The Long Road from East Arnhem to New York

East Arnhem youth have a history of exceptional achievements, with another two inspirational individuals making their mark. Gapuwiyak’s Chris Guyula, 19, and Galiwin’ku’s Jacinta Gurruwiwi, also 19, have been selected in the 12 runner squad training to take on the 2015 New York Marathon as part of the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP).

A record 143 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander runners applied for this years program, with Chris and Jacinta going the distance, selected in the six male and six female squad.

It’s been more than a year of pounding the dirt tracks around the East Arnhem community of Gapuwiyak for young local Chris Guyula, who has been training under the watchful eye of East Arnhem Regional Council (EARC) Youth Worker Mentor Atnas Maeko. After joining the EARC Sport & Rec Running Club last year, Chris has been guided and mentored by Atnas, with the hard work set to ramp up to new levels.

"My first run with IMP will be a 10km run in Canberra next month and I am training 6 days a week short runs for that. The training will get harder the closer I get to the New York Marathon but I am ready for it” said Chris.

The IMP has far reaching effects, aiming to promote healthy lifestyles, increase pride, instil a sense of achievement and have a positive impact on lifestyle related illnesses. The running clubs established throughout East Arnhem as a flow on effect of IMP have been highly successful and have helped support and encourage our runners as they worked towards selection in the 2015 IMP squad.

Chris knows this all too well. “Some of my friends and family have now joined the Gapuwiyak running club and run with me every week, so seeing the community get more involved in running motivates me too."

"It means a lot because I have trained hard and worked toward this goal. It means I can represent my community and show the young people in Gapuwiyak that if we work hard we can achieve whatever we want."

East Arnhem Regional Council President, Mr Banambi Wunungmurra, is rightfully proud of the pairs selection.

“After the success Evelyna Dhamarrandji had in 2013 with the IMP, it’s fantastic to see a new group of runners standing up to represent East Arnhem. I congratulate both Jacinta and Chris on their selection. Their hard work, dedication and commitment sets a great example for everyone in our communities. We wish them the best of luck” said President Wunungmurra.

As part of the program, Jacinta and Chris will also undertake a Certificate IV in Leisure and Health, and compete in numerous lead up events and time trials before the final team is selected for the New York Marathon.

*Photo available on request
** Link to Indigenous Marathon Project Media Release provided

- ENDS -

Public Relations Coordinator - Katherine Hollis, 0457 518 772

Download a pdf of this media release