Fifty and FitJo Weaver, from the Barossa Valley in South Australia, has been a passionate supporter of IMP for a number of years.
This is her story.
My connection with Aboriginal people and Communities has spanned nearly 40 years and came long before I started running, which was just a few years ago! ‘Fifty and fit, not fifty and fat’ was my motto that got me into the running game.
Having never run before in my life, it was just baby steps and small goals, the 12 km Adelaide City to Bay in 2009 being my first.
After I had run my first Half Marathon, Melbourne in 2012 (not a very satisfying experience) I decided to keep at it and it was after a much more rewarding run at the next Half in Hobart 2013 that I decided I wanted to do this awesome thing called ‘running’ for a reason other than for myself and wanted to be a part of helping give others the opportunity to experience this addiction’. That was where the connection was made with the Indigenous Marathon Project. Having spent a lot of time in different Communities there was always common denominators that needed support…health, fitness, lifestyle, purpose.
The Marathon Project was all about these factors and if I could use my running to help support the Marathon Project which gives Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders this wonderful opportunity to change their lives and the lives of others then it would be the most satisfying thing I have ever done.
In my short running career I have run five 12km City to Bays, five 10km races, five Half Marathons, injured two ankles, two feet, two knees, struggled with hip issues, kept my physio, chiro, sports doctor and remedial massage therapist busy and in business, got stronger and faster after each injury and never ever have I considered giving up!
My next goal is to recover from the latest injury and run a Marathon. My own most rewarding personal running experience would be the two Gold Coast Half Marathons. Running and celebrating in the Gold Coast with the IMP runners on their achievements and my own PBs was amazing!
This year I was ecstatic at doing a sub 2hrs in a surprising, 1hour 57mins 13secs.
Being involved with IMP and becoming a part of ‘The Family’ is by far the most rewarding thing I have ever done in my life.
Seeing these amazing individuals achieve so much in their lives, overcoming their own personal challenges and engaging their families, friends and communities into living healthier lifestyles and being proud and happy, is so inspiring and satisfying.
I am very honoured to have been able to mentor and support two amazing young ladies through the Project, Charmaine Patrick from Hermannsburg and Ruth Wallace from Adelaide.
Seeing Charmaine break cultural barriers last year, lead the way for Aboriginal women in Central Australia and inspire her family and community with her determination to defeat all the odds that were against her and run the New York Marathon was truly an amazing journey to be part of.
Ruth is an outstanding young woman and at such a young age is already dedicating her life to making changes and helping her family, community and her people.
Ruth is an inspirational leader and because of the support and belief from the Marathon Project she is able to follow her dream of helping others. I have great admiration and love for both of these young women and they keep me inspired when things get tough.
The Project has so many incredible, outstanding and inspirational young men and women that already have and are continuing to make huge significant positive health and lifestyle changes in their communities because of the opportunities that IMP have put in front of them.
This is why we must support IMP and make sure that the program continues to ‘run’ well into the future and beyond.
Fundraising and lobbying for donations on a regular basis is not easy and it was when I decided that I needed to do something else that the annual Seppeltsfield IMP Fun Run and Family Day came about. In just its second year I added a screening night of ‘Running to America’ to the weekend.
The Barossa put on a great welcome for Rob de Castella, Graduates Charlie Maher, Nadine Hunt, Korey Summers, Luke McKenzie and Ruth Wallace last month and the event raised nearly $7,000 for IMP.
I cannot imagine my life without IMP, whether it be fundraising, mentoring, volunteering or supporting in any way possible.
My passion for the IMP program and the IMP family is entrenched deep in my heart and the ‘souls’ of my running shoes!
To make a donation to my fundraising campaign for IMP, click here
Facebook: Run Fun Fitness Fundraise