Next Stop, New York

Yirrkala residents Arian Pearson and Jamie Wunungmurra have advanced through to the next stages of the infamous Indigenous Marathon Project securing places in a twelve man training squad for the New York Marathon.

The Indigenous Marathon Project, an initiative of former world champion marathon runner Robert de Castella MBE, provides indigenous athletes with confidence and tools to become leaders within their communities and inspire others to lead a healthy and active life.

East Arnhem Shire Council have extended support to Pearson and Wunungmurra who will be vying to be among the final six runners to board the plane to New York later this year in November. The Shire funded Pearson, Wunungmurra and Boaz Wanambi who is also from Yirrkala to attend the selection stage in Cairns in April.

Shire President Banambi Wunungmurra has praised the young men and on behalf of the whole Council passes on his best wishes for them in travelling the long road ahead to New York.

“The Indigenous Marathon Project is a great initiative to inspire generations of Yolngu, these men will have opportunities to not only undertake a world class athlete training program, but also become role models and gain qualifications in community recreation”.

“The Shire will keep providing strong local support for Arian and Jamie through its Youth, Sport and Recreation staff and support of local community fundraising toward the trip ‘stateside’” President Wunungmurra said.

Pearson and Wunungmurra will now spend the six months to train the worlds most esteemed long distance marathon run the New York Marathon on 6th November. The men have a jam packed training calendar with race meets and intensive training camps throughout Australia.

Arian Pearson who was trained by Cathy Freeman at school, is humble in recognising the challenge ahead to qualify to be apart of the team to go to the Marathon. He also sees this as a great opportunity to show what young Yolngu people can do and says ‘Yaka Gora’, meaning don’t be shy, and believe that you can do anything.

The Indigenous Marathon Project has been in operation since April 2009 and aims to produce an indigenous distance champion who will compete in the 2016 Olympic Marathon team, whilst making running, walking and physical activity a natural and regular part of indigenous life.

Media Contact: Aroha Jennings 0457 518 772

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