“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.”
The Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP) is a six-month health, wellbeing, and leadership journey. The project uses running to change lives and provide a renewed sense of empowerment, purpose, and pride.
Each year, 12 Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander people between aged between 18-30 are selected to train for the biggest marathon in the world in November, the New York City Marathon. No prior running experience is necessary.
Squad members will meet at set times throughout the year to participate in a week-long camp, which consists of meeting inspirational leaders, participating in an official running event and completing an education component – before final selection into the squad that will run the New York City Marathon. Members are supported by IMP Head Coach Damian Tuck, and world marathon champion Robert de Castella.
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 and Torres Strait Islander Mental Health First Aid
- Media training
Members of the squad push their physical and mental boundaries to a new level. We use the marathon to support you to realise that you can achieve anything.
Using their skills, knowledge and qualifications, IMP Graduates 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 IMP covers all costs for members of the squad throughout the IMP year including travel to and from camps, accommodation, education costs, equipment, and uniform etc. (excludes any personal spending money during camps).
Since 2010, there are now 132 IMP Graduates who have ran a marathon and become change-makers within their communities.
Applications for the 2023 Indigenous Marathon Project will open mid-December.
Callum was inspired to apply for the Indigenous Marathon Project after IMP Graduate Juan Darwin from Maningrida ran the New York City Marathon in 2010. Callum says “I’ll be running for my family, my community of Maningrida and for my young son. I am so proud that in a few years’ time I can tell my son all about this journey and inspire him. I hope I can inspire others too to believe that they are capable of anything.”
Chloe applied for the IMP to challenge herself to be stronger, and to inspire her children and remind them that they can do anything. Chloe says, “I want to be a positive role model and develop transferable skills to add to my ability to support my community.”
Cara has come through the Queanbeyan Deadly Runners since joining in 2015 after being inspired by 2013 Grad Georgia Gleeson who formed the group and fellow grad 2015 Aaron West & member Jaeme Conlon 2016.
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’s allowed her to trust her body and be disciplined to pursue her goals and dreams and one of those dreams who to be selected in IMP.
After seeing high rates of suicide in our communities, particularly in our young men. She believes that whilst it won’t solve everything, education for our community and 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.
He is highly regarded by his community and is very active in assisting the Sport and Recreation staff deliver programs for the local children.
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.
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
- Join our 42 Club regular donor program
- Select IMF as your charity of choice in an upcoming running event, triathlon, or any other challenge
- Purchase IMF exclusively designed merchandise, not available in stores