WARRIOR Run takes over Centennial Park

Picture perfect spring conditions met nearly 600 participants in Centennial Park, Sydney, for the 2016 IMF Father’s Day WARRIOR Run on Sunday 4 September.

The second annual event, a major fundraiser for IMF, included 2km, 5km and 10km races and aims to celebrate, promote, honour and highlight the strong, proud, resilient, courageous and positive influence of men in our families communities.

It was a colourful celebration of men, culture, and community underpinned by promoting the importance of solidarity and the need for strong role models; driven by being active.

Seasoned running festival commentator, Pat Carroll, took to the microphone with fellow commentator and 2012 IMP Graduate, Nat Heath, to keep the crowd entertained during the 4hr festival.

Emu and Kangaroo gestures were played out with the kids at the start of the 2km event which even saw the trademark “Usain Bolt” post-celebration action making an appearance; until the kids learnt that it was in fact a mimmick of a boomerang thrower!

Indigenous men captivated the crowd with traditional dance and the sound of the didgeridoo, which also sounded the start of each race.

As the 5km competitors took to the start line, they linked arms and listened to a moving message from Indigenous radio journalist from Darwin and the first Indigenous Olympic Games commentator, Charlie King.

Charlie’s message is simple; No More.

No more family violence. No more violence; full stop. Men needed to be empowered, to stand together, to be strong leaders in their families and communities, and to be positive role models.

So everyone linked arms, in a demonstration of solidarity and honour to Charlie’s message.

Then the didgeridoo sounded and they were off!

First across the line and defending her title, Amy Brown blitzed the field in an impressive time of 19:45 followed by Lachlan Stanfield hot on her heels hitting the line in 20:12, and Jaye from The Glen rounding out the 21 minutes, finishing in in 21:55 (click here for full results).

One lucky runner, Joe Francica, had the experience of a lifetime running alongside Rio Olympian and IMF ambassador, Ben St Lawrence.

Next up was the 10km run and while they were out on course, the crowd enjoyed some more Indigenous song and dance performed by Terry and his men from Tribal Warrior. They taught Aboriginal words to the kids and encouraged them to join in some dance moves.

It was an incredible display of culture and a unique opportunity to educate children on just a small part of Australia’s rich, deep and significant Indigenous heritage and culture.

It wasn’t long before the 10km runners were powering to the finish line, lead by debutant and 2016 IMP squad member, Jesse Thompson, who broke the tape in an astonishing time of 34:55, followed by 2010 IMP Graduate and the face of the 2015 WARRIOR Run medal, Charlie Maher, who stopped the clock at 36:44.  David Foong rounded out the top three finishers (overall) in a time of 38:56 (please refer to results for all category/male/female results).

The Indigenous men waited at the finish line and presented runners with their medals, Nat and Pat announced runners as they crossed, and yarned-up with guests in the crowd.

Soon enough all 10km participants were home and it was time for the first-ever 2km Kids and Dads dash!

Full of energy (even without coffee!) the kids hurriedly made their way to the start line. The Indigenous men took them through some warm-up entertainment and games, before the countdown which led to the didgeridoo starting them on their way.

Alexandra Field flew home to hit the line in 8:37, followed by Sam Yates in 9:21 and Michael Chesterton in a time of 10:07.

The 2km event rounded out proceedings and following the presentations and hearing from Australian of the Year, event ambassador and inspirational woman, Rosie Batty, it was time for the continuation of Dad-spoiling for the rest of the day.

We would like to sincerely thank everyone who attended the second WARRIOR Run. It is our vision to establish WARRIOR Runs in every major city across Australia in the coming years. We need your support to make this vision materialise, and highlight the importance of strong men.

Father’s Day WARRIOR Runs are also held in Indigenous communities across the country – including Broome, Darwin, Aldinga, Thursday Island, Cairns, Galiwinku and the APY Lands – driven by IMP Graduates who also organise the Deadly Fun Runs in their communities.

Special thanks to all of our valued and generous sponsors – ASICS, QANTAS, Crown Resorts, The Packer Family Foundation, Accor Hotels, Australian Olympic Committee, Athletics Australia, Athletics NSW, parkrun Australia, Runner’s Tribe, Tribal Warrior, Police Association of NSW, Pont3, Net Strategies, and Clarety. Without the support of these wonderful organisations, the event would simply not be possible.

We look forward to bringing you an even bigger and better event in 2017 – ideas are already happening, so please join us again, bring your friends, and help us make the Father’s Day WARRIOR Run one of the biggest running events in Australia!

If you missed the chance to purchase any of the merchandise, or have any questions about the event, please contact Kellie O’Sullivan – kellie.o@imf.org.au

Thank you, WARRIOR Runners; we are so proud, privileged and humbled to have your generous, committed and ongoing support! RunSweatInspire!

Click here to view a full gallery of photos or check out the album on our Facebook page