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UC re-signs MOU with Indigenous Marathon Foundation

Elly Mackay

14 October 2020: In an exciting continuation of an existing partnership, the University of Canberra and the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF) have re-signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to encourage greater collaboration between the two.

The MOU, which was originally formed in 2017, encourages students and staff at the University as well as IMF staff to work together to achieve mutually beneficial outcomes.

The renewal affirms the University’s place as a leader for sport education and research, and strengthens its commitment to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander outcomes across the academic, research and innovation, employment, and community engagement spheres.

It is intended to enhance student experience, through guest lectures from IMF staff and the provision of internship opportunities, as well as opportunities for research collaboration in which University researchers will support the IMF’s research objectives.

Other initiatives include the University providing professional and corporate development support to the IMF and its  staff, and collaboration on national events and milestones like NAIDOC Week.

The University of Canberra’s lead on the collaboration, Associate Lecturer of Sports Management Stirling Sharpe said that the partnership is being renewed with great enthusiasm from both sides.

“We are excited to continue our work with the IMF in providing some fantastic opportunities for our students and staff to work collaboratively with them on events,” Mr Sharpe said.

He also indicated that the success of the original MOU was a motivator for the continuation of the partnership.

“The initial partnership yielded some successes from dedicated individuals, and  we are glad to be able to extend the partnership and build on our objectives to reach a greater number of students and assist the IMF in even more ways than before.”

“We have a great vision for the future of this partnership, and what it can achieve for all involved.”

The Indigenous Marathon Foundation is an offshoot of the Indigenous Marathon Project, which was established in 2009 by former world champion marathon runner Rob de Castella, and has continued to grow.

It provides opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians to train and complete international marathons. The IMP has grown significantly, with 86 of the program’s graduates completing a major international marathon. Graduates also complete an education component as part of their training, and receive a Certificate IV in Sport and Recreation delivered by AFL Sports Ready.

“Education has always been a vitally important component in all the Indigenous Marathon Foundation programs – it’s certainly not just about running!” Mr de Castella said.

“Education provides the tools for our young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander men and women to drive positive change, and inspire and support their families and communities.”

Mr Sharpe says he hopes the University can continue to work with Mr de Castella into the future, to support the foundation.

“This is a fantastic opportunity to work alongside an organisation which is doing great work to improve the lives of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians,” Mr Sharpe said.

“As a sport management academic, I find the prospect of having our students exposed to the work of the IMF and completing internships with Rob and his team to be incredible.”

Mr de Castella echoed the thought, saying the partnership is beneficial to the wider IMF programs.

“This MOU and our ongoing partnership with UC will enable the IMF to strengthen our offering and align our education strategies to meet the needs of our IMP graduates and expand our programs across remote, regional, and urban Australia,” he said.