Running the New York Marathon is a feat in itself – but running just two years after a diagnosis of Guillain-Barre syndrome is an almost super human effort. But this is exactly what Nat Heath of the University’s Wollotuka Institute will be doing later this year.
Guillain-Barre syndrome is a disorder that attacks movement and strength in the periphery nervous system. Two years ago Nat’s experience with the disorder left him in hospital for two weeks and completely unable to walk for five days.
Nat will be running as part of The Indigenous Marathon Project – a project that aims to promote healthy lifestyles among Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
The Indigenous Marathon Project is the brainchild of former world marathon champion, four-time Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist, Rob de Castella.
The Project selects a group of young Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander people and trains them for six months to compete in the New York Marathon.
But the project is not just about running the 41 kilometres of the Marathon; it is also about helping Indigenous communities to combat chronic diseases. The participants in the project, as part of their training, complete a Certificate IV in Health and Leisure (with a focus on Indigenous Healthy Lifestyle).
This year Nat will join ten other Indigenous runners to complete what is one of the world’s most famous marathons.
Nat’s training regime has seen him complete the City2Surf in Sydney last month before heading to New York in November.