Eleven Indigenous runners will this week descend on the Gold Coast, ready to tackle the prestigious Gold Coast Airport half marathon and 10km events.
The athletes, many from tiny Indigenous communities scattered across the country, are three months into their training for the New York City Marathon in November as part of Rob de Castella’s Indigenous Marathon Project.
Under the watchful eye of de Castella, and coach Tim Rowe, the athletes will line up with thousands of runners from across the globe to tackle one of the biggest events on the Australian running calendar.
For most, this will be the longest they have ever run, and for many, the first time they have ever competed in an organised running event.
Thirty year old Emma Cameron from Darwin said she was feeling nervous, but excited ahead of the half marathon on Sunday.
“I know it’s going to be really hard and tough, but I am looking forward to the excitement on the day, and the feeling of running across the finish line”, she said.
“Right now, I just want Sunday to come so I can run”.
De Castella said the event was an important step in the athlete’s preparation for New York and was happy with their progress so far.
“These athletes have been given a great opportunity to participate in one of the country’s most well-known running events, and this will no doubt be a highlight in their preparation for New York,” he said.
“These guys are a long way from home and they will be thrown out of their comfort zones, but I am excited to see what each of them can achieve”.
While on the Gold Coast, the athletes will tick off more components of their Certificate IV in Leisure and Health, which they will be able to take back home, and inspire family and friends.