Marathon project to boost life

Midwest Times
Jordyn Merritt with her partner Jordan Alec and their children Lucas, 9, Levi, 8, and Briella, 6.
Camera IconJordyn Merritt with her partner Jordan Alec and their children Lucas, 9, Levi, 8, and Briella, 6.

A Yamaji woman from Geraldton wants Aboriginal people in the Mid West and Gascoyne to join a running program she says helped change her life.

Jordyn Merritt, who now lives in Wickham in the Pilbara, is in training for the Boston Marathon.

“I don’t think a lot of people in Geraldton, Carnarvon, and the Mid West know about the Indigenous Marathon Project,” she said.

She said she hoped people from the region would apply so try-outs would be held here.

She hopes to start a social media group to offer advice and support to people who join the program.

“I am a member of the 2019 IMP squad,” Merritt said.

“I was lucky enough to be chosen out of almost 200 applicants from across the country last year.”

Merritt said she had travelled to different parts of the country to participate in different running events.

Those included a 10km run in Canberra, the Gold Coast half-marathon, the Sydney City to Surf 14km event, and a 30km run in Alice Springs.

Nine of her squad members ran the New York Marathon last November, Merritt said.

She and two other squad members needed more time to prepare, and are training for the Boston Marathon in April.

Jordyn Merritt, third from right, runs at Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra.
Camera IconJordyn Merritt, third from right, runs at Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. Credit: Supplied

“The program is not just about running,” Merritt said.

“It’s also about sharing our struggles and stories, being part of an amazing support system, learning how to heal and deal with personal issues.

“(It’s about) being the difference that we would like to see in our communities and spreading the message of how important our health really is.”

She and her squad have also completed Certificate IV qualifications in sport and recreation, a beginner’s coaching course, and a mental health course.

“Once you’ve successfully completed a marathon, you become an IMP graduate and have all the right tools to become a future leader in your community,” she said.

Applications have opened online, and try-outs for the 2020 squad will start next month.

Merritt said the head coach, Adrian Dodson-Shaw, usually travelled to each community that people apply from.

“Try-outs have never been held in the whole of the Mid West region,” she said.

“This means that the whole Mid West are also missing out on other community programs that IMF have to offer. One of my goals this year is to change this.”

The Indigenous Marathon Foundation pays the costs to compete.

“It’s definitely for beginners,” Merritt said.

“You don’t have to be the fittest or the fastest.”

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