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“With research we have discovered that there are no avenues or opportunities for Indigenous long distance runners. I believe that we need to explore the possibilities and beg the question: How do we create champions without opportunity?
“At the moment, there’s no real culture of distance running among Indigenous Australians, but I believe there is potential given the history of endurance evidenced by a nomadic existence, traditional hunting and recorded history of an extraordinary ability to cover vast distances.
“The overwhelming response we’ve had demonstrates this latent interest in marathon running. I think we have the potential of identifying some real talent New York takes front stage when it comes to hosting and delivering a truly spectacular marathon. It is a 42.195 kilometer, river of mankind and everything good about our human spirit.
“What better event than this to take our Indigenous running team to, to highlight their potential on an international stage.”
World champion marathon runner
Robert de Castella is Australia’s greatest ever marathon runner.
He set the world record in 1981, became Australia’s first Track and Field World Champion in 1983, won two Commonwealth Games marathons in 1982 and 1986 and dominated the event worldwide for most of the 1980’s.
While he represented Australia at four Olympic Games, finishing 5th, 8th, 10th and 26th, Robert is probably best remembered for the Brisbane Commonwealth Games when he came from over a minute back to catch, and eventually run away from, duel Tanzanian champion JumaIkanga.
Robert’s dominance resulted in him being voted World Best Marathoner of the 1980’s decade.
In 1983, he was voted Australian of the Year and honoured with an MBE. In 1986 he was inducted into the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame and in 1990 he was named World Marathon Runner of the Decade by Track and Field News.
As Director of the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) for five years in the early 1990s, Robert re-positioned the AIS as a centre of excellence after the drugs in sport debacle of the late 80’s. He was also involved in establishing the elite sports system being used today by our Olympic athletes and teams.
In 1995 Robert established his own not for profit company, SmartStart for Kids. SmartStart works through schools to encourage children to be healthy and active. It especially targets escalating obesity, poor nutrition and inactivity and has resulted in large improvements in child fitness and health. The SmartStart longitudinal database of children’s health and fitness statistics has enabled valuable reports to be generated and a range of follow up services for students, parents, schools and government.
Tim was also a very keen runner and during this time, pursued his athletic dreams making several senior State and National distance running teams. He has represented Australia at a senior level on three occasions over Cross Country and Road Racing, was crowned the 2009 Oceania Cross Country Champion and placed 6th in the 2008 City 2 Surf in Sydney.
Whilst a string of frustrating injuries put a halt to his athletic dreams, it led to Tim joining Rob at IMF from 2011-2013 where he was the first IMP Coach and Manager during the early years of the Foundation. He coached / mentored 30+ IMP graduates to marathons across New York, Boston & Tokyo whilst also establishing the inaugural Deadly Fun Run Series & championship event at Uluru.
Tim departed IMF at the end of 2013 and added to his experience working at Qantas managing their international Sports & Commercial Sponsorship Portfolio. Tim joins us back at IMF as General Manager after departing his most recent role as Group Head of Partnerships at Crown Resorts.
Lisa brings to the FrontRunners role an enthusiasm to support and build up the IMP Grads. She would also like to help all the graduates with a Personal Development Plan (PDP). The PDP will assist the graduates to set and achieve their goals.
Lisa is well travelled around Australia. She is originally from QLD but grew up in Canberra. Her knowledge of her own culture helps her to connect with our graduates. Lisa is married with three children.
Before his Maningrida experience, Damian was employed by the Commonwealth Government in Canberra working across various policy, program and corporate roles largely in health and sport.
Damian’s sporting background is mainly in AFL football being a player, coach, administrator as well as recruiting work for the St Kilda Football Club – he sees these skills as being very transferrable to his role as Head Coach of IMP. Damian is very excited about joining the IMF team as he has seen first -hand the wonderful impact the Foundation makes on an individual and the community they are a part of.
An entrepreneur and business owner for over two decades, Elna has pioneered many social impact programs which delivered significant change in the lives of individuals and communities. As the Fundraising & Partnerships Manager at the IMF, she will tap into this experience to spread the #RUNSWEATINSPIRE word and to cultivate reciprocal relationships with our supporters and funders. “I believe that we are a national organisation with a global message that knows no colour, culture or creed. I look forward to engaging with corporate Australia, government and international bodies to celebrate our collective vision of building a resilient, healthy and inclusive society, be it through running or the shared journey”.
Next on Elna’s sporting list is the long road to Ironman completion with a few ultra runs mixed in for fun.
What Theresa brings to the Foundation is years of design knowledge, skill and industry experience having achieved Honours in her Bachelor of Design degree and applying her skills in the marketing, advertising and design world with Grey Advertising Australia, The Pharmaceutical Society of Australia, The Australian Bureau of Statistics, Department of Foreign Affairs and as a freelancer working for clients like The Canberra Casino, Australian Customs and Border Security, Summer National, Fish Sunglasses, Canberra Medical Ecology Centre, SmartStart for Kids Ltd, The Australian National University, Pep Colour, National Institute of Bioenergetic Medicine, and many more.
Theresa often channels her inner nerd, having a passion for gadgets and all things IT. Theresa’s goal is to elevate the status of IT from a “support” role to one that is integral to the Foundation’s corporate strategy and one that serves as a key component in the delivery of its programs and communication to communities.
We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians on whose land we live, work, run and play and we respect their Elders, culture, lore and values. We value Aboriginal and
Torres Strait Island culture as a national treasure, and embrace it as a vital and rich part of the