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19 February, 2021

Zero to 100 in ten years

IN an amazing feat of endurance, Cairns local Colin Sampton ran 100 kilometres at the Cairns Esplanade last Saturday, February 13 to raise money for the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF).

By Tanya Murphy

Colin Sampton during his 100km run at the Cairns Esplanade last Saturday.

The 31-year-old completed the remarkable run in 14 hours, starting at 4am, with 40 laps of the Cairns Esplanade in steaming hot weather, as crowds of onlookers cheered him on.

He started fundraising for the challenge just two weeks beforehand and raised a total of $15,300.

Mr Sampton said he battled with obesity and depression prior before joining a gym in 2011, and participating in the Indigenous Marathon Program (IMP) in 2013, and said the program was life-changing.

“Back in 2011, my life was spiralling out of control. I was overweight, I was suffering from depression. My outlook on life was negative,” he said.

“At first I could only run 300 metres before I would be fully exhausted and would want to quit and give up.

“I had to keep finding new levels in my mind and my body where I was able to push out these runs and increase them every week. But I never stopped putting on my shoes and getting out the door.”

Every year the IMF selects a group of young Indigenous men and women (aged 18-30) to compete in the New York Marathon with just six months of training.

The program states that it aims to highlight the incredible natural talent that exists within the Indigenous population, with the hope to one day unearth an Indigenous long-distance running champion to take on the African dominance.

Mr Sampton said participating in the New York marathon with 52,000 runners and more than two million supporters had been a surreal experience, and helped him fall in love with long distance running.

He completed 13 marathons and two 50-kilometre races, before deciding to celebrate his tenth year since he started his health and wellness journey, by completing the 100-kilometre challenge.

“I thought what better way to celebrate the 10 years than to give back to the project that’s given so much to me and my community, to help them create more leaders,” he said.

Colin in 2011, and Colin now.

He said the run was not easy, with bad cramping in his quadriceps between 60 and 80 kilometres, but he pushed through and even had enough energy to speed up for the last seven kilometres.

“I had so many people cheering me along my way and people jumping in and doing laps so they could pace me through,” he said.

“It was such an inspiring and motivating day for everyone and I’ve got a huge response from people wanting to get out the door and move their bodies and get more healthy and active now.

“It’s been a really humbling experience to have an impact on my hometown.”

Since its inception ten years ago, the IMF has trained a total of 109 young Indigenous people not only to run, but also to become role models within their communities, promoting health and physical exercise in order to address high instances of chronic disease such as diabetes, heart disease and renal failure.

Mr Sampton, who previously worked in hospitality, said he had made a lot of good connections through his 100-kilometre challenge and his goal now was to pursue a career in health and fitness to encourage others to meet their potential.

“I fell in love with this feeling I get from running, and I always want to strive to give others the opportunity to experience it. It’s meditative, you’re in a state of zen,” he said.

“I still find it exciting running around Cairns because I find different new footpaths and trails and I just love that, you haven’t seen your own back yard unless you’re out there in nature and moving your body and experiencing a new lens to your back yard.

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