• Indigenous Marathon Project Runners in training
The Indigenous Marathon Project runners will fly out to New York City today to tackle this weekend’s world famous marathon.
By
Kris Flanders

31 Oct 2013 - 4:01 PM  UPDATED 31 Oct 2013 - 6:15 PM

The Indigenous Marathon Project runners will fly out to New York City today to tackle this weekend’s world famous marathon.

Former Western Bulldogs AFL player Nathan Djerrkurra is one of 11 Indigenous Marathon Project members boarding the international flight, and says seven months ago he couldn't see himself finishing a marathon let alone taking part in one.

Now, the runner from Yirrkala in the Northern Territory can't wait to get started.

Fellow runner from the Northern Territory, Justin Miller, says being involved with the Indigenous Marathon Project has taught him plenty about being tough in mind and body; that mental and physical strength is a common theme among the Indigenous crew.

Luke McKenzie from Murray Bridge in South Australia says he's going to welcome the pain barrier as he counts down for the big race this weekend.

The group of 11 athletes are the first team of Indigenous Australians to take part in the New York City Marathon.

The 42-kilometre race will start at Fort Wadsworth on Staten Island and end in Central Park. However, that won’t mark the end for former world champion runner and Indigenous Marathon Project founder, Rob de Castella, who hopes to see the project reach other Indigenous communities in the country next year.

"I'd like to be able to expand the program and develop a women's only squad because there's a lot of issues of Aboriginal women training with the men," Mr Castella says.