Indigenous Marathon Project Coach/CEO crosses the finish line

Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP) Founder and Director Rob de Castella has announced today that CEO and Coach Tim Rowe will be finishing up and moving back to Sydney at the end of this year’s program. IMP is a health-promotion charity that changes the lives of young Indigenous men and women by training them to run the annual New York City Marathon. In the process, it builds self-esteem and creates inspirational leaders who promote health and fitness and address chronic disease and social dysfunction in Indigenous communities. Mr Rowe joined IMP in 2011 and has overseen the program’s exciting growth and success over the past three years. Since 2011, 28 Indigenous men and women have completed the New York City, Boston or Tokyo marathons. They have taken the IMP message of Run – Sweat – Inspire back to their families and communities, and also Australia-wide. Mr Rowe said the opportunity to change a life, and see the positive impact that it can have on family, friends, communities and the wider Australian public had personally been something very special. “Departing IMP has been a very difficult decision. I have been involved with a sensationally positive and resilient group of Aboriginal and Islander men and women. I have seen firsthand the power of one in dispelling common misconceptions and stereotypes here in Australia as a direct result of IMP operations and this can only be a good thing for the future of our country,” he said. “I look forward to the road ahead for all of our inspirational graduates and to seeing the Project continue to strengthen in the years ahead.” Mr Rowe was in New York in 2012 with IMP when the marathon was cancelled just 36 hours before the race, due to Hurricane Sandy, and he was also in Boston with IMP’s Darwin runner Emma Cameron earlier this year when terrorists bombed the finish line, preventing Ms Cameron, who was just two kilometres away, from finishing. In the past two years, IMP has established a series of regional and remote Indigenous fun runs around Australia, culminating in the Deadly Fun Run Championships that have been held each of the last two years at Uluru.  These events encourage young, old and all in between to get active, and promote health, good nutrition and physical activity. More than 2000 Indigenous men, women and children have participated in over 65 events conducted around Australia, and in 2013 over 50 runners from seven Indigenous communities came to Uluru for the Championships. Mr de Castella paid tribute to Mr Rowe’s tireless effort and massive positive contribution to IMP. “Tim has directly and personally changed the lives of so many of our runners, their families and their communities and IMP owes his a huge debt of gratitude. During the past three years, Tim has established IMP as a credible, respected and significant charity, supporting Indigenous Australia and I am sure he is very proud of the legacy that he leaves behind,” he said. “I wish Tim every success, and hope that while he might be moving back to Sydney to pursue other opportunities and be closer to family and friends, he will continue to work with IMP, just in another capacity.” Mr de Castella will begin the task of searching for a replacement head coach to start in early 2014. More information will become available shortly.