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Bright spots, physical activity investments that work: Indigenous Marathon Foundation
  1. Rona Macniven1,2,
  2. Robert de Castella3,
  3. Elsie Belphina Seriat3,
  4. Nadine Hunt3,
  5. Adrian E Bauman1,2
  1. 1 Prevention Research Collaboration, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  2. 2 Charles Perkins Centre, The University of Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
  3. 3 Indigenous Marathon Foundation, Canberra, Australia
  1. Correspondence to Rona Macniven, Prevention Research Collaboration, Sydney School of Public Health, The University of Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2006, Australia; rona.macniven{at}

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Graphic programme card

  • Country/locality/coverage:

    • Nationally across urban, rural and remote communities in Australia.

  • Target population:

    • The Indigenous population of Australia, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.

  • What modes/types/domains of physical activity does the programme promote?

    • The Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) uses distance running (marathons and fun runs) as a vehicle to engage with communities, develop leadership and promote healthy lifestyles, in leisure and recreational activity domains.

  • Which of the seven best investments the programme addresses?

    • Community-wide programmes involving multiple settings and sectors and that mobilise and integrate community engagement and resources (investment 6) and sports systems and programs that promote ‘sport for all’ and encourage participation across the lifespan (investment 7).

  • What sectors does it involve?

    • Education, sport, community, health.

  • Estimated programme reach:

    • Since 2010, seventy-five 18–30 year-olds have completed at least one international marathon and several thousand adults and children of all ages across over 20 communities have participated in Deadly Running Australia events, training groups and fun runs.

  • What is special about this programme?

    • IMF’s work builds capacity among young Indigenous people to be leaders and role models for healthy lifestyles and better social outcomes in order to reduce the high levels of chronic diseases and lower life expectancy and social issues in Indigenous communities.

  • Key contact:

    • Robert de Castella, AO, MBE, Founder and Director,

  • Programme website and/or Twitter/Facebook handle:


    • @IndigMaraProjct



The health status and …

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  • Contributors All authors contributed to drafting, developing and writing this manuscript, which was led by RM.

  • Funding This research received no specific grant from any funding agency in the public, commercial or not-for-profit sectors.

  • Competing interests None declared.

  • Provenance and peer review Not commissioned; externally peer reviewed.