Two make history in the Big Apple
Two Broome women have made history, finishing the New York Marathon as members of the first entire Indigenous Marathon Project squad to conquer the race.
Megan Highfold and Kimberley Benjamin were part of the 2016 Indigenous Marathon Foundation team of 12 runners to run the 42.2km marathon on November 6, the first time in IMF history the entire squad has made it over the finish line.
Highfold, who was the first woman from the team over the line in a time of 4hr. 17min. despite calf injuries, said it was well worth the six months of training to join the field of more than 50,000 runners.
“It’s been a year of really hard work — I thought I was going to die, definitely the hardest thing I’ve done … I didn’t think I was going to make it,” she said.
Benjamin, who was the fourth squad member to finish, in a time of 4:30, said her legs felt like jelly and she couldn’t wait to get back to Broome to run on home ground.
“Why do we run marathons? why did I just do that? I didn’t stop once,” Kimberley said.
NSW man, Jesse Thompson was the first squad member across the line in a time of 2:45, followed by Highfold, Zibeon Fielding from SA, Benjamin and Saliman Bin Juda from Queensland.
The next runners were Tahnee Sutton, Wade Mongta, Candice Love, Billy Bell, Kristika Kumar, Wane Sloane and Jacinta Smith-Robins.
Broome graduate of 2014 and head coach Adrian Dodson-Shaw said his second visit to New York was more exciting than his first as he trained the new team.
“It has been a privilege to watch each and every one of them fulfil their dream to cross the finish line of the New York City Marathon,” he said.
“Their running has improved out of sight and I’ve watched them grow into strong, confident individuals and role models in their communities.”
“They are graduates now, and their journey doesn’t stop here — I look forward to seeing them return home as community heroes, inspiring others to follow their dreams and live long, healthy, active lives.”
The Indigenous Marathon Foundation selects a squad of young indigenous men and women for six months of training to compete in the race, as well as to complete a Certificate III in Fitness.
The not-for-profit foundation has produced 65 indigenous international marathon runners since 2010.
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