Indigenous Marathon Foundation history

The Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) is a not-for-profit charity, with DGR status, that was established in 2009 by world champion marathon runner, Robert de Castella and uses running to change lives.

The IMF includes a range of programs including the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP), Deadly Running Australia (DRA), Indigenous Communities for Activity and Nutrition (I-CAN) and FrontRunners.

Now in its tenth year, the IMF, through the IMP program, has trained and mentored 86 Indigenous Australians across the finish line of major international marathons including New York, Tokyo, Boston, Chicago and Berlin. With another 12 individuals taking on the challenge in 2019, will see the number of Indigenous Austrlians who have completed to program rise to 98.

After they cross the finish line, our runners become Graduates and continue to work with IMF as drivers of change for their families, communities and Australia.

The IMF is committed to using running as a vehicle to promote health, drive social change and celebrate incredible Indigenous resilience and achievement.



The Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP) started in 2009, initially to see if Indigenous Australians could run like the Africans, and maybe one day find an Olympic marathon champion.

However in November of 2010, when all four Aboriginal men crossed the finish line of the New York City Marathon, a transformation occurred. They were no longer the same men they had been, and the potential to use running and the marathon to change lives, promote a healthy lifestyle and empower people became obvious.

The IMP has grown and it is now a major program of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF), a not-for-profit charity that uses running to drive social change, create inspirational leaders and provide life-changing opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people across the country.  The IMF now operates in remote and isolated communities, regional towns and major cities.

In addition to the New York City Marathon (IMP) the IMF currently provides a range of opportunities and programs.

Deadly Fun Runs and Deadly Fun Run Championships

A series of short, regular, fun running and walking events that IMP Graduates organise in communities and regions to make running and walking easy and fun.  Communities qualify teams to represent them at the National Deadly Fun Run Championships each July by holding at least four events. Men, women, boys and girls are now all training and running as they strive to get to Uluru and represent their families and communities.

IMP Graduates

All IMP marathoners become IMP Graduates when they cross the finish line, and the marathon finish line becomes the start line for them to continue to Run, Sweat and Inspire to drive health and social change. They organise events, become mentors, speak and present at events, and continue to be supported by IMF with professional, leadership, career and personal development opportunities. The IMP now has 86 Graduates who have finished a major international marathon including New York, Boston, Chicago, Berlin and Tokyo.

Indigenous Communities for Activity and Nutrition (I-CAN)

The I-CAN is a program in remote communities where IMF provides fitness leaders and IMP Graduates to conduct physical competency screening and fitness games and activities in remote Primary schools, and works with the community in the design and construction of running, walking and fitness trails.


The Father’s Day WARRIOR Fun Run is an important event that works with our IMP Graduates, the Australian Indigenous Community, and men’s groups to promote and celebrate what it is to be a good man and father. It is a fun, family orientated and inclusive event open to everyone, from all backgrounds and of all ages, and it is a critical event for our Foundation to help it to raise funds to support and grow our work.

The fifth annual Father’s Day WARRIOR Fun Run will be held on Sunday 1 September 2019 and our long-term vision is for the event to become one of Australia’s most iconic and important running events.

Your support will help change lives and recognise the important role men play in families and communities.

Thank you and I look forward to seeing you on Father’s Day.