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Broome’s Keifer Yu breathes a sigh of relief after completing the New York City Marathon last year.
Camera IconBroome’s Keifer Yu breathes a sigh of relief after completing the New York City Marathon last year. Credit: Indigenous Marathon Foundation, Supplied

From marathon enthusiasts to those who just want to better themselves, the opportunity to take on the challenge of a lifetime has arrived.

The Indigenous Marathon Project has begun its annual national search for 12 young indigenous Australians who are ready to take on the world’s biggest marathon — the TCS New York City Marathon.

Open to indigenous Australians aged 18 to 30, the IMP selects, educates and trains a squad of men and women throughout the year, culminating in the New York City Marathon in November.

IMP founder and director Rob de Castella said the project was not just a sports program.

“It’s a social-change program that uses running as a vehicle to promote the benefits of active and healthy lifestyles, while celebrating indigenous resilience and achievement,” he said.

The IMP’s national try-out tour visits Western Australia next month, with a Perth try-out session set for February 29 and a Broome session on March 1.

Since its establishment in 2010, the IMP has had 96 people from remote communities, rural towns and major cities graduate from the program.

Kimberley-based graduates include Broome’s Damien Crispin, Derby’s Torey Rickerby and former Claremont footballer Keifer Yu.

Yu said the program exceeded his expectations and he enjoyed his experience being a part it in 2019.

“I thought it was just about running but after taking part in it and graduating, I found it was a lot more to do with your personal self and trying to find your purpose of why you’re doing it and who you’re doing it for,” he said. “For me, I was doing it for my daughter, for my work with the Wirrpanda Foundation and to focus on my own mental health.

“To anyone that is considering taking part, I would tell them to be brave and step out of your comfort zone to tell your story.

“The people I met in the program had amazing stories to tell and I am sure there are plenty of people out there throughout the Kimberley with stories that need to be shared through this platform.”

Those who are interested will need to complete an application form, run 3-5km and have an interview with coach and 2014 IMP graduate Adrian Dodson-Shaw.

Mr Dodson-Shaw said the IMP had been seeing more and more outstanding young applicants throughout the years.

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