The concept for the IMP back in 2009 was the brainchild of Matt Long, founder of Good Oil Films and a lifelong supporter of Rob’s. Matt was interested in whether Indigenous Australians could rival the African dominance of long distance running, given the cultural similarities, despite Australia’s lack of Indigenous distance runners on the world stage.
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 inspired other Indigenous Australians and by the end of 2017, IMP had seen 75 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women over the finish line of a major international marathon. All took with them a formal education qualification, providing them with the skills, knowledge and ability to establish running and fitness groups in their communities and ensure the IMP ripple transforms into a tsunami.