INDIGENOUS MARATHON PROJECT

“There are no shortcuts. Be patient and look long-term. It’s a foolish idea that if you do a little more, faster, then you’ll get better than the rest. It ignores the fact that you must train at your optimal level, not your maximum level. Consistency is the secret to improvement and success. You have to keep training when others lose interest.”

– Robert de Castella

ABOUT IMP

Education is a compulsory part of the IMP program and all squad members are required to complete:

  • a Certificate IV in Indigenous Leadership and Health Promotion
  • a Level 1 Recreational Running Coach Accreditation through Athletics Australia
  • CPR and First Aid qualifications
  • Aboriginal Mental Health First Aid (AMHFA)
  • Media training

Using their skills, knowledge and qualifications, these Indigenous Australians become healthy lifestyle leaders and return to their communities as agents of change, inspiring and encouraging people in their communities to adopt active and healthy lifestyles.

The project uses running to change lives and provide a sense of empowerment, purpose and pride.

Members of the squad push their physical and mental boundaries to a new level. After crossing the finish line of the world’s biggest marathon, they become IMP Graduates and are empowered with a renewed sense of self-belief and realise they can achieve anything.

Runners become role models within their communities. Many establish Deadly Fun Runs (a program of IMF’s Deadly Running Australia initiative) and are leaders in the promotion of health and physical exercise to address the high instance of chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and renal failure.

The IMP covers all costs for members of the squad throughout the IMP year including travel to and from camps, accommodation, education costs, equipment, uniform etc (excludes any personal spending money during camps).

1400

Applicants Since 2010

119

IMP Graduates

136

Marathons Completed By Grads

IMP GRADUATES

Tasma Rudeforth, Adelaide SA

2021

Tasma is a Kamilaroi woman living in Adelaide. Tasma has tried out for the Indigenous Marathon Project six times. As a young mother, Tasma is passionate about mental health and supporting new mums pre and post birth, to shine more of a light on them and their experience, and to help them realise their own inner strength. Tasma says “I want to be the role model that I needed when I was younger. I’m so proud of not giving up on myself and I am so proud of the person I have grown into during this journey”.

Matthew Axten, Alice Springs NT

2021

Matt is a Western Arrente man from Alice Springs and applied for the Indigenous Marathon Project to push himself, get out of his comfort zone and be a role model for his family. Matt follows in the footsteps of his older sister Kate Axten who participated in the 2019 Indigenous Marathon Project. As a school teacher, Matt says “I want to do this for my family and my community, to make them proud and show them with the right people around you, and with hard work and dedication, you can achieve anything. When my training gets hard, I think of my family and the kids I currently teach and have taught”.

Cissy Johns, Katherine NT

2021

Cissy is a Ngaliwurru woman from Katherine, NT. Cissy works in health promotion and applied for the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP) to represent her countrymen out bush and to encourage young Indigenous women to be more confident and see more of the world. Cissy says “my IMP journey has proved to me that I can do so much more than I ever thought I could, and it has taught me so much about myself. Last year I set a goal to run 5kms by the end of the year, and this year, I ran a marathon”.

Clinton Bennell, Adelaide SA

2021

Clinton is a Wiradjuri and Noongar man living in Adelaide and is a proud father of two. Clinton works in health promotion and applied for the Indigenous Marathon Project to use the experience as a way to impact his community and spread awareness around mental health, and particularly suicide. Clinton says “I want to prove to my community that if I can survive my own mental health challenges and run a marathon, then there Is hope for them. This program is not just about running, it’s about connection, and growth”.

Rachel Dean, Cairns QLD

2021

Rachel is a Gooreng Gooreng and Girramay woman living in Cairns and applied for the Indigenous Marathon Project to be a part of something that could help her mentally, emotionally and spiritually. Rachel says “when I got to Indigenous Marathon Project try-outs it was like breathing fresh air and I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be. I want to use this journey to normalise conversations around mental health and mental illness, and I want my journey to inspire my family and ultimately make my mum proud. She is the reason I am resilient. This is my purpose”.

Jye Roe Banks, Darwin NT

2021

Jye is a Nkinkya and Yawuru woman living in Darwin NT, and is currently a high school teacher working with Aboriginal girls. Jye has tried out for the IMP four times and says that her purpose has been centred around wanting to be an inspiration, and the best teacher she can be. Jye says “my Indigenous Marathon Project journey has made me feel more empowered within myself…I’ve realised that challenges in life happen because they’re meant to build you up and strengthen you”.

Derrick Cusack, Mt Isa QLD

2021

Derrick is a Kalkadoon man from Mt Isa, is an amateur boxer and currently works as a labourer for the Mt Isa Council. Derrick says he wants to use his experience within the Indigenous Marathon Project to make a positive impact. “I want to show anybody that no matter what you have been through in the past, you can come out and always be a leader. No matter what you’ve done or what poor decisions you have made, if you are determined to change your life for the positive – then you will”.

Hope Davison, Canberra ACT

2021

Hope is a Yuin woman currently living in Canberra and works as an Indigenous Liaison Officer within government. After making some significant changes to her health including losing over 50kgs and quitting smoking, Hope has been on a journey to become the best version of herself. Hope applied for the Indigenous Marathon Project to promote healthy and active lifestyles and in particular raise awareness around mental health and suicide. Hope says “throughout my journey and no matter how hard it gets, I know I can do it and I know I am capable”.

Sherice Ansell, Alice Springs NT

2021

Sherice is an Arrente woman living in Alice Springs. Sherice is a junior Doctor and has a passion for working with remote communities. Sherice applied for the Indigenous Marathon Project to meet and connect with like-minded people and encourage other young mob to prioritise their mental health and wellbeing. Sherice says “being a role model is incredibly important to me. Using education and health and fitness as pillars of inspirational, I hope to show young people in my community that nothing is impossible if you work hard, have goals and never give up!”

Tristan Nelliman-Adams, Townsville QLD

2021

Tristan is a Wuthathi, Meriam Mer, Kirriri and Baduleige man living in Townsville and works as an Indigenous Project Officer with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander boys in high school. Tristan applied for the Indigenous Marathon Project to give back to community and break down the stigma around men’s mental health and says “I want to show my family, friends, supporters and communities throughout Cape York and the Torres Strait Islands that they can achieve whatever they want as long as they put the work in. I am proud that for the first time in my life I am going to finish something”.

Verhonda (Bonnie) Smith, Bourke NSW

2021

Bonnie is a Wangkurmara woman living in Bourke NSW and applied for the Indigenous Marathon Project to be a role model for her family and friends. Bonnie has applied for the Indigenous Marathon Project for four years after watching her older sister complete the program and run the New York Marathon in 2014. Bonnie works in health promotion and wants to encourage all people, particularly Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to lead healthy and active lives. Bonnie says “my purpose is centred around my brother who we lost unexpectedly in 2014. I made a promise to continue carrying on his legacy. He is my motivation and I want to make him proud”.

Joyrah (Joy) Newman, Bamaga QLD

2021

Joy is a Badu, Erub and Wulgurukaba woman originally from Bamaga in the Cape York however resides in Canberra. Joy is studying accounting, is a financial analyst within government and is passionate about economic equality and stability across community. Joy applied for the Indigenous Marathon Project to help her mob and to pay homage to anyone else who had been through similar experiences after taking up running to cope with grief and loss. Joy says “before running, I had a lot of self-doubt and I always questioned whether or not I was good enough. But this journey has shown me that I am amazing”.

Waynead Wolmby, Aurukun QLD

2021

Waynead is a Wik Mungkan and Kugu Muminh man from Aurukun in QLD. The youngest member of the Squad, Waynead applied for the Indigenous Marathon Project so he could make change for his community of Aurukun. Waynead works as a teacher aide in high school and says “I want to show my people, that you can achieve anything. A lot of my family and people in remote communities have preventable diseases and I want to try to break that cycle of unhealthy lifestyles, because our people are warriors”.
Lena Charles

Lena-Jean Charles-Loffel, VIC

2020

IMP has been a goal of Yorta Yorta and Gunai Kurnai woman Lena’s for the past three years, ever since she travelled to New York City to watch her best friend cross the finish line of the marathon in 2016. She started her own running journey and successfully completed a half marathon last year. “Over the past three years I have learnt a lot about myself and who I am as a person just by the challenges I have faced with running”.
Andrew Thorpe

Andrew Thorpe, VIC

2020

For Gunai and Gunditjmara man Andrew, joining IMP has been a dream since the project first started. He applied at the age of 18, but then went on to start his own carpentry business which took up a lot of his time. Now working as a supervisor in construction, Andrew has found time to pursue other interests. “It’s going to be quite an accomplishment for me in many ways,” he says. “Running is my healthy change and I want to be a role model for my community and my two daughters.”
Maiquilla Brown

Maiquilla Brown, NSW

2020

Born in Melbourne and raised in Orange, Yuin woman Maiquilla now lives on the coast in the Illawarra region of NSW. An Illawarra South Deadly Runner, youth worker and single mum to a two-year-old son, Maiquilla started her running journey in November 2018, with her furthest and toughest run being the Sydney City2Surf in 2019. Her brother, Layne Brown, was part of the 2017 IMP squad, and inspired Maiquilla to apply. “I wear my Deadly Runner shirt at every event and the support is always amazing, with strangers recognising the top and giving me words of encouragement. I want to share running and how it can help”.
Cameron Manning

Cameron Manning, NSW

2020

Proud Gomeroi man Cameron lives and works on Wonnarua country in the lower Hunter Valley of NSW with his partner and two daughters. He first applied for IMP back in 2017 and has applied each year since. “I believe that I am now ready for this journey ahead and I am completely focused and driven to make my dreams a reality,” he says. As a youth worker and full-time student, Cameron is keen to apply the skills learnt during IMP to his life, family and community, as well as continue to promote healthy living and the importance of cultural connections.
Ethan Mulholland

Ethan Mulholland, NSW

2020

A former client and current staff member of The Glen Drug and Alcohol Rehabilitation Centre on the Central Coast of NSW, Gurindji man Ethan was inspired to apply for IMP after participating in the IMF’s WARRIOR Run a couple of years ago. “I didn’t think I’d get this far,” he says. “Running is not my strong point; I find it a challenge. But this journey is going to be a good one for me, and I’m looking forward to getting out of my comfort zone.” For Ethan, an important reason for him to do this is the connection that comes from being part of the IMP family.
Rhett Burraston

Rhett Barraston, NSW

2020

Ngemba, Mandandanji and Wiradjuri man and Aboriginal Education Officer, Rhett was inspired to apply for IMP after seeing the flow-on effect of the program from previous Graduates. “I’ve done a few leadership courses which results in a short burst of momentum and then fades,” he says. “IMP is different. I think there’s a real potential for lasting change for me.” While running a marathon is a bit of a daunting task, Rhett is ready to put himself out there and be a healthy role model for his three children.
Libby Cook-Black

Libby Cook-Black, QLD

2020

Born on Thursday Island in Far North Queensland, and raised between Mackay and Cairns, Torres Strait Islander Libby is a former Rugby 7’s player for the Jillaroos. After two knee surgeries and becoming a single mum to her two-year-old son, Libby had to retire from elite sports and is hoping to gain the confidence that she’s always had from sport back with the IMP. “An opportunity like this isn’t just an opportunity for me,” she says. “But an opportunity for my whole community. I want to show my community that if you put yourself out there and work hard, you can do anything.”
Peter Millar-Koncz

Peter Miller-Koncz, SA

2020

With a widespread family across Wirangu, Kokatha and Mirning from the far west coasts of South Australia and Ngarrindjeri from south east South Australia, Peter is a very proud Aboriginal man with strong ties to his culture. After taking up running to combat some mental health issues, Peter found his new passion and decided to apply to IMP. “I always had my eyes set on helping the youth and helping them get through those harder times of life with a bit of guidance,” he says. Peter has four children of his own, two of whom are in their very early teens.
Samara Fernandez

Samara Fernandez, SA

2020

Growing up in Adelaide, Samara spent her holidays visiting her family in the tiny community of Yuendumu in the Northern Territory, where her mother still lives. “As an individual doing IMP it’s not just about me,” she says. “Coming from such a small place, it’s for them; the most rewarding part is to share the experience. And I’m excited to be part of another community too; the IMP community.”
Cassidy Goodwin

Cassidy Goodwin, NT

2020

Born and raised in Alice Springs, Arrernte and Luritja woman Cassidy applied to be a part of IMP to make a difference in her life but also in the lives of her two daughters. Cassidy’s best friend Kate Axten was selected for IMP last year, and the two of them trained together, with Cassidy completing a half marathon. “I want to be a good role model for my kids and show them that anything is possible if you give it a go”.
Robyn Liddle

Robyn Liddle, NT

2020

With a strong sporting background, Arrernte and Alywarr woman Robyn is still in disbelief that by the end of the year she’ll be running a full marathon. She applied for IMP back in 2015, but now after having two children feels like she’s in a better place to achieve greater things for herself. “I want to do something for myself,” she says. “Running isn’t my thing so to achieve this will open so many doors for me.” Her future goal is to establish some community activities for young people in Alice Springs.
Zac Stephenson

Zac Stephenson, NT

2020

For Aboriginal man Zak, getting into IMP has been five or six years in the making. Following in his eldest brother Justin Miller’s footsteps, who completed the IMP program in 2013, Zak has always been a pretty good runner and wants to see how far he can get. A qualified refrigeration mechanic, Zak is keen to learn about other cultures and build some leadership skills. “I’m hoping the IMP program will push me more in the direction I want to be in.”
Alex Blanco

Alex Blanco, QLD

2020

Torres Strait Islander Alex has been following the journeys of previous IMP Graduates from the Torres Strait and has been inspired by their stories. “I have witnessed how the program has had an impact in a positive way,” he says. “I want to share my story and be a role model to younger generations.” Alex is passionate about being a positive role model for his younger siblings and community members.

Taneshia Atkinson, NSW

2019

Raised in Kingscliff in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Yorta Yorta and Bangerang woman Taneshia has moved around for schooling and work and has recently moved to Brisbane. She is passionate about being an inspirational role model for young Indigenous children, and has worked with the Gold Coast Titans, the National Indigenous Youth Parliament and the Brisbane Broncos. “A big part of why I’m doing this is to be the role model I didn’t have growing up,” she says. This will be Taneshia’s first overseas trip.

Sianna Catullo, VIC

2019

Working in community with Spark Health has given Narungga woman Sianna a passion for promoting healthy lifestyles across Indigenous Australia. “I believe IMP can challenge me and teach me new things about myself whilst still staying grounded and emerged in community,” she says. This year will be a big year for Sianna, as she is also in the final year of her Bachelor in Health Science.

Nerrida Dempsey, QLD

2019

A proud Kalkadoon woman, Narrinda was very shocked to find out she’d made the squad. Mother to three young daughters, she had joined a gym nearly three years ago to do something for herself, lose some extra weight and be a good role model for her girls. “I need to show them that anything is possible if you knuckle down and work hard,” she says. Narrinda has never been overseas before, so to run the New York City Marathon is the opportunity of a lifetime.

Neil Sabatino, VIC

2019

Torres Strait Islander Neil made the squad last year but had to pull out due to an injury. “It was one of those things I couldn’t control,” he says. “It’s taken me a year to get back to this point, but I’m really happy to be here, and I think I’m wiser from the experience.” Neil was born in Cairns and grew up on Hammond Island and Thursday Island in Queensland, but he now lives in Melbourne where he’s completing his Bachelor of Education and working with Indigenous children.

Keifer Yu, WA

2019

Yawuru man Keifer has just moved home to Broome with his partner and new baby daughter after 10 years in Perth as a semi-professional footballer in the West Australian Football League. “I’ve been trying to find a new passion,” he says. “I’ve been following the IMP for a while, but have never been able to apply because of my football commitments. I’ve watched the amazing journey other Broome graduates have gone on, and I’m excited to go on my own.”

Jordan Armstrong, NT

2019

Following the stories of the IMP graduates since his uncle, Charlie Maher, was the first Indigenous man to cross the finish line at the New York City Marathon, Western Arrernte man Jordan is excited to be able to follow in his footsteps. “Their stories have inspired me,” Jordan says. “I want to do something for my family and my community; this is a dream come true.” Jordan currently lives in Alice Springs with his wife and they are expecting their first baby in October.

Emily Rodderick, WA

2019

Noongar woman and high school Indigenous Program Coordinator Emily tried out for IMP last year because she wanted to do something that pushed her out of her comfort zone. This year, she wants to be a part of the squad because she has seen the ripple effects last year’s Perth graduates made. “The marathon is the bit that you can probably hold onto and remember for yourself, but the support and skills learnt can be taken back to community for the ripple effect it can create,” she says.

Shane Cook, SA

2019

Born and raised in Adelaide, artist and youth mentor Shane is hoping to take himself out of his comfort zone and challenge himself with something he has always struggled with. “Being a youth mentor, I spend lots of time with young people and I want to lead by example and remind myself that with hard work, anything can be achieved.” He credits a strong Aboriginal youth worker who mentored him as a young man to get him through a difficult time and back on track with his journey.

Travis Naden, ACT

2019

Born and raised in Canberra, Wiradjuri man Travis saw the Running to America documentary on TV nearly 10 years ago and has been aspiring to be a member of the squad ever since. This is the seventh year trying out for IMP. “It’s really great to see positive stories in the media about Indigenous people and if I can be a part of that and inspire just one person, then it’s all worth it,” he says. Travis is about to enter his third year as an apprentice electrician.

Torey Ricker

2018

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.

Rikki Wilson

2018

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 mums who don’t have money for gym memberships, but want to look after themselves and set a good example to their children.

Rachael Howard

2018

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.

Michaela Skuthorpe

2018

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.

Jessica Bartholomew

2018

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.

John Hill

2018

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.

Jikola Whyman

2018

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.

Cyrus Morseu

2018

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.

Deb Hegarty

2018

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.

Damien Crispin

2018

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 AFL team and also plays basketball.

Otis Carter

2018

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.

SCOTT COX

2017

Scott is a 30 year Nimanburr and Yawuru man from the Kimberley’s living in Broome who works at the Kimberley Land Council as a field officer. He was inspired by taking on the challenge after seeing Adrian Dodson-Shaw’s journey in 2014 followed by Megan Highfold in 2016. His cousin tried out in 2016 and Scott came along to support her. He promised if she tried out that he would do the same in 2107. Scott built up the courage to try out because he wanted to change his life and become a positive role model for his three sons being a single father. Scott has battles with depression and mental health issues along with physical health and wel-lbeing. He is passionate about these issue because he has dealt first hand with them, so through his IMP journey he wants to become an advocate. He is also grateful for being able to have the opportunity to keep the IMP ripple effect in the Kimberley’s.

ALLIRRA WINMAR

2017

Allirra is 24 year old from the Balladong tribe (Noongar Nation) and Gija (Halls Creek, Kimberley’s) who is living in Perth. Indigenous Communities, Education, and Awareness (ICEA) Foundation is a youth-led not-for-profit that strives to achieve national reconciliation through mutual respect for all Australians. Built on the three-pillar philosophy of providing positive experiences, facilitating genuine relationships and fostering greater cross-cultural understanding, ICEA’s programs and events empower youth to become reconciliation ambassadors in their local community, driving reconciliation into the future. Allirra was inspired by friend and IMP Graduate #59, Kimberley Benjamin. Allirra wanted to prove to herself that she could take up the same challenge and complete a full marathon, and also represent her family, community and people. She is determined to lead and be the example for young people to make them realise that they can reach and achieve their goals if they put their mind to it, as we know it takes courage to put you hand up and have a go at something.

NATASHA SHIRES

2017

Natasha is a 29 year old Worimi woman from Karratha in Western Australia. She was a full-time child care educator for many years who wants to inspire children and encourage them to follow their dreams, now recently started working as an Aboriginal Islander Liaison Officer. Natasha is motivated to use her IMP experience to help address issues associated with mental illness and demonstrate how leading a healthy lifestyle can help provide positive health benefits.

LUKE REIDY

2017

Luke is an Australian an army veteran, having served as an infantry soldier in the Australian Army for four years. He has experienced first-hand the effects of mental health and depression following the loss of many fellow army-men. Luke is a proud Noongar man from South Perth who is passionate about promoting the positive mental and physical benefits of physical activity and wants to help people suffering mental health issues. Fitness has been a constant in Luke’s life, regularly attending the gym, running up to three times per week and paying AFL as well as water polo. Luke recently ran his first half marathon and is looking forward to the challenge of a marathon and potentially breaking into the triathlon scene in the future.

ROY “BILLY” TILMOUTH

2017

Roy is a 30 year old Eastern Arrernte man from Alice Springs who works for Ingkerreke Commercial and where he is also captain of his local AFL Football club. Roy has followed the IMP journey since the start in 2010 being inspired by Graduates Charlie, Caleb and Reggie who he played local AFL footy with. He was also inspired by fellow local and 2014 IMP Graduate, Sarah Carmody. He decided to have a go because he realised this was his last chance to be part of the IMP and wanted to challenge himself to follow in the footsteps of his fellow Alice Springs Graduates. Roy is a non-drinker/non-smoker/gambler and he knows that there is a lot of anti-social behaviour especially amongst the youth in Alice Springs and he wants to be the change he sees in his community.

TARA LIDDY

2017

Tara is a 30 year old Southern Arrernte/Luritja Aboriginal woman from Alice Springs and is keen to continue the influence and inspiration of IMP Graduates. Tara is the eldest of about 40 cousins and she is determined to be a role model to her cousins and siblings, and encourage them to pursue healthier lifestyles. She is also a single mum to a six year old boy and would like to demonstrate to him that anything is possible – she will set the bar high and hope he exceeds her achievements in his lifetime! Tara is highly motivated and particularly interested in nutrition and the effects of sugar consumption on Aboriginal children and families. She wants to see the introduction of more traditional Indigenous food into the diets of her people and endorsing bush foods as a healthy alternative to high fat/high sugar diets. Tara’s inclusion in the squad will strengthen the IMP’s connection in Central Australia with 2014 IMP Graduate, Sarah Carmody, having a significant impact in Alice Springs.

MALETTA SERIAT

2017

Maletta is a 26 year old Wagadagam/Kaurareg descendent from the Torres Straight living on Thursday Island. Maletta was inspired by her sister, Elsie, and Harold Mathew both 2014 Graduates, followed by Alicia Sabatino 2015 IMP Graduate and Saliman Bin Juda in 2016. Maletta is a single mum of two girls who has been inspired since witnessing her first sister Elsie and the impact she has made on Thursday Island, along with Harold, Alicia and Saliman. After sadly losing her youngest daughter in 2014 and becoming a single mum, she had to become a strong women for her living two daughters. She rediscovered an inner strength she always had, which planted the seed that she could also follow in her sister’s footsteps and take on the NYC marathon and the IMP journey. Although Maletta is only new to running, after predominantly being involved in basketball and touch football, she is coming along in leaps and bound not only in the running aspect but she is also part of the Thursday Island Deadly Running group which spreads the message of healthy and active lifestyles, which was established by her old sister and Harold Mathew. Maletta hopes her journey will continue the IMP ripple effect up in the Torres Strait and keep inspiring people to take up different challenge and lead a healthy life.

TIM STEPHENS

2017

Tim is a 25 year old Kuku-Yalanji man from Westcourt in Queensland. Tim was inspired to try-out for IMP after attending the Return to Community ceremony of 2015 IMP Graduate, Harriet David. Tim wants to motivate and inspire younger generations and be a role model for his family and community. Tim is a keen sportsman, with experience in football, basketball, swimming and also has two half marathons under his belt. He is currently employed full-time as a Food and Beverage Team Leader at Novotel Cairns

CARA SMITH

2017

Cara is a 30 year old woman from the Githabal Tribe residing in Queanbeyan NSW. Cara has come through the Queanbeyan Deadly Runners since joining in 2015, after being inspired by 2013 Graduate Georgia Gleeson, who formed the group. She was also supported by fellow 2015 Graduate, Aaron West. She applied because she wanted to improve her overall health which will allow her to continue her healthy lifestyle now being a mum to her first born son. Running has had such a positive effect on her as it has allowed her to trust her body and be disciplined to pursue her goals and dreams and one of those dreams was to be selected in IMP. After seeing high rates of suicide in our communities, particular our young men, she believes that whilst it won’t solve everything, education for our community surrounding the importance of mental health is a step forward in the right direction. Cara hopes her journey will inspire others around her to start making small positive changes in their life, and it can start by putting one foot in front of the other.

ZANE SPARKE

2017

Zane is a 25 year old Worimi man from Forster in New South Wales who is now residing in Port Macquarie. He is a student at the Charles Sturt University studying a Bachelor of Applied Science (Outdoor Recreation and Eco Tourism). Zane first came across IMP by the Aboriginal Liaison Officer/friend at his university who knew of IMP Graduates and had followed the progress of the IMF. He was driven to apply for IMP because he wanted to experience positive changes in his life after realising the effect of the culture of drinking and drugs. Throughout his journey, Zane wants to be a positive role model both for his younger sibling, family and community and has demonstrated that by firstly applying for IMP and being successful in this year’s squad. Zane is also a member of the Port Macquarie IMF RAW (Running and Walking) group established by IMP’s first Graduate, Charlie Maher, who is a mentor/friend that will support him along his journey.

LAYNE BROWN

2017

Layne is a 29 year old Yuin man from Warilla in New South Wales. The Yuin clan is considered to be the traditional owners of the land and water from Merimbula to the southern head of the sea entrance of the Shoalhaven River on the NSW south coast. Layne is a father of one and works as the Far South Coast Centre Manager for the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME). Layne is committed to becoming a leader in his community, a role model for his daughter and community, and applying the skills, knowledge and experience he learns through IMF to address Indigenous weight issues and men’s mental health.

APRIL BARRY

2017

April is a 21 year old from the APY Lands (Anangu Pitjantjatjara Yankunytjatjara Lands) and is currently living in Geelong, Victoria. April grew up in Alice Springs and witnessed the first IMP squad in 2010 and was particularly inspired by squad member and Alice Springs man, Caleb Hart. April is a mother of one and is dedicated to paving the way for future generations of Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians through living active and healthy lifestyles. She is currently studying nursing at University.

WADE MONGTA

2016

Wade’s Indigenous heritage is with the Ngariga tribe and lives in Bodalla, NSW. Wade lives is a community where violence and drug abuse is common, and he is determined to use IMP to show people a different life and demonstrate that if you apply yourself you can achieve incredible things. He is extremely driven and very committed to training. IMP has been Wade’s target for the last few years and his determination is unquestionable, clocking up 20km training runs in the lead up to the IMP trials. Wade is the first person in his family to reach year 12 and puts reading the dictionary among his hobbies; again, with one goal in mind. “I had to come down here (to the trials) and be articulate, be formal not informal,” he said. He has harboured a burning ambition to succeed at the top level since he was a child, wanting to run for Australia since he was five years old. Wade believes that your past can make or break you and his past is what has made him.

MEGAN HIGHFOLD

2016

Megan lives in Broome, WA, and is originally from the Kokatha tribe, near Ceduna South Australia and also has family connections to Alice Springs. On a personal level she wants to inspire her family and community to be more active and to assist in addressing a range of health issues, including mental health. Megan wants to see more Indigenous people speak up about mental illness and she wants to influence positive social change in Broome and break down the barriers between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people in the area. She has started to notice change in the last 12 months through the Broome Deadly Running Group setting an example and seeing the growth within the group as well as the positive messages and recognition within the local Broome community being active and achieving positive things. Megan applied for IMP in 2015 and since then she has worked extremely hard to improve and return for the 2016 trials. She consistently trained with Adrian and volunteered at every community running event last year. Megan is an incredible asset to the Broome community and her IMP experience will be fantastic for her and the Kimberly region.

WAYNE SLOANE

2016

Wayne is a Wiradjuri man from Condobolin, NSW, and very connected to the Indigenous community in Condobolin and surrounding areas, as well as Queanbeyan. Wayne initially heard about IMP through the Queanbeyan Deadly Runners, established by 2013 IMP Graduate, Georgia Gleeson. Wayne studied a Certificate II in Sport & Recreation delivered by Georgia’s fiance, Michael Weir, while he was living in the ACT. Michael recommended Wayne and commented on his leadership skills, being a standout within the group. Wayne has delivered programs to primary schools in the ACT as part of his Sport & Recreation course. Like his fellow squad members, Wayne wants to show his community that if you are prepared to make changes life doesn’t have to be negative. He is particularly keen to influence the youth throughout his area and he has recently started part time employment building furniture three days a week. Wayne thinks that being selected in IMP would give him a great platform to implement some positive programs through the culture centre in Condobolin. He said that through IMP, the community can realise that if you are fit and healthy and live an active life then opportunities can present themselves.

SALIMAN BIN JUDA

2016

Saliman is from Hammond and Thursday Island in the Torres Strait, QLD. He represented Thursday Island at the National Deadly Fun Run championships in 2015 and is a member of the TI Deadly runners, established by 2014 IMP Graduates, Elsie Seriat and Harold Matthew. He has also volunteered at every event that has been held on the Island in the past 12 months since missing out on the 2015 squad. Since his previous trial in 2015, he has continued to run, contribute to his community through volunteer activities and has done everything in his power to strengthen his application for 2016. Saliman loves the transformation that has occurred on Thursday Island since Harold and Elsie were selected in the 2014 squad and wants to continue to drive the impact that the running group is having on the Island. He thinks Thursday Island’s running culture is growing considerable and wants to focus his attention on the other Islands within the Torres Strait, so he spends time on the outer Islands through his work and believes he can have a positive influence in this area. Saliman has Certificate III in Aged care, Disability Services and Children Services as well as a Certificate IV in Business. Saliman is a great candidate to continue the legacy started by Elsie, Harold and Alicia up in the Torres Strait.

TAHNEE SUTTON

2016

Tahnee lives in Adelaide and is from the York Penninsula tribe of Nerunga. Her motivation to be part of the IMP was born from an aspiration to be a strong community leader. Despite applying to be part of IMP, which she has followed for a number of years, she has never been able to attend the trials. Tahnee was raised by her grandparents – her Grandfather who is an Arrernte Man from Alice Springs and Grandmother, an Nerunga woman. Tahnee attended Salisbury High School in Adelaide and following the completion of Year 12, she has completed a Certificate III in Business. Tahnee started running a few years ago to help her overcome significant adversity in her life. She couldn’t believe the way it assisted her change in thinking and is quite a competent runner. Tahnee is passionate about assisting to address the ICE issues in her community and feels that sport is an integral avenue to engage the youth to show them positive pathways and assist them in making positive life choices.

JESSE THOMPSON

2016

Jesse is a Ngunnawal (Canberra, ACT) man and previously applied for IMP in 2015, narrowly missing out. Jesse grew up with his father in the Mt Druitt suburb of Hassle Grove, is highly passionate about IMP’s vision and wants to use the IMP platform to empower his community. Growing up, Jesse used to spend much of his time catching the train to Cronulla beach to swim and exercise. He found this a great way to create a positive environment for himself when life became challenging particularly within his community. Jesse is extremely committed to training and sets himself high standards to achieve. He is currently studying Physiotherapy at University. Jesse believes that success is a result of a cycle of potential, belief, action and results. He is currently training his family members to live active and healthy lifestyles.

KIMBERLEY BENJAMIN

2016

Kimba is from the Yawuru/Bardi / Kija tribe from Broome, Western Australia, currently living in Perth, WA. Kimba was born and raised in Broome and has been heavily inspired by 2014 IMP Graduate, Adrian Dodson-Shaw. She has no running background, trained for two months leading into the trials and her effort was incredible. Kimba is very passionate about being a strong female Yawuru woman and made the point that strong tribes are built around strong leaders and she is passionate about becoming a strong leader for her people, and the wider WA community. She finished secondary school in Perth and is very connected to the Indigenous community in Broome and Perth. Through her work she mentors Indigenous girls in secondary school, she is deeply passionate about inspiring children in Perth and Broome areas. Kimba has completed a bachelor of Art / Journalism and would like to work in journalism in the future to promote positive messages and give her people a platform to break down negative stereotypes. In 2011 Kimba travelled to Fiji as a community volunteer to assist communities strengthen their resources, she was involved in redeveloping a school and teaching the children. It is very evident that she is a very strong young woman with incredible potential.

BILLY BELL

2016

Billy’s Indigenous heritage includes the Gundijmara/Yorta Yorta tribes. He lives with his partner and is looking forward to the birth of his first child in August. Billy is a program manager at Lake Condah Mission which is on Gundijmara country. There is a family history of obesity and unhealthy lifestyles in his family. Billy is committed to addressing the level of inactivity and chronic disease in his area, and is setting the example by recently losing 20kg. Billy wants to inspire his family and community to live a healthier lifestyle and address the high consumption of alcohol in his community. Billy has a Certificate III in Carpentry and is passionate about developing his skills and becoming a positive leader for his community.

JACINTA SMITH-ROBINS

2016

Jacinta ‘s tribe is Wangkumurra – (SA, NSW, QLD borders) Far North West NSW, grew up in the outback NSW town of Bourke where she currently lives with her partner and their baby girl, Charlie. Jacinta is very connected to the Indigenous community in Melbourne and her home town of Bourke in NSW. Her selection and involvement in IMP will have a significant impact in both communities which is a real bonus as they are very different communities being very urban and the other very remote. Jacinta does not know anyone in her region that has ever taken on something like IMP and wants to take up the challenge to expose her community in Bourke to a different path. “I want to show them that it is ok to have a dream and I feel I owe it to my family and community to be a role model and improve the self-esteem of my community,” she said. Jacinta’s long-term goal is to work in education and focus on Indigenous engagement.

KRISTIKA KUMAR

2016

Kristika is from the Wadi Wadi tribe of Wreck Bay, NSW (half an hr outside Nowra) and has overcome significant adversity in her life. Kristika grew up at Rec Bay mission with her mother before moving to Sydney where she faced a number of challenges. After overcoming hardship during her time in Sydney, she returned to live at Wreck Bay Mission in 2008 where she enrolled in education courses. Kristika now holds a Certificate IV in Beauty Therapy and Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Health Care, Certificate III in Business Admin and Certificate III in Pathology. Kristika works full time as an Aboriginal Health Worker specialising in Chronic Disease and regularly attends the Warminda Women’s Shed in Nowra exercising and mentoring other Indigenous women within the community. She has an incredible support network and is a great role model. Kristika said that she desperately wanted to be part of IMP to try overcome some barriers that exist in her life, so she can help other people do the same.

ZIBEON FIELDING

2016

Zibeon is proof that you can never ever give up. A Pinjanjatjara/Yanykunytjara man from Mimili in the APY Lands, SA, 2016 marked the fourth year Zibeon tried out to be part of the IMP squad. He is a very confident young man who possesses a strong character, resilience and a high level of motivation. Zibeon has eight brothers and sisters and lives with his parents and five of his siblings in Mimili. He has a Certificate IV in Primary Health care and works from the local clinic. Zibeon is passionate about addressing the health issues in his community particularly chronic disease and spreading the message through the community about how chronic disease can be prevented, and his ultimate career ambition is to become a doctor. Since missing out on the squad in 2015, Zibeon has volunteered at four deadly fun runs in the area and volunteers at a basketball program on Wednesday nights.

CANDICE LOVE

2016

Candice is a Ngarrindjeri from Murray Bridge in South Australia who works as an Archaeologist with a local Indigenous organisation preserving sensitive and sacred sites. Candice is involved with the Deadly Runners in Murray Bridge, established, managed and driven by 2013 IMP Graduate, Luke McKenzie and 2015 IMP Graduate, Daniel Lloyd. She is passionate about continuing the IMP legacy that Luke created and Daniel has continued. Candice is dedicated to addressing the need for more understanding and education about food and nutrition, and would like to use IMP as a platform to promote the positive and healthy benefits of a good diet.

ALICIA

2015

JOHN

2015

JESSICA

2015

DANIEL

2015

Chris believes that through the opportunity of representing IMP and his community, he can be a positive role model and demonstrate the benefits of what can be achieved through adopting an active and healthy lifestyle. He is passionate about engaging his community in physical activity and is excited about leading by example and showing the people of Gapuwiyak how powerful running can be.

JACI

2015

HARRIET

2015

Jessica is a Gunditjmara/Wemba Wemba woman who lives in Victoria and works part-time in payroll for Aboriginal Housing Victoria. Jessica is another strong advocate in the war against alcohol and drug abuse after seeing its devastating effects to people in her community. She believes that through the opportunity provided by IMP, combined with her drive and vision, she can set an example for young people and show them a different pathway that will inspire them to adopt more healthy habits and lifestyles. Jessica said it’s also important to demonstrate that running isn’t about winning, but it’s about having a go and challenging yourself.

EILEEN

2015

DWAYNE

2015

CHRIS

2015

NATHAN RILEY

2014

Born and bred in Dubbo, Nathan’s motivation for being involved with IMP is to help make a positive change in Dubbo and Indigenous communities across Australia. he would like to see more programs and opportunities established for the youth and believes the IMP is a great pathway for him to gain credibility to inspire kids in his community on a much larger scale. Nathan is a passionate amateur boxer and has only been involved with the sport for just over a year. His favourite component of boxing training is running, and he wants to gain more self-belief and confidence by finishing the challenging 42.195km distance. Nathan currently works at the local primary school as a teacher’s aid and he is committed to facilitating more physical activity programs for the kids to promote a healthier living in Dubbo.

ALLIRRA BRAUN

2014

Allirra’s family history of diabetes was her determining factor to pursue an active and healthy lifestyle and try out for IMP’s 2014 squad. She started running in December 2012, has since shed 30kgs and is passionate about promoting healthy lifestyles and the benefits of exercise. Allirra is a Body Step and Body Attack instructor and is passionate about inspiring and representing Indigenous people to step out of their comfort zone and become more involved in exercise. She wants to encourage everyone to be the change their community needs. Her happiest training moment has been inspiring her step Dad, who suffers from diabetes and sleep apnoea, to engage in exercise. Since Allirra’s selection in the squad, he has started walking and cycling regularly and swapped sleeping in for hitting the pavement.

TONI DAISY

2014

While struggling through the gruelling marathon, Toni Daisy will stay motivated by thinking of just one thing; her one year old daughter. A Townsville local, Toni relishes the mental and physical challenge associated with not only running 42.195km but also the six months of training leading up to the race. Toni trains every day, playing touch football three days a week and running on other days. She acknowledges the incidence of drugs and alcohol is too high in her community and she is determined to make a difference. She wants to grow and be strong, prove to herself that she can accomplish the goal of running a marathon and become a positive role model for her community. Toni has a Certificate III in Business and aspires to study Law at University.

RACHEL BAKER

2014

Rachel says that running, keeping healthy and giving up smoking has changed her attitude towards her work and health. She is more proactive and less stressed and believes completing the marathon is just the start of a world of opportunities for her. Rachel was encouraged to try out for this year’s squad by 2013 IMP runner, Evelyna Dhamarrandji, who is now Rachel’s mentor for her 2014 IMP journey. Rachel keeps active by walking and running every day, playing basketball and she has also competed at State level athletics in 100, 200 and 400m sprints. In addition to mentoring women in her community, she has recently inspired a group of five friends who now join her on her regular runs and walks. Rachel is passionate about improving the health of Indigenous communities by reducing health related illnesses and providing education about the importance of including better nutrition and more exercise into daily life. When she’s not training and working, Rachel enjoys fishing for mud crab, turtle eggs, oysters and crayfish.

SARAH CARMODY

2014

Sarah lives in Alice Springs and has two young children. After having children, Sarah’s own activities came second to being a Mum, but she recently found a love for running and is now a member of the local running and walking club in Alice Springs. Sarah wanted to be part of IMP to show people the importance of keeping healthy and fit. Sarah wants to gain more knowledge to pass on the positive message of living a healthy lifestyle to her family and community, especially young females.

ELSIE SERIAT

2014

Elsie is our first female IMP athlete from and based on Thursday Island who is passionate about making a difference in her community. Elsie wanted to be part of IMP to be a good role model to everyone in the Torres Strait, young and old. She believes this experience will be an eye-opener for everyone on island and herself. Elsie believes her IMP experience will provide her with a lifestyle change and prove that she can tackle this amazing challenge. Since applying in March, Elsie has lost 12kg and is determined to continue working hard. Elsie has already inspired many other community members to get active; she regularly has a support crew during her training runs and rides. Elsie also organises a volunteer fitness program for anyone interested in joining her and is very passionate about encouraging positive health and fitness messages community-wide.

ADRIAN DODSON-SHAW

2014

Adrian works for the Local Kimberly Land Council as a full-time Project Officer and loves travelling out to communities and facilitating sporting programs. He has been a strong supporter of IMP and inspired by good friend Charlie Maher, who was part of IMP in 2010. Adrian is our first IMP athlete from Western Australia since 2011. He was unsuccessful with his application in 2012 and used the experience to return, fitter and stronger than ever. Adrian wanted to be part of IMP for self-achievement for himself and his family, he wants to lead by example and be a good role model for his two sons and his community. Adrian comes from a strong AFL playing background but is keen to get heavily involved with running and provide his heavily football orientated community with an alternative physical activity.

RAYMOND INGRAM

2014

Raymond grew up in Western Sydney, before recently moving to Yulara to take up a traineeship with the National Indigenous Training Academy at Yulara in Central Australia, providing him with a Certificate II in Hospitality. Raymond was inspired and encouraged to apply to be part of IMP by his work collegue Colin, who was part of the IMP squad in 2013. Raymond has competed at a high level in amateur boxing in Australia, winning State and National titles. He wants to push himself to another level of fitness and believes being involved with IMP will show him how to achieve and gain mental discipline. Raymond wanted to be involved in IMP for the opportunity, the challenge, and most importantly the ability to promote health for other Indigenous Australians. He wants to show others you can do anything once you put your mind to it.

HAROLD MATTHEW

2014

Harold is the first IMP male athlete from Thursday Island. Harold was inspired to try out for IMP to carve out a new path and shine in a different sport, as everyone in the Torres Strait plays league. Harold wants to achieve and experience the feeling of finishing a marathon and is committed to crossing the line and setting an example for his family and community. Harold is currently training everyday on Thursday Island and hopes to encourage his community to be active and healthy. Harold works full-time for Queensland Health in Dengue Prevention Team and is passionate about visiting the Islands on a regular basis to help other communities. He is dedicated to teaching Indigenous people to be healthy, and is keen to involve more people from the Torres Strait into IMP in the future.

BRENDAN PEETERS

2014

Representing Cairns, is Brendan Peeters who grew up on the Tablelands with his seven siblings. Brendan enjoys a challenge and believes IMP is an opportunity of a lifetime. Brendan started running at the age of 15 to improve his fitness for AFL, but enjoyed his running more than footy and it soon became his main focus. After representing Queensland and placing at Nationals in the 1500m and 800m, Brendan went on to represent Australia on three occasions at the Oceania Championships in the decathlon in 2006, 2007 and 2008. After years of training in Brisbane as part of Athletics Australia’s Kick Start Program, Brendan decided he wanted to return home to Cairns to give back to his community. Brendan now runs his own business and running/track and field squad in Cairns, coaching many of Cairns’ up and coming runners. Brendan believes being part of the IMP team will give him the opportunity to become a great role model not only for the kids he coaches, but also be a positive influence to everyone in his community.

RUTH WALLACE

2014

Ruth is the first female IMP athlete from South Australia. Born in Adelaide, she actually spent most of her childhood in Cairns before moving back to Adelaide. Ruth has played soccer since she was 10 years old, and played at the highest level representing Australia in the junior Matildas team in the Asian Cup in 2009. Ruth also represented South Australia in AFL and played for Adelaide United up until 2013. Ruth is a young ambassador for Port Power Football Club in their Community Youth Program. As an ambassador of this program, Ruth delivers physical activity, nutrition and smoking awareness to numerous Aboriginal communities throughout South Australia and Northern Territory. It also allows her to talk about her own experiences as an athlete, the obstacles she has overcome, and what it takes to compete at an elite level. Ruth wanted to be involved with IMP to become a stronger, inspirational and motivating leader for her Aboriginal Community. Ruth believes that by completing the gruelling journey, IMP will give her the power to promote health and education to support more Aboriginal communities.

JACK WILSON

2013

20 years old from Townsville. Jack missed out on the IMP try outs last year, so was keen to be a part of the Project this year. He tried out for IMP because he believes there is a light at the end of the tunnel, and wanted a goal to focus on. He wants to be a strong Indigenous role model in his community, and to gain a better understating of the health issues affecting the people in his community. Jack has always had a passion for running, and was a talented cross country runner while at school. He also played NRL, but injured his shoulder, and now runs every day. Jack volunteers coaching junior football teams, and is now a third year apprentice carpenter. When he finished his apprenticeship he is hoping to go to university.

GEORGIA GLEESON

2013

30 years old from Queanbeyan Georgia has struggled throughout her life with Bipolar. She has consulted numerous doctors who have all provided her with medication of which have severe side effects. From years of trial and error sorting out what medication works best for her, she has found that regular physical activity is by far the best form of therapy to control her moods. She knows she has to run in order to make herself feel good. Georgia wanted to be part of IMP to show people that they are capable to changing their lives, and they don’t have to feel helpless. She wants to pass on the positive message of living a healthy life to her family and community, especially young females. Georgia recently graduated with a Certificate IV in Fitness, and is running her own Indigenous boot camp classes in Queanbeyan.

CARLA SNOW

2013

23 years old from Newcastle Carla is Aboriginal from the Craig-Gumbanggir clan. She grew up in Coffs Harbour, before moving to Newcastle for University, and is the second IMP team member from Newcastle, following in the footsteps of 2012 athlete Nat Heath. Carla lives in a low socio-economic area in Newcastle. There are a lot of kids roaming around with no drive, and she wants to change their outlook on life, and their perception in community. She is already a big role-model in Newcastle. She coaches an under 21, mostly Indigenous, touch football team and is a state touch football representative. Carla wants to challenge herself mentally and physically and inspire her community, as well as the students that she teaches, and show the younger generation the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. Carla moved to Newcastle for University, and took up running because she found it helped control her anxiety issues. She works as a Physical Education teacher.

CHARMAINE PATRICK

2013

29 years old from Hermannsburg Charmaine is Aboriginal from Hermannsburg, and has lived in the community her whole life. She is the first IMP athlete from Hermannsburg, and is helping to strengthen the IMP connection in Central Australia, following the participation of athletes from Alice Springs in 2010, 2011 and 2012. Charmaine wants to run and be healthy and to also stand up for her community and show other single mums that if she can do it, they can do it to. She wants to be a role model and stop smoking, try IMP and try running. She also wants to be part of IMP to encourage and inspire others, and show them that there is more to life. Charmaine is a mother to two young boys and works full-time at the East Arnhem Shire.

ELISE HULL

2013

24 years old from Bathurst Elise is Aboriginal from Adnyamathanha/Arabana. Elise wanted to be involved in IMP because she wants to do something for herself. She also wants to inspire her family and community to be active. Elise took-up running 12 months ago, and is aiming to do a fun run every month. Elise is actively involved with Charles Sturt University in Bathurst, and works to connect elders with the rest of the community. On top of that, she is also studying a Bachelor of Arts, and is a mother to a four year old daughter. Elise had often thought about applying to be part of IMP in the past, but wanted to wait until she had built up a good support network for her young daughter. She now believes she is ready to chase her dream.

EVELYNA DHAMARRANDJI

2013

23 years old from Galiwinku, Elcho Island Evelyna is Aboriginal, from the Djambarrpuyngu clan. She is the first IMP athlete from Elcho Island, and has lived in the community of Galiwinku her whole life. She wants to be part of IMP to represent her community and to try something different. She wants to show other women her age in her community that she can run a marathon, and to be a good role model. Evelyna is the head of her local church group and helps young people in the community with employment. She has previously been nominated for the Northern Territory Young Achiever Award. She has represented the Northern Territory in track running, AFL and touch football. Evelyna works full-time at the East Arnhem Shire and is mother to two young children. She has a great support base in the community, including her partner, and other community members.

NATHAN DJERRKURA

2013

24 years old from Yirrkala, NT Nathan is Aboriginal from the Wangurri clan. He grew up in Yirrkala, before moving to Victoria to pursue his passion for AFL, playing for both Geelong and the Western Bulldogs for six years. He recently moved back to Yirrkala to be closer to his family and now works full-time as a youth worker for the East Arnhem Shire Council organising different activities and encouraging young people in the community to achieve their best. Nathan wants to continue to build on the impact that past IMP squad members Jamie Wunungmurra (Boston 2012) and Arian Pearson (New York 2011) have had in Yirrkala. He has a strong interest in sport and recreation and wants to promote the importance of a healthy lifestyle to the people in his community.

TALI TABUAI

2013

25 years old from Saibai Island Tali wanted to try out for IMP to try something different and wants to shine in a different sporting field because everyone plays the same sports in Cairns. He was inspired by his brother Jurgean, who ran for IMP in 2012, and wants to show people that if Jurgean can do it, so can he. He wants to spread the message in the Torres Strait that you can choose to do something different and still succeed. Tali plays AFL and NRL, training twice a week and playing games on the weekend. He runs three times each week. He finished grade 12 and was school captain in high school. He has travelled to Canberra for a ‘Dare to Dream’ program. He loves what IMP is about and is keen to get some more people from Saibai Islands to try out for IMP next year.

COLIN SAMPTON

2013

23 years old from Cairns Colin is Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander from Badu Island. Since taking up running 18 months ago, Colin has lost 35kg, and is now in love with the sport. He now wants to become a long distance runner, and his passion for running was inspired by the 2012 London Olympics. He also wants to use running to stay healthy and continue to lose weight, while motivating his family and showing them what he can achieve. Colin spent his whole life in Cairns, before recently taking up a traineeship with the National Indigenous Training Academy at Yulara in central Australia, which will give him a Certificate II in Hospitality.

JUSTIN MILLER

2013

25 years old from Katherine Justin is Aboriginal from Ramburrunga Trip Arnhem Land Justin moved around a lot growing up and raised himself from a young age. He has lived in Katherine for the past seven years. He now raises seven children, a number of which are foster children, with his partner, and wants to teach them the right way to live, and ensure that they are the opportunities that he didn’t have. Justin wanted to be involved in IMP to help make a positive change in Katherine, as well as in wider Indigenous Australia. He also wants to inspire his children and show them that they can achieve anything in life. Justin runs a program in Katherine called Strongbalas – an Indigenous men’s health program that supports men through a variety of issues including homelessness, crime rehabilitation and health education.

LUKE MCKENZIE

2013

27 years old from Murray Bridge Luke is Aboriginal, and lives in Murray Bridge. Luke has been integral in helping IMP develop a strong relationship with the Murray Bridge community through the Deadly Fun Run Series, and wants to show young people in the community that if you work hard, you can achieve anything. Luke was diagnosed with leukaemia at age 11, and wasn’t expected to recover. After spending years in a hospital room, he then started his life from scratch, and has since played basketball at an A Grade level, as well as recently losing 12kg. Luke wanted to be part of IMP because he believes in promoting healthy lifestyles and has always wanted to see someone from Murray Bridge involved in the Project. Luke loves to see what can be achieved when you put your mind to it. Luke works full-time in Indigenous employment.

JURGEAN TABUAI

2012

30 years old from Saibai Island Jurgean was the first ever Torres Strait Islander male to be selected into the Project, and to finish a marathon. Jurgean joined the Project to inspire young people in his community to take up running, just as he had. He has always been a strong runner, but has improved his running significantly since joining the Project. After suffering a leg injury earlier in the year, Jurgean returned to run a 40 minute 10km at the Gold Coast Running Festival in July, and went on to finish the 30km Alice Springs test event in 2 hours 34 minutes. Jurgean travelled to New York in November with the 2012 squad, before the marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. He continued with his training after returning home, and finished the Tokyo Marathon with the IMP team in February 2013 in a time of 3 hours 27 minutes. Jurgean is currently living in Port Lincoln, and is expecting his first child later in 2013.

MARIUS CLARKE

2012

23 years old from Gunbalanya Marius wanted to be involved in the Project as an inspiration to his family and community, and to represent them in a positive way. His involvement has helped to show young Indigenous men and women in his community that running can make them fit and healthy, and take them to places like New York. Marius was integral in helping set up a Deadly Fun Run Series in Gunbalanya, and managed to get local businesses on board to help support a community barbeque at the end of the run. Marius is heavily involved in AFL, and works full-time for the Clontarf Academy. His running improved significantly since joining the Project, and he finished the 30km Alice Springs test event in September in 2 hours 25 minutes. Marius travelled to New York with the IMP squad in November 2012 before the marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. Unfortunately after returning from New York, Marius sustained an injury that stopped him running. He is hoping to start training again soon, and wants to run the Frankfurt Marathon in Germany in October.

NAT HEATH

2012

27 years old from Newcastle, NSW Nat decided to apply for the Project as an opportunity for education and health, as well as a way to promote health and wellbeing in Indigenous communities. During his marathon training, Nat became heavily involved with the Newcastle Parkrun series, and has improved his running significantly. Nat travelled to New York with the 2012 IMP team before the marathon was cancelled due to Hurricane Sandy. Nat continued with his marathon training, and finished the Tokyo Marathon with the IMP team in February 2013 in a time of 3 hours 15 minutes. Nat recently moved to Sydney to take up a position with the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME). He is continuing his running training, and is in the process of training for a half-ironman event.

EMMA CAMERON

2012

31 years old from Darwin Emma decided to try out for the Project to encourage others and show how running, and sport in general can increase confidence, especially for Indigenous women. She wants to be a role model for the next generation, and to make people around her proud to be Indigenous. Emma is a keen sportswoman, and has been involved in netball from a young age, representing the Northern Territory. Emma has been heavily involved in fundraising for the Project, and has raised close to $2000 through her community. Emma suffered a knee injury prior to the 30km time trial in Alice Springs in September, and is training hard for the Boston Marathon in April, 2013, after finishing a 30km run in Canberra in February.

KOREY SUMMERS

2012

23 years old from Alice Springs Korey has been a talented runner all his life, and prior to joining IMP, has never publicly recognised his Indigenous heritage. Korey wanted to be involved in the Project to be a role model and encourage young people in Alice Springs and to make a difference in his community. Korey follows in the footsteps of past IMP athletes from Alice Springs – Charlie Maher and Caleb Hart in 2010 and Reggie Smith in 2011. Korey proved his running talent throughout his time in the Project, finishing the Blackmores Sydney Running Festival half-marathon in September 2012 in a personal best time of 79 minutes. Korey is also the first IMP athlete to win a national medal, picking up two medals at the Northern Territory Athletics Championships in 2012. Following the cancellation of the 2012 New York Marathon due to Hurricane Sandy, Korey continued his training and finished the Tokyo Marathon in February 2013, alongside his IMP team mates, in an IMP marathon record time of 3 hours 8 minutes. He hope to continue with his running, and wants to represent Australia at the Olympic Games.

NATHAN SUTHERLAND

2011

21 years old from Orange, NSW Nathan started running at the age of six, and has a passion for middle distance running. He has a personal best time of 15.51 over 5000m. He hopes to one day make it to the Olympics. Nathan was part of the Jumpstart Program, which is aimed at finding Indigenous athletes to represent Australia at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Nathan finished the 2011 New York Marathon in 4 hours 19 minutes. He now lives in Orange working in psycholoy.

BRIDGETTE WILLIAMS

2011

31 years old from Mt Gravatt, QLD Bridgette has always been a keen sportswoman, and is actively involved in many sporting groups and organisations in her home town of Mt Gravatt, just outside Brisbane. While at University in Brisbane, she chaired the Barunga Centre Indigenous student committee. She currently works at Griffith University in the Indigenous Centre, and acts as a liaison between students and Indigenous elders. She is passionate about creating meaningful pathways for Indigenous students. When Bridgette first heard about the Project in 2010, she immediately wanted to be a part of it, and was ecstatic when she heard that the 2011 team would include women. She was one of the first ever Indigenous women to cross the finish line of the New York Marathon, finishing in a time of 4 hours 1 minute. Bridgette believes that life goes by so quickly that you must take every opportunity that comes your way. She is motivated by her Indigenous heritage, and tries to put back into the community wherever possible. Following the New York Marathon, she has continued with her running, and enjoys taking part in fun runs.

MICHAEL PURCELL

2011

19 years old, from Charleville, QLD Michael has been a talented runner throughout his life, and made the state team for 3000m. He also has a passion for rugby league and touch football, two sports that he excels at. Michael loves to run and push himself in every opportunity he is given, as he feels as though he was given a second chance after suffering a chronic illness in 2010. Michael was the second IMP athlete to cross the finish line of the 2011 New York Marathon in a time of 3 hours 33 minutes. He continues to build on his running, and hopes to train for another marathon in the future.

KELSEY YOUNGBLUTT

2011

21 years old from Palm Island, QLD Kelsey wanted to be involved in the Project to encourage people in her community of Palm Island to live a healthy and active life and to make family proud. Kelsey is an outstanding individual, and has taken part in a number of Indigenous leadership programs across the country. She has helped run sporting programs as part of the Cathy Freeman Foundation and is focussed on getting young people into healthy lifestyles by promoting sport within her community. Kelsey has recently become a mother to a young baby.

NADINE HUNT

2011

24 years old from Cairns, QLD Nadine joined the Project in 2011 as she wanted to set a good example to the people in her community, and to make her family proud. She played an integral role in setting up the Deadly Fun Run Series in a number of Far North Queensland communities. Nadine was the first Torres Strait Islander to be involved with the Project, and the first Indigenous women ever to cross the finish line of the New York Marathon, finishing with Bianca Graham in a time of 3 hours 40 minutes. Following New York, Nadine relocated from Cairns to Canberra, and now works for IMP organising the Deadly Fun Run Series and delivering the Certificate IV in Health and Leisure to current Project members. Nadine has continued to improve and build on her running following her involvement with the Project, and is currently training for the Frankfurt Marathon in Germany later this year, where she hopes to beat her time from New York.

BIANCA GRAHAM

2011

30 years old from Weipa, QLD Bianca decided to try out for the Project because she wanted to represent her local area and show others what they needed to do to lead a healthy, active lifestyle. She grew up in Weipa, and went to boarding school in Townsville, where she developed a love for running. She studied Business Marketing at Brisbane University, and now works as a Communications Officer at Rio Tinto in Weipa. Bianca is passionate about health and fitness, and with Nadine Hunt, became the first ever Indigenous woman to cross the finish line of the New York Marathon, in a time of 3 hours 40 minutes. Following the New York Marathon, Bianca continued to build on her running training, and ran a personal best time of 91 minutes in the 2012 Gold Coast half-marathon. She is now training for the 2013 Frankfurt Marathon in Germany in October, where she hopes to run a personal best time.

JAMIE WUNUNGMURRA

2011

21 years old from Yirrkala, East Arnhem Land Jamie was the first IMP athlete selected from Yirrkala, and has helped build a strong link between IMP and the small community. He works in the local art gallery in Yirrkala playing the didgeridoo. Jamie ran the 2012 Boston Marathon alongside fellow IMP squad member Tegan Pigram, finishing the gruelling course, in record heat, in a time of 6 hours 7 minutes. After returning from Boston, Jamie travelled to Seattle to promote the Yirrkala Art Gallery. Jamie is continuing to build on his running, and hopes to become a strong 800 meter runner in the future.

ARAIN PEARSON

2011

30 years old from Yirrkala, East Arnhem Land Arian grew up in Yirrkala and attended boarding school in Darwin. At school, he was trained by Cathy Freeman, and represented the Northern Territory for touch football six years in a row. He first heard about IMP in 2010 and wanted to be involved to make his community proud. Arian is a teacher’s assistant in Yirrkala. His family runs a cultural experience business called Bawaka. In his spare time, he enjoys fishing and swimming. Arian finished the 2011 New York Marathon in a time of 3 hours 54 minutes. Since New York, he has been integral in helping set up the Deadly Fun Run Series in Yirrkala. He travelled to the inaugural Deadly Fun Run Championships in Uluru in 2012 with the small team from Yirrkala. Arian is part of band that is played regularly in mainstream radio. He is also the Surf Lifesaving President in Yirrkala and has his Bronze Medallion.

PATRICK KEAIN

2011

26 years old from Hove, South Australia Patrick played AFL from a young age, and was the captain of his team for a number of years. He was also a keen athlete growing up, excelling at 800 metre and 1500 metre events. Patrick decided to try out for the Project because he wanted to have the opportunity to promote the importance of living a healthy lifestyle to those close to him. Patrick was the fastest IMP athlete to finish the 2011 New York Marathon, finishing in a time of 3 hours 19 minutes. That also gave him the title of IMP record holder.

TEGAN PIGRAM

2011

27 years old from Derby, Western Australia Tegan has always been fit and focussed on being healthy. Before joining the Project, she ran several times a week, and believed that she had what it took to complete a marathon. Tegan sustained an injury prior to the 30km time trial, which is used as a final selection for the New York Marathon team, so was unable to travel to New York. Tegan continued training for a marathon once she recovered from her injury, and ran the 2012 Boston Marathon, alongside teammate Jamie Wunungmurra, in a time of 5 hours 17 minutes. Tegan is extremely goal oriented, and enjoys being faced with different challenges, which was a catalyst for her marathon training. Tegan works for Fortescue Metals in Perth, and has continued to build on her running following the Boston Marathon.

REGGIE SMITH

2011

21 years old from Alice Springs Reggie is part of the Clonfarf Academy and is a talented AFL played. He hopes to make the Northern Territory Thunder team in the future, and recently moved back from Victoria, where he was pursuing his football career. Reggie finished the 2011 New York Marathon in a time of 4 hours 3 minutes. Since being part of the Project, Reggie has continued to strengthen IMP’s link with Alice Springs, and has been involved in facilitating an Indigenous health program in Amoonguna, a small community outside of Alice Springs.

TAHLI RAFTERY

2011

20 years old from Perth, Western Australia Tahli is a passionate and talented basketball played, and has been playing competitively for ten years. She competed in long distance running throughout her childhood, and has represented Western Australia. Tahli wanted to be part of the Project as she was motivated by her mum who works in child protection. She was also motivated by the opportunity to visit New York and run the biggest marathon in the world.

DEREK HILL

2011

20 years old from York, Western Australia Derek has always been very fit, and focussed on living a healthy lifestyle. He is a passionate AFL player, and participated in athletics and cross country running throughout school. Derek wanted to be part of the Project to inspire his young cousin, who was in a Perth youth detention centre at the time of his selected into IMP. He wanted to use his involvement in IMP as a way of showing others that through running, you can achieve anything you put your mind to, and that it is important to be fit and healthy and lead a healthy lifestyle.

KIWA SCHILLING

2011

19 years old from Kanmantoo, South Australia Kiwa is a passionate AFL player, but gave up football to focus on his running once selected as a member of the Project in 2011. He wanted to make the most of the opportunity that he had been given and show people that he can dig in and work hard when given the chance. Kiwa finished the 2011 New York Marathon in 4 hours 3 minutes, and has continued to build on his running following this involvement in the Project.

SAM SHEPHERD

2011

21 years old from Perth, Western Australia Sam was extremely active throughout high school, and participated in a number of sports including basketball, touch football, swimming and athletics. She continues to play Australian Rules football, which helps to keep her fit. Sam decided to try out for the Project because she wanted something to challenger herself, and believed that this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that she should make the most of. Sam was one of the first Indigenous women to ever cross the finish line of the New York Marathon, finishing in a time of 4 hours 13 minutes. Sam is studying Environmental Engineering at University in Perth, and has been integral in helping to maintain the IMP link with Western Australia.

CAINE SCHOLFIELD

2011

19 years old from Sunbury, Victoria Caine is a talented athlete, and an up and coming 10,000 metre runner. He has represented Victoria in cross country and enjoys playing Australian Rules football. Caine wanted to be involved in the Project in memory of his father, who passed away when he was young. Caine likes to prove people wrong when they question his ability. This has motivated him throughout his life, and helped him to run faster and train harder. Caine ran a gutsy race to finish the 2012 New York Marathon in a time of 3 hours 54 minutes. Caine hopes that the Certificate III he studied with in the Project will help him to obtain employment within the sport and recreation industry when. He is also studying at Sports Education and Development Australia (SEDA).

JUAN DARWIN

2010

24 years old from Maningrida, East Arnhem Land Juan faced many challenges coming from the extremely remote community of Maningrida. The area is accessible by permit only and is not accessible by road during the wet season. At least 10 different languages are spoken in the area. Shortly after being selected in the Project, Juan temporarily moved to Darwin to focus on his marathon training. Juan is a natural born leader and captain of the local football team. He has a seven year old son called Tyson, who he used as inspiration while training. Juan finished the New York Marathon in a time of 4 hours 50 minutes, becoming one of the first ever Indigenous Australians to do so. Juan has been integral in building IMP’s presence in Maningrida, and as a result, IMP has since selected two athletes to be part of the Project – Beth Ali in 2011 and Grace Eather in 2012. Juan recently started work as a physical education teacher at the Maningrida Primary School, and has been working hard to facilitate the Deadly Fun Run Series in the community. Juan hopes to one day train for and complete his second marathon.re and we can link through socials/contact/donation buttons below

JOSEPH DAVIES

2010

21 years old from Kununurra, Western Australia Joseph is a very talented footballer, but gave the sport up in 2010 after being selected into the Project. Joseph was the second Indigenous Australian ever to finish the New York Marathon, coming in behind Charlie Maher in a time of 3 hours 54 minutes. Joseph works with Garnduwa in Kununurra, running youth leadership and sports camps to inspire Indigenous kids to achieve more than they ever imagined possible. Since running the New York Marathon, Joseph has continued with his AFL, but hopes to one day run another marathon. He has recently become a father to twin girls.

CALEB HART

2010

21 years old from Alice Springs, Northern Territory Caleb finished the 2010 New York Marathon a time of 5 hours 1 minute, becoming one of the first Indigenous Australians to do so. After completing the marathon, Caleb was selected as part of the Northern Territory Thunder football team, and continues to play AFL at a representative level. Caleb is assisting on ground in central Australia, setting up the SmartStart for Kids I-Can program in the small community of Amoonguna, just outside Alice Springs. Caleb hopes to one day train for and complete his second marathon.

CHARLIE MAHER

2010

30 years old from Alice Springs, Northern Territory Charlie became the first Indigenous Australian to ever run the New York Marathon when he crossed the finish line in 2010 in a time of 3 hours 32 minutes. Charlie is an inspirational individual, and an extremely talented runner and AFL player. He has been integral in strengthening the link between IMP and Alice Springs, and he helped facilitate a number of Deadly Fun Runs on the ground in Alice Springs. Charlie then went on to run the 2011 Boston Marathon, beating his personal best time by 10 minutes, all while raising close to $2000 for a dialysis unit in Alice Springs. In mid-2012, Charlie gave up playing AFL to concentrate on his running. He ran a personal best time of 87 minutes in the Sydney Running Festival half-marathon in September 2012, and is now in training for the Gold Coast Marathon in July, where he hopes to run another personal best. Charlie is currently working as a mentor at Yirara College in Alice Springs as part of the Clontarf Academy.

Social Ventures Australia Summary Report

A recent report by Social Ventures Australia measures conclusively the long-term, transformative effect of the Indigenous Marathon Project, not only for graduates but also for family members, community members and whole communities who then make long-term behavioural changes. You can read the summary here:

Download Report

Sponsorship and Fundraising

The IMF is heavily funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Health. It is our long-term goal to establish a $20 million endowment fund to ensure the Foundation’s long-term self-sustainability.

We need your help to achieve this goal.

For more information about sponsorship and fundraising, please contact IMF Fundraising & Partnerships Manager, Elna Jennings on (02) 6162 4750 or Elna.J@imf.org.au

IMF has a range of multi-year Foundation partner and sponsorship opportunities available with benefits commensurate with investment. Some benefits may include (but not limited to):

  • Acknowledgement of sponsorship through IMF networks
  • Exclusive invitations to VIP events including IMP camps
  • A cultural immersion experience visiting the community of an IMP Graduate
  • Being trained and mentored by an IMP Graduate for a marathon

There are a number of alternative ways you can contribute to the Foundation:

  • Engage in our Speaker Scholarship program
  • Host an event
  • Make a one-off donation
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  • Select IMF as your charity of choice in an upcoming running event, triathlon, or any other challenge
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