Sydney Indigenous runner, Nat Heath, ran into the history books on Sunday with a record breaking performance in the 2014 Blackmores Sydney Running Festival marathon.
Nat is the first Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP) runner to break three hours for the marathon, crossing the line in an incredible 2hrs and 52minutes.
Honest in his analysis of the Sydney marathon on Sunday 21 September after months of training, Nat’s expectations were realistic heading into the race.
“I did the training and was happy with where I was at, but really, you never know how you’ll perform on the day.
“You don’t know how your body will feel or if it will last the distance, even if you have prepared as well as you could. A marathon is a gruelling distance which tests your mental strength just as much as your physical and endurance abilities.
“There are so many variables that come into play that can affect the outcome so I’m very proud to have achieved such an amazing result,” he said.
Nat also acknowledged the pressure he felt going into the race.
“I feel like I can breathe again now. You dedicate so much time to training and maintaining your fitness, when it’s over, it’s a real sense of relief,” he admitted.
Waiting at the finish line was Nat’s family and one of his biggest fans, IMP founder Rob de Castella, who acknowledged the enormity of Nat’s historic finish.
“What an incredible achievement Nat has made. Through sheer hard work and determination, he has now become the first IMPrunner to run a marathon in under three hours.
“His performance demonstrates how running can enrich and empower people, giving them an opportunity to continually push boundaries and test themselves. That’s the backbone of what IMP was established to do; to give Indigenous Australians a sense of self-belief and pride through the simple act of running and goal setting.
“I am extremely proud of Nat and the way he continues to represent the incredible capacity Indigenous Australians have to achieve,” he said.
IMP had a strong representation of runners in the event including 2012 team member, Kieren de Santis, who travelled more than 4000km and is the first resident of Tiwi Islands to take part in the festival’s half marathon distance. Also from the 2012 team and now ACT Athletics Representative was Korey Summers, who ran the half marathon.
Tali Tabuai, 2013 graduate, ran the marathon while fellow 2013 graduate, Carla Snow crossed the line of the half marathon with her mum.
IMP Ambassadors claimed podium positions with Kurt Fearnley winning gold in the wheelchair marathon event and Lara Tamsetttaking home silver in the Bridge Run event.
IMP also had a strong contingent of supporters running, with more than 40 taking to the line for the charity, including Simon Lewis who completed his marathon challenge. In the past five months, Simon has completed a marathon in every state and territory across Australia raising funds and awareness for IMP! An incredible achievement!