Warriors are brave fighters and soldiers; they are symbols of courage, resilience and strength. And warriors are all around us. They are our fathers, our sons and our brothers. Around Australia this Saturday, we will celebrate WARRIOR parkrun to acknowledge the great men in our lives.
WARRIOR parkrun is a partnership between parkrun Australia and the Indigenous Marathon Foundation. The day falls on the weekend of Fathers’ Day and it is intended to draw attention to the men, fathers and male role models who positively impact our local communities. The Indigenous Marathon Foundation was established in 2009 by Australian marathon legend, Rob de Castella. The IMF is a health promotion charity that uses running to celebrate Indigenous resilience and achievement, and to create inspirational Indigenous leaders. The IMF aligns closely with the values of parkrun, in that it encourages participation, inclusivity and social engagement. Both parkrun and the IMF understand the importance of strong male role models for young boys and teens. Not only do positive men inspire and encourage other males, they can also help develop independence, respectful attitudes and characteristics such as determination.
Rob is passionate about promoting health and social issues that Aboriginal Australians and Torres Straight Islanders are susceptible to, but he is even more avid in highlighting the unique and spiritual beauty of this ancient culture. Rob explains of the WARRIOR parkrun this Saturday, “its an opportunity for communities and families all over Australia to celebrate and acknowledge the great men in their lives. The day is extended to all men as noble warriors. It is also an opportunity to the showcase the strength and resilience of the Indigenous people as well as the beauty and richness of their culture.”
Rob is encouraging all parkrunners to get online prior to WARRIOR parkrun and purchase either some merchandise or a WARRIOR medal to help with the fundraising efforts for the IMF. The medal features Zibeon Fielding who is an Indigenous Marathon Project graduate and local hero of his community in the APY Lands located in remote South Australia. Zibeon is the sole health practitioner of his home town of Mimili and sees first hand the plight of the people. He has run New York Marathon and Boston Marathon and in complete contrast, has also run a 62km ultramarathon through the dirt and dust of the APY Lands.
Zibeon’s goal with running the ultra was to promote a healthy lifestyle to other Indigenous Australians but he has also raised over $40,000 to go towards health services that provide dialysis in remote communities. Rob was there for the entire 62km of Zibeon’s ultra and says he was incredibly proud of his efforts and praised Zibeon for being an excellent leader for his community by promoting such a positive and inspiring message. He is the embodiment of what it means to be a role model; he is showing determination and success, as well as being committed to help others’ in his community.
For Rob, the partnership between the IMF and parkrun Australia was a perfect fit. Rob comments, “parkrun has been a tremendous entrée into the sport of running. In the past, there was no free, inclusive, timed, family running event. parkrun has filled a need in the community.” Rob believes that parkrun exemplifies the positive impact of being a part of a community saying that, “comradery and the group element at parkrun is a great outcome. Many running groups and clubs have been formed through parkrun which then becomes a social and supportive group. parkrun is very effective at sharing the running spirit.”
The Indigenous Marathon Foundation uses running as a vehicle to improve the lives of Aboriginal Australians. And this Saturday at parkrun, the IMF will be able to showcase the greatness of the Aboriginal community. By highlighting remarkable men such as Zibeon Fielding. And as a way to celebrate the warriors in your life.
Rob will be celebrating the day at Tuggeranong parkrun and he implores everyone to get down to their local parkrun this Saturday. To celebrate the strong and resilient men in your life; to show pride and recognition of Aboriginal culture; and to support the IMF continue its wonderful efforts of promoting good health to Indigenous Australians.
Rob also speaks to the parkrun Adventurers this week about the origins of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation and the impact the graduates continue to have in their communities. Tune in here.
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