, 22-year-old Korey Summers is currently undertaking a
traineeship in computer networking and engineering and hopes to make a
positive difference in his community and share his running talents.
30-year-old Jurgean Tabuai from Townsville, Queensland wants to take his
passion for running to the next level and inspire others in his community
to take up the sport.
For more information on the Indigenous Marathon Project visit
Entries for the 2012 Gold Coast Airport Marathon are open. For more
information or to enter visit www.goldcoastmarathon.com.au
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