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Bianca Graham is set to make history in London this weekend as the first Torres Strait Islander person to complete all six Abbott World Major Marathons. Bianca, who was in the first female contingent of the Indigenous Marathon Project back in 2011 will consummate a thirteen-year journey as she crosses the TCS London Marathon finish line on 21 April.

Thirteen years ago, on Sunday 6 November 2011 Bianca Graham crossed the New York City (NYC) Marathon finish line with Nadine Hunt. Hand in hand, they finished the marathon together in 3 hours and 44 minutes making history as the first Indigenous women from Australia to both conquer the NYC Marathon, and graduate through the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP).

Bianca and Nadine were joined by Bridgette Williams and Sam Shephard representing the remaining contingent of Indigenous women participating in the 2011 NYC Marathon through the IMP.  Their completion of the IMP program built upon the legacy of the “first four” Aboriginal men who conquered the 2010 NYC Marathon against all odds, as documented in Running To America.

Since 2010, over 140 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people have graduated through the IMP going from little running, to running a marathon in just 6 months’ time. The significance of this cannot be lost. According to a report from the International Institute for Race Medicine, only 0.01% of the world’s population complete a marathon each year.

A popular slogan echoed throughout the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) is that the finish line is only the start line which perfectly sets the scene following Bianca’s first assembly with a marathon finish line. Now, as a seasoned runner, Bianca has travelled the world, racing in Tokyo, New York, Berlin, Chicago, Boston and on home soil in Australia, with the London marathon looming closely.

Training for London has made me really reflect,” Bianca shares, “like who would have thought that applying [for the IMP] in 2011 would get me to here where I am now.”

As a Director on the IMF Board, Bianca’s journey has come full circle. “I’ve grown so much, and now I’m on the Board. The journey has had such an impact. I didn’t know anything about marathons, let alone Majors and to come full circle and complete them all is so special.”

“Each marathon has been so unique, and I had to overcome something different each time to get through them. But this [marathon] is going to be the hardest. It’s been a tough lead up because now I’m training with an infant in tow. It’s going to be tough, but it’s going to be that extra bit special.”

 

Lining up for an international marathon for the first time as a parent, Bianca reflects on the sweeter reward that lies beneath the harder challenge. “Before I became a Mum, I remember doing a long run on a Sunday and being able to lay on the couch all day [afterwards]. But now I’m home and straight away picking up 12 kgs. Even on my rest day I’m still waking up at 4:30am and walking the pram up Castle Hill [in Townsville] so my son can nap,

“But like we say in IMF, it’s the whole concept of ‘the harder the struggle, the greater the reward’. So I think the finish line is certainly going to be much more rewarding this time.”

Bianca’s upcoming marathon is not just a personal achievement, but a historic moment for Australia where she will follow in the footsteps of fellow IMP Graduates and Six Star Finishers Charlie Maher and Allira Jennings. We will be watching and celebrating as Bianca crosses the finish line, once again making history and paving the way for future generations. And we couldn’t be any prouder.