It was a day of triumph and celebration on two continents as Harold Matthew, of Thursday Island in Far North Queensland, became the first Indigenous Australian to complete the Virgin Money London Marathon on Sunday.
Harold crossed the finish line in a time of 4:47:10, just one of more than 40,000 competitors to take part in one of the world’s great marathons, but his was a unique story to tell.
Harold’s training consisted of running multiple laps of Thursday Island, a tiny 3.5-square-kilometre land mass in the Torres Straits with a population of around 2600 people.
The TI community has followed his journey and achievement with great enthusiasm, with many locals regularly participating in the running group that Harold coaches.
The London Marathon course was in stark contrast to TI’s Milman Hill, a steep incline Harold incorporates into his training.
“The race was awesome, I loved that it was pretty flat. The crowd was absolutely amazing, cheering on competitors from start to finish, it was electric. Running across London Bridge, Big Ben and of course, running past Buckingham Palace,” he said.
He may be thousands of kilometres from home, but the Torres Strait is never far from Harold.
“I’m looking forward to doing some sight-seeing and looking at some of our Torres Strait Artefacts in the British Museum,” he said.
Deek said he was thrilled to watch Harold make history and inspire the rest of Australia.
“It’s so exciting to see our first Indigenous runner complete the famous London Marathon and rewrite Australian history. Harold is a strong, resilient, determined man and father. I am incredibly proud of Harold finishing his fourth marathon since 2014, it’s a remarkable achievement,’’ he said.
Harold travelled to London with the support of the president of IMF Ambassador, Athletics Australia, and former federal Labor politician, Mark Arbib, a seasoned marathon runner who completed the course in a time of 3:06:23.
Congratulations to both Harold and Mark on their London Marathon achievements – enjoy a well deserved rest!