Pete Jacobs

Pete Jacobs is one of Australia’s most recognised professional triathletes. He has had a string of successes in the past eight years including an 8th place at the Hawaii Ironman World Championships in 2009 which showed Pete’s promise of being World Champion one day. At Hawaii in 2010, his 9th place (after a 4 minute penalty stop for taking too long to pass on the bike) was thanks to running the 3rd ever fastest marathon at the Hawaiian Ironman, and the fastest of the day, a 2:41:05. Then, in 2011 Pete proved to everyone and himself he is one of the best triathletes in the world by being runner up at the World Championships, and once again had the fastest run split with a 2:42:29. Regarded as one of the world’s premier Ironman swimmers and runners, Pete knows his ability on the bike is there to use, and showed this when he won Ironman Australia 2011 in Port Macquarie after an 11 minute lead off the bike. Pete is an avid supporter of IMP and the organisation’s objectives and direction. He has also mentored IMP graduate, Nat Heath, throughout Nat’s running and triathlon competitions.

Dave “Robbo” Robertson

‘Robbo’ has loved running for as long as he can remember, from the barefoot days on the school athletics track to more recent long-distance road running events. In 2004 he ran his first City 2 Surf and hasn’t looked back since, completing multiple marathons and half marathons around Australia and the World, as well as finishing an Ironman. Based in Newcastle, Robbo is heavily involved with the parkrun movement serving as the Communication Manager for parkrun Australia, as well as working on a number of running and athletics media projects such as hosting Athletics Australia Live Streams, The Naked Runners Podcast and race-day colour commentary as part of the duo Mossy & Robbo. A qualified Physio, Robbo uses running as a vehicle to promote getting more people moving more often, a mission he is passionate about. Robbo is an incredibly passionate and enthusiastic supporter of IMP. He has been mentor to former IMP grad Nat Heath, MC’d at IMP charity functions, and co-hosted the first ever IMP New York City Marathon Live Stream in 2014. Robbo is also responsible for initiating the IMP Naked Runner headband tradition – where he formally presents a headband to a nominated member of each year’s IMP squad!

* Random fact: Robbo shares the exact same birthday as fellow IMP Ambassador Kurt Fearnley.

Caroline Buchanan

Caroline has been involved in sport from a very young age, and took up BMX riding when she was just five years old, after following her older brother. At age 15, she transitioned into mountain bike riding, and then downhill mountain biking. Growing up in Canberra, she has represented Australia in both disciplines, earning 11 Australian Champion accolades for BMX and Australian Mountain Biker of the Year on three separate occasions. In 2012, she represented Australia in her first Olympic Games in London, where she won the time trial, and made the final. Caroline still enjoys both BMX and mountain bike riding, and is excited about what the future may hold for her in the two disciplines. Caroline has been a long supporter of the Indigenous Marathon Project, and has worked closely with Rob de Castella during her sporting career.

Aunty Pam

Aunty Pam is a Yorta Yorta woman and an Elder of the Victorian Aboriginal community. She is also the daughter of Pastor Sit Douglas and Lady Nicholls who fought for the struggle of all Aboriginal people and was the first Aboriginal Governor of South Australia. Aunty Pam is a Master athlete in many sporting events such as swimming, triathlon, running and sailing. She took up triathlon at the age of 59 and is active in promoting healthy living and exercise when she speaks to many organisations and Aboriginal groups. Over the years, Aunty Pam has taken part in many ocean racing events, and in particular, five Melbourne to Devonport races, winning in 1995. In July this year, Aunty Pam will be taking part in her sixth half-marathon on the Gold Coast, in the 70 year age group. Over the years she has competed in many sporting events in Melbourne, as well as interstate. Aunty Pam was awarded the National Indigenous Sportsperson award in 2005, as well as taking part in the baton relay for the Commonwealth Games. Aunty Pam sits as an Elder on the Children’s Koori Court Melbourne since 2005 and now also sits on the Country Koori Court of Victoria. She is extremely proud of her achievements as an Aboriginal woman, and lives by the motto “if you dream it, you can achieve it”. Aunty Pam is a long-time supporter of the Indigenous Marathon Project, and speaks to each squad at the annual Gold Coast Running Festival.

Charlie Maher

Charlie was one of the four members of the inaugural Indigenous Marathon Project team in 2010, and became the first Indigenous Australian runner ever to finish the New York Marathon, finishing in a time of 3 hours 32 minutes. Following is success in New York; Charlie continued his training and completed the world-famous Boston Marathon just five months later, running a 10 minute personal best and raising close to $2000 for the Western Desert Dialysis Unit in Alice Springs. After a taking a break from running to pursue his love of AFL football, Charlie put his running shoes back on in 2012 to run a personal best time in the Sydney Running Festival half-marathon. Charlie’s focus on 2013 will again be running, with his sights firmly set on the Gold Coast Marathon in July. Charlie works for the Clontarf Academy, and is currently mentoring young Indigenous men and women at Yirara College in Alice Springs. Charlie lives in Alice Springs with his wife and his young daughter Frankie.

Mark Arbib

Mark has been a long-time runner and supporter of the Indigenous Marathon Project from its inception in 2009. Mark ran his first marathon in 2010 at the Canberra Running Festival off very little training, finishing the 42km course in 3 hours, 48 minutes. This sparked Mark’s passion for the long-distance event, and in 2011, while undertaking the role of Sports Minister in the Federal Government, he signed up to run the New York Marathon with the IMP squad. Some structured training saw Mark run a personal best of 3 hours, 11 minutes, and shave a whopping 37 minutes of his time the previous year. Living in Sydney, Mark’s passion for running continues, although he has no immediate plans to run another marathon!

Ben St Lawrence

Ben St Lawrence is one of Australia’s leading distance runners, specialising in 10,000m events and currently holds the Australian 10,000m record at 27 minutes, 24 seconds. He is also the current Australia Champion for both the 5000m and 10,000m events. St Lawrence represented Australia at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and 2011 World Championships. In 2012, he represented Australia at his first Olympic Games, placing 20th in the men’s 10,000m event. Based in Sydney, St Lawrence spends the majority of the year travelling the globe and competing in different running events, but still has time to support the IMP squad at domestic events throughout Australia.

Kurt Fearnley

Kurt Fearnley took up wheelchair racing at the age of 14 and became an elite competitor by age 17. Fearnley represented Australia at the Sydney 2000 Olympics, winning a silver medal in the 800m and the 4x100m. He won his first Olympic gold medal at the 2004 Athens games in the marathon and the 5000m. These performances earned Fearnley an Order of Australia medal. He picked up another gold medal in the Marathon at the 2008 Beijing Games and a Bronze in London in 2012. Fearnley’s other achievements include taking out the world-famous New York Marathon four, competing in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race and finishing the Kokoda Trail. Fearnley is a regular competitor in the New York Marathon and has been a long-time supporter of the Indigenous Marathon Project, and regularly meets with the team at domestic and international events. He currently lives in Newcastle, where he works as a teacher.

Lara Tamsett

Lara, aka the ‘pocket rocket’, has been running since she could walk (according to her parents!), starting her career at her local Little Athletics club when she was 7 years old. Since then she has steadily built up a list of athletic achievements that have enabled her to travel the world as she was catapulted onto the international running stage. Some of her biggest achievements to date include two City to Surf titles (2010, 2012), as well as representing Australia eleven times on national teams, becoming a Junior world Mountain Running Champion (2007) and achieving a 14th place finish at the World Half Marathon Championships (2012) in the process. Lara has been a keen follower and supporter of the Indigenous Marathon Project since early 2011, during which time she has meet, supported and run with many of the project team members. She is very honored to be named an Indigenous Marathon Project ambassador, and looks forward to further supporting and fundraising for this worthy cause

Dan MacPherson

While Dan is probably best known for his career as an Australian actor and TV presenter, he is also an accomplished triathlete, ironman and marathon runner. Growing up in the Sydney beachside suburb of Cronulla, MacPherson began competing in the sport of triathlon at age 11. After finding success at the shorter distance event, MacPherson went onto tackle the challenging Ironman events, and has competed in five Ironman events including the world famous Hawaiian Ironman in 2009, finishing the gruelling course in a time of 10.5 hours! MacPherson has been a long-time supporter of the Indigenous Marathon Project, and met up with the team at the Gold Coast Running Festival in July, where he ran the marathon.

Heather Hawkins

Heather Hawkins is a woman of two lives – from an everyday mother battling Ovarian Cancer with an unknown future, to conquering the world of extreme marathons and adventures.

Following her life changing cancer diagnosis, Heather competed in her first 4km running event in 2012 at age 47. Now 52, Heather has competed in six half marathons, 19 full marathons and three ultra-marathons, which include the North Pole Marathon and the World Marathon Challenge, being 7 Marathons across 7 Continents in 7 Days in January 2016.

In February 2016 Heather trekked the world’s longest and highest alpine trek, the Great Himalaya Trail across Nepal, covering 1,700kms in 152 days.

In October 2017 she will revisit the magnificent Himalayas, and just four days later compete in the Volcano Marathon in the Atacama Desert in Chile at 4,400 metres altitude.

Heather is a regular speaker for charities, women’s events, sporting conferences and corporate and community groups. She is tireless in her quest to raise awareness and money for cancer research and to inspire people to find their own “Adventurous Spirit.”

Heather met Rob de Castella and Adrian Dodson-Shaw at the North Pole Marathon in April 2015, and has been a valued and encouraging supporter of the IMF ever since.

Annabelle Williams OAM

Annie has been involved in sport for as long as she can remember and hoped to pursue a career in athletics before stress fractures in her shins forced her out of the sport in 2003.

She went on to compete for Australia in swimming, which culminated in winning a gold medal at the London 2012 Paralympic Games.

Annie is the legal counsel for the Australian Olympic Committee, Chair of the Australian Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Commission and Vice President of the Australian Swimmers’ Association and in a strong believer in the power of sport.

Dabbling in fun runs for many years, she ran her first marathon – the Great Ocean Road marathon – in May 2017 and is looking forward to tackling many more!

She is very honoured to be named an Indigenous Marathon Foundation ambassador.

Mick Rees

Mick Rees was the IMP Head Coach from April 2014 until August 2016, when he made the move to Queensland to be closer to family.

Mick’s involvement with IMF started back in 2012 when he mentored IMP squad member, Kieran de Santis on the remote Tiwi Islands, NT.

Mick is an incredibly passionate man, who built an unquestionable rapport with all members of his squads. He has participated in four marathons and one ultra marathon because he believed it was important for him to experience what his squad members go through in training and racing. Prior to his time with IMF, Mick had no previous running experience so his running achievements are a great testament to his passion and commitment.

IMF is proud to have Mick on board as an ambassador and we look forward to our continued association.

Wade Noonan

Marathon running has been in Wade’s blood from a very young age. He ran his first Melbourne marathon way back in 1983, in a time of 3:36 at the tender age of 12. He has since completed a further 12 marathons, including 10 Melbourne marathons, the Canberra marathon and the Portland marathon, where he ran a PB of 3:09 to finish 6th overall.

Wade’s sustained passion for running has served as an important foundation throughout his professional life.

He was elected to the Victorian Parliament in 2007 and has served as a Government Minister across multiple portfolio responsibilities. As Corrections Minister, Wade significantly increased funding for the Statewide Indigenous Arts in Prison Program, which is widely regarded as one the best rehabilitation programs in the country.

Wade maintains his running and recently completed the gruelling 40km Razorback Run in Victoria’s high country.