The concept for the IMP back in 2009 was the brain-child of Matt Long, founder of Good Oil Films and a life-long supporter of Rob’s. Matt hypothesised whether Indigenous Australians could rival the African dominance of long distance running, given the cultural similarities despite Australia having had no Indigenous distance runners on the world stage.
A seed was planted, soon watered with Rob’s intrigue and the IMP roots soon took hold.
After scouring the nation in 2010, four Indigenous men – Charlie Maher and Caleb Hart both from Alice Springs (NT), Joseph Davies from Kununurra (WA), and Juan Darwin from Maningrida (NT) – were identified as having the courage, determination and resilience to tackle six months of gruelling training to make it to the start of the New York City Marathon.
None of the men had any prior running experience and hailed from some of the country’s, and the world’s, most remote Indigenous Australian communities.
Charlie, Caleb, Joseph and Juan all had their own personal hardships and injuries throughout their IMP journey, but all four made it to the start line of the world’s largest marathon.
And all four finished.
These men became pillars of inspiration future Indigenous Australians and by the start of 2017, IMP had graduated 65 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island men and women over the finish line of major international marathons and all took with them a formal education qualification, providing them with the skills, knowledge and abilities to establish running and fitness groups in their communities and ensure the IMP ripple, one day, transforms into a tsunami.