Using running to change lives, this weekend’s Father’s Day Warrior Run aims to promote what it means to be a good man and a good father.
For father and Arrernte-Guindji man Luke McKenzie, participating in the fun run means being a role model to his two boys, and the other young kids in his community.
He is a Leukaemia survivor and an ambassador for the Indigenous Marathon Project, which aims to promote healthy lifestyles for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people.
“When my son was born I thought I needed to have a look at myself, get fit, be someone they can look up to, and be a role model for other kids in the community,” Mr McKenzie said.
Mr McKenzie was diagnosed with Leukaemia at the age of 11. His diagnosis resulted in some difficult times for him and his family during his two years of treatment, and the time that followed.
It was no surprise that Mr McKenzie found solitude in sport.
“Dad was a good footy player and cricket player growing up. I would always have people coming up telling me how good Dad was back in the day, which made me feel proud and like I could achieve things of my own one day,” he said.
“Dad always encouraged me to aim high and chase my dreams no matter how big they were.”
When his wife Samara gave birth to their first son Jaxon, Mr McKenzie wanted his son to look up to him as a great role model, as he did his own father.
“My inspiration in getting involved in running and the lifestyle change began when I became a father, when my son was born. It inspired me to be a role model for my kids and to tell my story,” Mr McKenzie said.
Despite being involved in the Indigenous Marathon Project for a number of years, this will be Mr McKenzie’s first year travelling to Sydney to complete the Father’s Day Warrior Run.
“Come along and support the Indigenous Marathon Project, and take part in the fun run. It’s a good way to celebrate your fathers and the strong influence they have in your life, and it’s a great way to celebrate father’s day,” he said.
The Indigenous Marathon Project’s Father’s Day Warrior Run will be held at the Brazilian Fields, Centennial Park, Sydney from 8am. For more information, or to register for the event, visit www.warriorrun.com.au