Rob de Castella (left) established the Indigenous Marathon Foundation in 2009 and since then approximately 75 Indigenous Australians have finished marathons in New York, Boston, Tokyo, London, Paris, and Berlin while completing an educational component.

The J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney’s Centennial Park is enjoying sustained popularity, with its 2017 race attracting 8,804 entrants from 391 companies – the largest gathering at this event since its 2000 debut in Australia.

One of the reasons for that success is a beneficiary partnership that truly resonates with the business community.  When the Corporate Challenge conducts its 18th running on 31 October, it will benefit the Indigenous Marathon Foundation for the fifth consecutive year.

“Since 2014, the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge participants have made a significant contribution to the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) that we are so grateful and appreciative for,” said Peta MacKinnon, Fundraising and Partnerships Manager for IMF. 

“The valuable funding from an event such as the Corporate Challenge assists IMF to continue providing and expanding its programs into the future,” MacKinnon continued. “There is still a need to raise awareness and exposure about IMF, and the work of the Foundation, so that more people are familiar with this great charity.  The Corporate Challenge is a good opportunity to achieve such exposure and we are fortunate to be involved again in 2018.”

The Indigenous Marathon Foundation is a health promotion charity that uses running to celebrate Indigenous resilience and achievement and create inspirational Indigenous leaders.
IMF’s mission is to establish a culture of distance running in Indigenous Australia, and through it build strength, awareness, and the power to encourage others.

“Our purpose,” MacKinnon said, “is to inspire Indigenous Australians to have the courage to tackle their big issues, such as addressing and combating the high incidence of chronic health and the poor physical and mental health plaguing Australia's Indigenous population.”

The Foundation’s signature program is the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP), that sends 12 Indigenous Australians to compete in the New York City Marathon each November. And the project’s effectiveness was underscored by a recent report from Social Ventures Australia, which concluded that for every dollar invested in IMP between 2014-16, approximately $6.60 of social, cultural and economic value was created.

MacKinnon, who knows of the power of international sport, having competed in the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens for Australia’s “Hockeyroos” field hockey squad, was extremely proud of that report.

“To receive a 6:1 rating on social return on investment confirms that the desired outcomes from our programs are succeeding,” MacKinnon said. “It is thoroughly rewarding and highly satisfying, both personally and professionally, to be a part of something that is making such a significant and positive impact in the lives of Indigenous Australians.”

The Indigenous Marathon Foundation was established in 2009 by the great champion marathoner, Rob de Castella.  The next year, four Indigenous Australians were the first to run in the New York City Marathon.  Since then approximately 75 graduates have finished marathons in New York, Boston, Tokyo, London, Paris, and Berlin, while completing an education component a Certificate IV in Sport and Recreation, CPR and First Aid along with Mental Health First Aid.

De Castella, who won the Gold Medal in the Marathon World Championships in 1983 and the 1982 and 1986 Commonwealth Games, also has deep roots with the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge. He served as the celebrity ambassador at very first in Centennial Park, in November 2000.

Registration for the 18th running of the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge in Sydney remains open until Thursday, 4 October.  There are also various hospitality options available for participating companies, with reservations being accepted through Friday, 5 October.

Corporate Challenge participants looking to support the Indigenous Marathon Foundation privately or through their companies have several options to choose from, including a speaker scholarship, participation in the annual IMF Father’s Day WARRIOR Run, a one-off donation, joining IMF’s 42 Club regular donor program, selecting IMF as your charity of choice in an upcoming running event, triathlon, or any other challenge, or purchasing exclusive IMF designed merchandise.

MacKinnon also noted IMF is looking for corporate groups and/or individuals to sponsor members of the 2018 IMP squad at the New York Marathon on 1 November.

“IMF have been able to showcase and celebrate Australia’s rich Indigenous culture and people in a powerful way, creating inspirational role models and heroes, taking young Indigenous people on a journey of self-empowerment and using the “one” to change the “many” approach,” MacKinnon said.

The donation to IMF is part of J.P. Morgan’s commitment to supporting a not-for-profit organization in each of the 13 cities around the world that comprise the J.P. Morgan Corporate Challenge Series.  J.P. Morgan will donate more than $700,000 at Series events in 2018, with the donations working locally.