IMP athletes arrive back on Australian soil

A tired but enthusiastic Indigenous Marathon Project team have arrived back in Australia after a tumultuous week in New York.

While the team didn’t board the plane in New York as marathon runners like they had hoped, following the cancellation of the New York Marathon, they have instead learnt many lessons about tackling the challenges that life delivers.

Instead of covering the 42.195km marathon course on Sunday morning, the team put on their race bibs and helped with a marathon effort of a different kind – helping to clean-up New York.

Squad member Grace Eather, whose remote community of Maningrida was damaged by cyclone Monica in 2006 said she was disappointed that she didn’t get the chance to run the marathon, but seeing the damage in New York first-hand had made her understand why it was cancelled.

“Instead of running the marathon, we spent the day in Brooklyn helping out at churches and community centres to get supplies to affected areas,” she said.

“Seeing families’ devastation from the aftermath of flooding from the hurricane made me understand more why it had to be cancelled, and I am just grateful to be able to spend time in this incredible city and help people in need.”

Squad member Nat Heath said that although the team didn’t get the chance to run the marathon that they had trained so hard for, they had all learnt a great deal by helping with the clean-up process.

“Keeping the marathon was something that was meant to bring the city together, but in this case all it was doing was dividing the city, and that isn’t the idea behind the New York Marathon,’’ he said.

“To spend the day helping locals instead of running was a rewarding experience and it was something that bought the whole team together and showed us what is really important.”

Understandably, the cancellation of the marathon has been a significant expense to IMP, and as a small charity, IMP simply does not have the funds to take the team to another international marathon, and will instead concentrate on raising the necessary funds to send the team to an Australian marathon in the near future.

For more information, please contact Laura Oldfield on (02) 6260 5750 or 0438 523 543.