A few weeks ago we made a post about how Shoes For Planet Earth was assisting the Indigenous Marathon Project, which uses the marathon as a vehicle to promote healthy lifestyles to Indigenous and Torres
Strait Islander people.

The Project annually selects a group of young Indigenous men and women to complete
the New York City Marathon with just six months of training, using running to try and change lives.

We were devastated to hear about Hurricane Sandy, and it’s impact on cities on America’s West Coast, and sad to hear the news that the New York City Marathon had been cancelled.

However an email (included in part below) from our contact at IMP, Andrew Bagnall, helped remind us how, marathon or not, the IMP is changing lives.

“I have spoken with you recently regarding a fun run we held in Ramingining with our local IMP runner, Justin, who will be heading over to NY to run in the marathon in a couple of weeks.

I wanted to update you with how the shoes have been received. Yesterday we held our second fun run, this time during school hours, so that everyone could be involved. This time, we opened up one classroom as the shoe shop, except children could choose one pair that fitted, keep them, and obviously wouldn’t have to pay for them! I invited Justin in to talk, and he spoke with the kids about nutrition, about keeping fit and his training for new York. We watched a video on the NY marathon, which Justin and the children loved- seeing 30,000 running across the bridges and streets is pretty amazing, especially for people living in remote NT! Then we ran the course (800m) through the bush, which was made by buffalo’s, before finishing and cheering on everyone else who ran/participated!

What was great for me, was the happiness and joy on children’s faces trying on shoes, and getting excited about owning a pair of shoes! I had seen it before, when we handed the shoes out last time, but yesterday, 7 other teachers and 5 Indigenous support workers were part of it, and i could see how much this meant to them too. These special moments don’t happen very often up here- the school is constantly handing out (bribing) prizes for attendance etc, which the children take, use once or twice and then throw away as they are not really worth anything. The shoes were/are different because they are enabling for children- shoes give access to running for all these guys.

You cannot help but get emotionally involved when you hear children say in broken English, as Juvistin, my Year 2 boy did ‘Today is a wonderful day!’, or when Tobasco says to me afterwards, as he helped to run around the course again, collecting the cones ‘I love jogging. Tomorrow, i will wake up, and have a drink of water (taking in what Justin had said), and go jogging to school and back. I love jogging!’

Justin is a great role model for these guys, and my interest in running and getting a message across to children obviously helps a little. But Shoes for Planet Earth have made a wonderful day in Ramingining possible by providing us with shoes, that wouldn’t happen without your support. I am lucky enough to see the impact it has on children every day, and when i was walking down the street this morning, i could see children in their shoes, lifting their feet up to show me!

Thank-you, and keep up the often thankless work your organisation does!”