2018 IMP squad


Jess Bartholomew is a Bigambul woman from Inglewood who was inspired by fellow Queenslander Michael Purcell’s IMP experience in 2011. She is currently studying to be a nurse and says her work is the perfect platform from which to promote Indigenous health and be a positive role model. Jess has two young sons and wants to show them what a determined woman can achieve. She previously played touch footy, and is excited by the challenge of taking on a marathon. Jess hopes to grow her self-confidence as she joins the squad and shares her IMP journey with the wider community.


Otis Carter of Port Lincoln, SA, is a keen health and fitness advocate. In his role as a Tobacco Action Worker he educates the community on the risks of smoking and gives talks to men’s groups, schools and at events. He plays AFL and basketball and tries to fit in a 5km run a couple of times each week. Otis is driven to learn more about his Aboriginal heritage and looks forward to the opportunity of meeting others like him who have overcome challenges and used their strength to improve the quality of life in Indigenous communities.


A Nyiyaparli/Jabir Jabir man, Damien Crispin is following in the IMP footsteps of Broome men Adrian Dodson-Shaw and Scott Cox. Damien is keen to learn to be a leader and a role model in his community. He wants to set a good example to local children, build self-confidence and develop a leadership role through the challenges that IMP sets. He is currently involved in the local Aussie Rules team and also plays basketball.

 Loren Fejo

With a sporting background in netball and volleyball, Larrakia/Warumungu woman Loren Fejo acknowledges that distance running will be a whole new challenge. The 29-year-old from Darwin plans to blog about her marathon journey and set a strong example for others who want to take on something different. Loren views physical, mental and emotional wellbeing as three parts of the whole that need to be addressed when tackling Indigenous health. She will rely on her brother, and a close friend in the Weekend Warriors fitness program to help her with her marathon training program over the next six months.

Debra Hegarty

Debra Hegarty Is a 29-year-old gym assistant from Gordonvale, Queensland, who has come through the ranks of the Cairns Deadly Runners. She credits 2015 IMP graduate Harriet David with motivating her to try out for the squad. Debra says it is important that she uses her IMP experience to show others in her community the physical and mental benefits of running, as it is a sport in which everyone can get involved. She would love the opportunity to promote healthy lifestyles in Indigenous communities by raising the profile of Deadly Running Groups and seeing them expand across the country.

John Hill

John Hill of Dubbo wants to use IMP as a platform to learn life skills that he can then share with the Aboriginal children with whom he works. A Wiradjuri man, John is a keen boxer who last year completed his first half marathon. He has also been out running with IMP graduates Nathan Riley and Charlie Maher. John is keen to tackle the big issues and break the cycle of drug abuse he sees in his community. By using fitness initiatives to become a leader, John believes he can inspire other young people to turn their lives around.

Rachael Howard

Rachael Howard likes to run because it makes her feel good and keeps her on track with both mental and physical fitness. A full-time student, Rachael juggles her studies with work in the John Hunter Children’s Hospital. Rachael wants to show people how exercise can change lives for the better, including her own.  She would like to implement holiday programs for school children to teach them how important – and fun – exercise is, and let people know that they are not alone when they take up fitness challenges that put them firmly outside their comfort zone.  Rachael is from Thornton in the Hunter Valley of NSW.

Cyrus Morseu

Cyrus Morseu is a 19-year-old Wakaid man from Badu Island in the Torres Strait. Last year, Cyrus decided he needed to take better care of his health and inspired by Badu boxer Karim Yorkston, dropped 50kg of his body weight. Cyrus says he now feels much healthier and more positive about himself, and running has become a hobby he intends to continue. It will be a big year for Cyrus, who is currently in year 12 at school on Thursday Island, and is also studying for his coxswain boat license.

Torey Rickerby

Perth and Kimberley man Torey Rickerby is a student of mechanical engineering at university and is heavily involved with the School of Indigenous Studies. He credits four former graduates of the IMP with sparking his interest in the program, and is looking forward to showing his younger siblings that hard work and a keen focus lead to goal attainment. He says he would like to use his position in IMP to inspire others to lead healthy lives and foster healthy relationships. Torey is a keen sportsman, with a background in AFL, basketball and more recently, Muay Thai kickboxing.

Michaela Skuthorpe

Michaela Skuthorpe is a Ngemba woman from Brewarrina who has been involved in many exercise programs throughout the years, including colour runs and aqua aerobics. She is an Aboriginal Health Practitioner, who believes in rewarding an individual’s commitment with incentives such as organised trips to community fitness events. Michaela deals with patients suffering from chronic disease on a daily basis, and knows that preventative measures are the best way to address health issues in the future. This philosophy influences both her work and home life, and she’s looking forward to showing others in her community that she can take on the challenge of the New York City Marathon… and inspire others to push themselves.

Jikola Whyman

Jikola Whyman is a Yorta Yorta man who is currently studying exercise and health science at university in Melbourne. He says that learning to run a marathon would help him gain confidence, and teach him the skills to train his own running groups. Making physical activity normal in Indigenous communities is a particular goal of Jikola’s. He has previously played basketball, netball, volleyball and soccer, and loves AFL. Jikola plans to use his degree and the qualifications he earns through IMP to help change health outcomes for his people.

Rikki Wilson

Rikki Wilson of Adelaide has seen firsthand the difference that IMP has made, having followed her cousin Tahnee Sutton’s 2016 journey. She says distance running will be a challenge for her, as she has never run for more than 30 minutes before. Rikki’s excited by the prospect of setting a marathon goal and achieving it, and says the exposure she gains through IMP will give her the skills to develop fitness programs in her community. She’s looking forward to pushing her physical limits and making exercise available to other mothers who don’t have money for gym memberships, but want to look after themselves and set a good example to their children.