The event attracted 125 runners from 19 Indigenous communities across the country representing a large cross-section of Australia’s Torres Strait Island and Aboriginal peoples.
The Championships featured a 3km and 5km race followed by a social, community relay run around “The Rock” – Uluru – in the afternoon.
Deek said the level of energy and enthusiasm among participants of all ages was testament to the growing popularity of walking and running groups in Indigenous communities right across the country.
“This weekend has been an amazing celebration of our country’s rich and diverse Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island cultures and spirit, held at the symbolic heart of our country. It’s also a powerful acknowledgment of the 125 community champions selected from the thousands of Indigenous runners participating in our IMF Deadly Fun Run series across the country.
“With teams made up of four champions from each community, who have all demonstrated commitment, effort, contribution and school attendance, this event has grown from a handful of teams and runners in 2012 to this massive celebration and festival. What a great weekend!”
The event’s popularity has seen new categories added this year, with ages of participants ranging from 62-year-old John Rankine of the Southern SA Deadly Runners, to eight-year-old age-group champion Keira Manning of Kakadu.
The team from Port Macquarie, established this year by the Indigenous Marathon Project’s first-ever graduate, Charlie Maher, took out the title of community champions, with a strong effort from Zane Sparke, who was selected for the championships before discovering he’d also been chosen for the 2017 IMP squad.
Each community brought with them a unique, handmade message stick to use as a baton in the relay run, which was then presented to the elders of the Mutitjulu community as a symbol of respect and appreciation for the traditional owners of the sacred site.
The communities involved in the weekend’s events were:
- Qld – Cairns, Thursday Island, Mornington Island
- NSW – Queanbeyan, Port Macquarie, Sydney, Western Sydney
- ACT – Canberra
- SA – Amata, Mimili, Aldinga/Southern SA, Murraylands
- Vic – Heywood
- WA – Broome
- NT – Galiwinku, Tennant Creek, Yipirinya, Alkamilya, Yulara, Kakadu
Elders, women (over 55)
|1st||Lynn Leon||Canberra, ACT||00:32:55|
|2nd||Elizabeth Williams||Kakadu, NT||00:38:00|
|3rd||Teresa Mckenna||Broome, WA||00:43:31|
|1st||Peter Hippi||Tennant Creek, NT||00:28:45|
|2nd||John Rankin||Southern SA||00:49:38|
|1st||Lisa Fensom||Queanbeyan, NSW||00:27:10|
|2nd||Meg Lloyd||Galiwin’ku, NT||00:28:43|
|3rd||Karen Parter||Queanbeyan, NSW||00:29:59|
|1st||Zane Sparke||Port Macquarie, NSW||00:21:06|
|2nd||Tj Cora||Cairns, Qld||00:22:06|
|3rd||Raymond Landers||Southern SA||00:22:36|
|1st||Bella Cutchie||Heywood, Vic||00:17:45|
|2nd||Tarryn Bell-Cooper||Heywood, Vic||00:17:49|
|3rd||Jocelyn Schilling||Mimili, SA||00:19:10|
|1st||Jordan Tabe||Murraylands, SA||00:13:58|
|2nd||Samuel Pumani||Mimili, SA||00:14:10|
|3rd||James Smith||Heywood, Vic||00:14:11|
Junior kids, girls (10 and under)
|1st||Kiera Manning||Kakadu, NT||00:16:23|
|2nd||Delayne Stewart||Yipiryina, NT||00:22:32|
|3rd||Shikarra Cooly||Amata, SA||00:26:11|
Junior kids, boys
|1st||Tahlan Toomey||Western Sydney, NSW||00:13:58|
|2nd||Blake Carmody||Alice Springs, NT||00:17:21|
|3rd||Peter Brogan||Sydney, NSW||00:20:47|