A 16-year-old talent has broken the 5km course record at the RAW national fun run championships, showcasing further growth of the Indigenous running community.
Ewan McFadzen crossed the line in front of the Mackay Marina run on Sunday, June 12, in 16 minutes, 38 seconds.
The Bramble Bay runner headlined a contingency from the Brisbane suburban group after female Tiana Brockhurst took out the 30-39 years category in a time of 23:50.
South Australian Raymond Landers was the first of the 40-49 year-olds in a 21:32.
The Indigenous Marathon Foundation event attracted more than 100 runners from 20 First Nation communities across Australia.
Among the friendly individual competition, the narrative of cultural resilience almost symbolically overshadowed the ninth year of the championships.
Each community was tasked with bringing a specially-crafted baton to grateful Yuwi country elders, but not before four Cairns RAW runners teamed up to claim the 12km championship relay on Saturday.
The runners came from remote communities of Mimili, Elcho Island, Groote Eylandt, and Thursday Island, while others travelled from Adelaide, Canberra, Cairns, Darwin and Brisbane.
IMF championships co-organiser Ethan Mulholland said the batons’ purpose were to build connections, representing each of the unique communities and celebrating the power of running.
“These are spoken about the night before the race where each team member gets up and yarns in front of everyone to tell the story,” he said.
“This gives everyone a deeper understanding of each community and also a deeper connection of understanding of one another.”
The RAW groups share the ambition of creating healthy ripple effects in Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
It had been the brainchild of champion marathon runner Robert de Castella to reach and improve the lifestyles of every Indigenous community across the nation a decade ago.
“We hope to have left a good impression on the Mackay region and hope to get a RAW group started out there,” Mulholland said.
- Story by Andrew Mathieson