IMP athletes set to shine on the world’s biggest stage

In less than a week, the 2012 New York Marathon team will arrive in the world’s biggest city to run the world’s biggest marathon – the New York Marathon!

On Sunday 4th November, eight inspirational Indigenous Marathon Project athletes will put six months of blood, sweat and tears into practice as they set out to achieve what they never thought possible.

Korey Summers from Alice Springs, Marius Clarke from Gunbalanya, Justin Gaykamangu from Ramingining, Kieren de Santis from Tiwi Islands, Nat Heath from Newcastle, Jurgean Tabuai from Townsville, Grace Eather from Maningrida and Amber Parker from Newcastle will tackle the 42.195km journey alongside 47,000 other athletes, and will be cheered across the finish line by 2.5 million spectators, and 35 million television viewers.

The 42.195km course is considered one of the ultimate physical and mental challenges for any runner and one that will test the minds, bodies and spirits of these eight dedicated athletes – but once they cross the finish line, they will join the elite few who can call themselves a marathon runner.

For 29 year old Justin Gaykamangu, the bustling streets of New York will be a world away from the remote East Arnhem community of Ramingining that he calls home.

“I am feeling tough, and ready to go. I have been training well and thinking a lot about the race,” said Justin.

“When I am running, I imagine the trees are the buildings and that I am running in New York. My plan is to try and get to the finish line in less than three hours by running smart and not hard.”

20 year old Kieren de Santis from the remote community of Milikapiti on the Tiwi Islands never imagined that he would ever travel to the world’s biggest city to run a marathon alongside 47,000 other people.

“I am really excited by the opportunity that I have been given and I am looking forward to representing the Tiwi Islands in New York,” Kieren said.

While the aim in New York will be to get each of the eight athletes across the marathon finish line, IMP director and former World Champion marathon runner Rob de Castella said running the marathon would show the athletes that they can achieve anything.

“Life for these inspirational athletes will begin when they cross the finish line in New York, and when they realise that if they put their minds to it, they can achieve anything that they want in life,” de Castella said.

“Being part of IMP and running a marathon will open many doors, and present many opportunities that will change the lives, not only of these athletes, but of their families, friends and communities back home.”

The athletes will arrive in Sydney on Tuesday 30th of October, and will undertake more components of their Certificate IV in Health and Leisure, as well as their final training sessions before flying out to New York on Thursday 1st November for the week long trip.

Media Opportunity: Wednesday 31st October, 9am-midday.

Swiss Grand Hotel, Bondi Beach, Sydney

IMP athletes will be available outside the Swiss Grand at Bondi Beach between 9am and midday on Wednesday 31st October. To arrange an interview please contact Laura Oldfield on (02) 6260 5750 or 0438 523 543. Interviews can be arranged outside this time. Please contact Laura to make arrangements.