Why I ran the City 2 Surf this year
Since 1971 Sydney has hosted an annual running event called the City to Surf. It is a foot race. It was conceived by the staff of The Sun newspaper and inspired by the Bay to Breakers event in San Francisco. The first run attracted 2000 runners. But now the annual anticpation is up to 80,000 runners. This makes it the largest running event in the world. Not bad when you consider the total population of Australia is much lower compared to other western countries. The course record is 40:03, set by Steve Moneghetti in 1991. The women's record is 45:08 minutes, set by Susie Power in 2001. For more than 10 years Australian Olympic Marathon World record holder Robert de Castella held the course record . Since retirement from running Robert de Castella has founded of The Indigenous Marathon Project.
I first ran the City to Surf back in 1980. It is hard to believe over 33 years have passed since I first ran this most scenic of running courses. My best time is around 58 minutes. This is quite a good time as can it take minutes often longer to pass the start line given the number of participants. I have run the event a number of times since but the last time was in 1990. So this year while I am running in the City 2 Surf I will be raising funds for the Indigenous Marathon project.
Back in 1990 I used to run between 70 and 130 kilometres per week. Week in Week out and compete in full marathons two to three times a year. Since 1993 my running has been scaled back dramatically. Living in Queensland the humidity and temperature makes it uncomfortable for me to run for some part of the year. My exercise has consisted of mostly swimming around three to four times week. I find this equally satisfying and don't suffer the same pains niggles that i used to as a constant runner.
In recent times though I have been attracted back to shorter runs. Just minutes from my home is New Farm Park and the worldwide phenomenon of Park Run's has reached New Farm Park. Each Saturday a five kilometre run conducted free by volunteers attracts 300 runners every week. Conducted on a times 5 kilometre course the run is a catalyst for community involvement in the suburb. With friendship and networking adding to the positive effect the exercise has on the individual runner.
The Indigenous Marathon Project
Robert de Castella creation and founding of The Indigenous Marathon Project offers young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples the opportunity to run the New York City Marathon and the Boston Marathon.
Much more than a running program, the Indigenous Marathon Project aims to change the lives of the runners and their families, friends and communities across Australia.
The Aboriginal or Indigenous have for more than two centuries been adversely discriminated, having been forced off their land ,killed misused raped to name a few since white settlement in 1788. No wonder the disadvantage has had a terrible effect over generations since. In terms of health, life expectancy wealth and general well being all Aboriginals have suffered due to white mans oppression over this time. The Indiginous marathon Project seeks to redress the adverse health and well being implications by taking individual members of the race and encouraging them and empowering them to complete an overseas marathon the New York City Marathon.
Squad members develop the discipline, perseverance and powerful self belief needed to overcome the challenges of training for and completing a marathon, and the challenges of life.
As well The Indigenous Marathon Project provides training, resources and support for each squad member to complete a cross sectoral Certificate III or Certificate IV in Community Recreation – Indigenous Healthy Lifestyles. Skills and knowledge are learnt in areas such as health and chronic disease, fitness and coaching, nutrition, sports training, kids’ programs, event organising, public relations and media skills.
I know myself the positive effect running has on my life especially during a crisis I had in 1983 where I lost my job home and was alone in a big strange city that Sydney was at the time.
So I really believe that projects such as the Indigenous Marathon Project have shown that they can have a positive effect on generations of cultural disadvantage that has beset Aboriginals in Australia. Already in three short years a change has occurred in many of the lives that have been involved in the project for the better. This has ripple effect on Aboriginal communities which they return to.
For this reason I am doing my up most to raise funds for the project. Including getting as many people to sponsor me in this years City 2 Surf run to be held on Sunday 11th of August 2013
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