Donors rally to send IMP runners to Tokyo

After a month of uncertainty following the dramatic last-minute cancellation of the New York Marathon, the 2012 Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP) squad’s marathon dreams are still well and truly alive, with their sights now firmly set on running the world famous Tokyo Marathon.   Thanks to a number of extremely generous donations, the team will prove that nothing can keep them down when they line up together at the start of one of the world’s biggest marathons on February 24th.   IMP founder Rob de Castella said that the team had worked hard and deserved the chance to run an international marathon, and that the opportunity presented to the runners demonstrated that despite the many setbacks that they had faced, they could still go onto achieve their marathon goals.   “These amazing young men and women are truly an inspirational bunch, and learning to cope with the decision to cancel New York and head home to continue their training has been tougher than any marathon that they will ever run,” he said.   “The way they have stuck together as a team, gone back to their respective communities, put their heads down and continued with their training in some really tough, hot conditions in the middle of summer is a credit to every single team member. Everyone will have undertaken a marathon effort simply to get to the start line in Tokyo, and that is what IMP is all about.”   29 year old Justin Gaykamangu, from one of Australia’s most remote communities – Ramingining in Arhnem Land – couldn’t contain his excitement when his mentor Andrew broke the news that he was being given another chance to travel overseas and run a marathon.   “I am so excited. I have heard that Tokyo is big like New York, and it will be my first time there. It is going to be great, and I am so proud to be given this opportunity,” he said.   “When I returned home from New York, everyone was really upset for me as they had heard the news and they were expecting to see me on TV. I now have even more motivation to keep training hard, especially in the heat.”   Alice Springs athlete Korey Summers, who is hoping to be the first IMP athlete to break the elusive 3 hour mark for the marathon, said he was pretty disappointed when he found out that the New York Marathon wouldn’t go ahead.   “It was devastating when we found out that we couldn’t compete in New York, but we got to help out and volunteer in affected areas, which was more important at that time”, he said.   “When I heard that we had been given the chance to run in Tokyo, I was pretty excited. It will be great to do a marathon of that scale in another huge city in another part of the world, and I am really looking forward to getting a marathon under my belt.”   The team will arrive in Tokyo on Friday 22nd February for the marathon on the Sunday morning.   For more information, or to arrange an interview with Rob de Castella or any of the team members, please contact Laura Oldfield on (02) 6260 5750 or 0438 523 543.