• Nat Heath completes his 100km run. (Facebook: Indigenous Marathon Foundation.)Source: Facebook: Indigenous Marathon Foundation.
Noongar - Martujarra man runs 100 kilometres in 10 hours to celebrate and raise awareness of Aboriginal culture as part of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation's virtual running festival.
Keira Jenkins

14 Jul 2020 - 12:50 PM  UPDATED 14 Jul 2020 - 2:30 PM

Nat Heath has been waiting for the right cause to run 100 kilometres for.

When NAIDOC Week was postponed due to Coronavirus restrictions, and the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) announced its 'Run, Sweat, Inspire' virtual running festival, Mr Heath knew he'd found his cause.

The Noongar and Martujarra man said he saw it as the perfect opportunity to raise awareness for NAIDOC, the IMF and Indigenous culture, and raise some money for the IMF too.

"I was out for a run and I thought it's the Indigenous Marathon Foundation's 10th year, wouldn't it be great if I did 10kms for every year they've been going and do a 100km run," he said.

"I thought it would be really cool to raise some awareness around the running festival and raise some awareness around NAIDOC Week for people who might not usually celebrate it or get involved with NAIDOC activities."

"It was also a good opportunity to raise a bit of money. We had the initial goal to raise $10,000 and we're up to nearly $25,000."

On Sunday, Mr Heath set out as the sun was rising. Just under 10 hours later - 9.52 hours to be exact - he had run 100 kilometres.

Mr Heath was joined by other runners at every leg of the journey, some completing their first marathon, or just tagging along for one 10km lap of the course.

M Heath said although it was a virtual running event, it had the feeling of a great community day.

"At every stage there was at least a minimum of 20 people running with us," he said.

"We always made sure we never had over 50 due to all the COVID restrictions but where we started and finished, there was always a little crowd there with us.

"It didn't actually feel like a virtual running event where you were by yourself. Also, where we did it, it was a beautiful day so people were just out.

"I think it created a lot of awareness because people were seeing all these Indigenous shirts running around and they were like, 'oh what's this all about?'"

Mr Heath said his body was feeling the pain after the run, but his mind was over the moon.

"My body is pretty shattered really, like, it's so sore," he said.

"It's probably not as bad as I thought it would be, last night I could barely move. But I'm also still on a bit of a high."

Runners from all over the country joined in the Run, Sweat, Inspire virtual running festival.

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