tania wyatt Sold on the challenge of New York

I have always enjoyed running, seeing it as such a healthy pursuit especially for my mental health and setting a great example for my children.

Over the years I had only ever done distances up to the half marathon/25km and then I had a few years off running altogether.

About 12 months ago I decided, for my sanity, that I would get back into running! I started from scratch probably as many of the IMF squad did, starting with walking and slowly, strategically, and smartly working my way back up to a full run.

Never did I imagine that within 11 months I would be running a full marathon, my first ever, and in New York no less. My husband Paul ran the NY marathon last year and he suggested we do it together this year.

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I was doubtful I could run a marathon by November but he spoke so highly of the challenges entailed, the wonder of NY and the absolutely incredible support and vibe of New York supporters and the race itself.

I was sold!

By chance at around this time I was collecting my race pack for the Gold Coast half marathon when I saw a promotional stand for The Indigenous Marathon Foundation. I had recently completed some post-graduate studies in Human Rights in which I had researched women’s rights within Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander communities.

This research had really opened my eyes on many levels and had sparked an enhanced interest in Indigenous health, education and human rights.

So when I saw the promotional stand at the Gold Coast expo I wandered over for a chat and, as they say, the rest is history.

I was impressed by the program, its aspirations and the commitment of the squad members and Deeks himself. I didn’t hesitate for a moment in becoming a supporter of such a fantastic and worthy cause.

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What an inspiration for not only me personally and my marathon preparations but also the whole Australian community. My training started off really well, I was excited and motivated. I rolled my ankle quite badly on a training run about eight weeks in which was a frustrating time for me (and my poor family!!!).

Five weeks off and some physio got me back on track to complete my training program as best I could. “Determined” is a polite version of what those who know me well call me!!

I got to race day still a little uncertain of my ability to run the whole 42km but very determined to do so and super excited to try. It had been such a buzz to meet the IMF squad in Central Park a few days before and hearing the stories of the IMF squad journeys helped me to stay positive.

The race was such an incredible experience; a 42km long joyous celebration.

This might sound weird but it really was – the NY spirit, the unbelievable supporters, the seriously funny placards, the scenery, the bands on every corner, the shared determination of toughing it out, the indescribable pain at the 35km mark,  the kindness and support from random strangers, the occasional “Aussie Aussie Aussie, oi oi oi!”, the thrill of knowing you were accomplishing something ‘big’.

The last few kilometres were very difficult (even at my pace!!) but the supporters never failed us and nor did my mind. Crossing that finish line was a huge relief and an emotional, satisfying and exciting moment!

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The physical, mental strength and resilience required to run a marathon is something to admire and celebrate.

I was very proud of my own achievement and those of every single person in the IMF squad. We all know now that we are capable of great things, of far more than we thought we could ever do. It was an absolute pleasure and honour to run for the IMF and to spread awareness through my fundraising of this amazing foundation and the wonderful things they aspire to and achieve and the positive, long-lasting and far-reaching potential of what this brings to Indigenous communities.

I hope that one day in some way I can become further involved…watch this space! I will remain a life-long supporter and fan of the IMF! I hope to see you back out on the pavement somewhere, sometime, some race…..!