Fun run was ‘deadly’ thrill

Port Douglas & Mossman Gazette - - SPORT - PAUL MIL­TON BUT­LER

MOSS­MAN run­ners have pulled off a deadly per­for­mance at Uluru in the coun­try’s red cen­tre.

They were up against 23 other ath­letes rang­ing from ages seven to 56, and rep­re­sent­ing six In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties from across the coun­try, de­scended on Uluru last week­end to take part in Aus­tralia’s first ever In­dige­nous run­ning festival.

The Deadly Fun Run Se­ries, part of Rob De Castella’s In­dige­nous Marathon Project, was launched late last year, in a push to pro­mote healthy liv­ing, and in­crease par­tic­i­pa­tion in run­ning in re­mote In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties where the sport was not pre­vi­ously recog­nised.

The three cham­pi­ons from Moss­man were 45-year-old Julie Salam who fin­ished first in the se­nior women’s event, Asta Naden was sec­ond and in the ju­nior men’s event Mitchell Brim fin­ished first.

De Castella has high hopes the event will fea­ture an­nu­ally on the run­ning cal­en­dar, with am­bi­tions of mak­ing it a ma­jor In­dige­nous run­ning festival.

“The Deadly Fun Run Se­ries has been all about com­mu­ni­ties own­ing their own fun runs, and high­light­ing com­mu­nity cham­pi­ons, all while pro­mot­ing healthy liv­ing and com­mu­nity in­volve­ment,” De Castella said.

“Run­ning and walk­ing is not cur­rently seen as a sport within many In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties.”

And win­ner Julie Salam agrees: “It meant a lot to me to be able to com­pete - win­ning was great too but it was more im­por­tant to be a role model for the kids and to show them that they can do this and it’s fun and it’s a great way to stay healthy and meet new friends.

“Some of the young peo­ple re­ally are nat­u­rally tal­ented at many sports in­clud­ing run­ning and we do need to get them in­volved a lot more and make them see that it is fun and a great so­cial thing too.

“And there is a very real chance too that the best run­ners could find them­selves be­ing picked to one day com­pete in the fa­mous New York marathon.”

“I would love to see a young in­dige­nous run­ner com­pete in the New York marathon, it would be a fab­u­lous achieve­ment.”

The New York Marathon is a 26.2 mile run each Novem­ber with up to 30,000 run­ners and it starts on Staten Is­land, at the foot of the Ver­razano-Nar­rows Bridge, and winds its way through the city.

The Deadly Fun Run Se­ries and Cham­pi­onships were funded by the In­dige­nous Sport and Re­cre­ation Pro­gram, and aim to re­duce smok­ing and the con­sump­tion of soft drink in In­dige­nous com­mu­ni­ties, while pro­mot­ing healthy liv­ing.

Run­ning in the shadow of Ayre’s Rock:

Na­dine Hunt, Asta Naden, Wi­ley Thor­burn, Melekai Williams, Mitchell Brim and Julie Salam

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