From the red centre to the big apple…IMP athletes on their way to New York

Six months of long runs, hill sprints, sore legs, early morning starts and precious time away from family has paid off for 12 Indigenous athletes who have earned their tickets to the New York and Boston Marathons.
The final team to travel to New York in six weeks will be Jack Wilson from Townsville, Nathan Djerrkura from Yirrkala, Colin Sampton and Tali Tabuai from Cairns, Justin Miller from Katherine, Luke McKenzie from Murray Bridge, Carla Snow from Newcastle, Elise Hull from Bathurst, Georgia Gleeson form Queanbeyan, Evelyna Dhamarrandj from Elcho Island and Charmaine Patrick from Hermannsburg.
Lisa Bloxsome from Nowra will continue training for the Boston Marathon in April 2014. The inspirational athletes, all part of Rob de Castella’s Indigenous Marathon Project, completed the toughest challenge of their short running careers yesterday when they finished a 30km run through the red desert streets of Alice Springs. For 29 year old Charmaine Patrick, who will be the first Indigenous woman from Central Australia to run the New York Marathon, lining up with 45,000 other runners at the start  line  will be a long way from the tiny Indigenous community of Hermannsburg, 150km West of Alice Springs. Charmaine has sacrificed time with her two young children to be part of IMP, but says it will all be worth it when she crosses the finish line in New York, earning herself the coveted title of marathon runner. “Every training run I have done, every camp I have gone to and every race I have been in, I have always been thinking about my boys, and how important they are to me,” she said. “I am doing this to show them that their mum can do anything, and that if you put your mind to something and want it badly enough, you can achieve it.” Charmaine had been plagued by a foot injury throughout the year, but IMP Founder and former World Champion Marathon runner Rob de Castella said the guts and determination and the mentality of not giving up that he had seen not only in Charmaine, but all 12 athletes, was what the Project is all about. “We have a truly amazing group of runners this year and we have seen injuries, struggles at home and many other obstacles thrown at them time and time again, but they keep bouncing back and showing that if they want something, they can achieve it.” “I have absolute faith that every one of the squad members will cross the finish line in New York, and along the way they will inspire hundreds and thousands of people across the world, but most of all they will inspire their families, their friends and their communities to be healthier.” The squad will return home today where they will start their final six week block of training before departing for New York on October 31st. For more information, or to arrange an interview, please contact Laura Oldfield. Photos can be sent on request.