THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
Minister for Indigenous Health
THE HON JENNY MACKLIN MP
Minister for Families, Housing, Community Services and Indigenous Affairs
SENATOR THE HON MARK ARBIB
Minister for Indigenous Economic Development
Minister for Sport
17 February 2011
“This is a great chance for six male and four female Indigenous runners to fly to New York in November with the squad,” Mr Snowdon said.
“It will put them and the physical endurance of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the world spotlight with a TV audience of 315 million––cheered on by two million spectators. The Australian Government is a proud partner in this project.”
The Australian Government is providing $500,000 over two years to the SmartStart for Kids initiative of former world champion marathon runner Rob de Castella. It aims to revitalise running among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander youth, including programs to encourage a healthy lifestyle, exercise and good nutrition.
“This is a great contribution to Indigenous sport and the promotion of healthy lifestyles by former world champion marathon runner Robert de Castella––the driving force behind the Indigenous Marathon Project and Health Education Program and the Australian Government congratulates him,” said Mr Snowdon.
Last year, four young men from remote Northern Australia became Australia’s first Aboriginal marathon team to complete the New York City Marathon. Charlie Maher, Caleb Hart, Juan Darwin and Joseph Davies completed this gruelling race.
“Now that they have taken on a marathon, these four men have the skills and knowledge to train other young people in their communities and inspire others to lead healthier lifestyles,” the Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Jenny Macklin, said.
“This program helps build self-esteem, pride and respect for all the people involved, from the runners, to their family and friends.”
The 2011 squad of young Aboriginal people––aged between about 18 and 30––will be selected from remote communities in the Northern Territory and Western Australia.
Minister for Sport Mark Arbib, said the squad would receive comprehensive training and education under de Castella and his SmartStart team and will attend events across Australia, inspiring other young Indigenous Australians to follow their dreams.
“The Marathon Project provides a once-in-a-lifetime experience for Indigenous Australian runners,” Senator Arbib said.
“Those runners lucky enough to be selected will travel around the country promoting the benefits of a healthy lifestyle and become inspirational role models to a new generation of Indigenous runners.
“I was lucky enough to go for a run with last year’s team and was very proud to see their results. I’m sure this year’s team will replicate their efforts.”
The 10 Indigenous runners who compete in New York next November will be selected from this squad.
Information about how and where to join the Indigenous Marathon Project is at http://www.themarathonproject.com.au/ or on phone 02 6260 5750. E-mail inquiries can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Editor’s note: A high resolution photo of runners who participated in 2010 (visiting parliament) is available at:
For more information contact Mr Snowdon’s office (02) 6277 7820