Robert de Castella Helping Indigenous Australians

  • By Duncan Larkin
  • Published Feb. 13, 2011
  • Updated Feb. 13, 2011 at 6:41 PM UTC

The former marathon great wants to assist under-represented athletes.

After a disappointing fifth-place performance at the 1984 Olympic marathon, Australian runner Robert de Castella found himself doing some serious soul searching. “At the end of it all, I felt as though I let everyone down,” he recalls.

After returning to Australia, de Castella went skiing and hiking with a friend in Australia’s Kosciuszko National Park. There, the marathon champion was able to reflect on his life. “Going there allowed me to put a lot of things into perspective and I realised that many of the things I thought were important really aren’t,” he said.

De Castella eventually moved to Colorado where he founded two health and fitness organizations: “SmartStart”, as well as the “Marathon Project.” The aim of the Marathon Project is to have an indigenous runner represented in the 2016 Olympic Marathon.

On his Web site, de Castella writes: “Whilst we have seen a wonderful representation of indigenous athletes in the explosive sports such as AFL, league, boxing and sprinting, I’ve been surprised by the lack of indigenous representation in distance running or the marathon.”

For More: Sydney Morning Herald

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Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin

Duncan Larkin is the news editor at and a freelance journalist who’s been covering the sport of running for over five years. He’s run 2:32 in the marathon and won the Himalayan 100-Mile Stage Race in 2007. His first running book, RUN SIMPLE, was released last July.

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