Whilst doing so she tackles an even bigger goal of improving indigenous education and "closing the gap". Through her work with the Cathy Freeman Foundation (CFF) Cathy is working to improve literacy rates and increase high school retention for students on Palm Island.
In addition to thousands of supporters around Australia, the school children and families on Palm Island would be ecstatic with Cathy’s efforts as the CFF programs are having direct measurable impacts as school enrolments have tripled. If Cathy can reach her fundraising goal by January 31, the CFF will provide the year’s books for all the school children on Palm Island. It’s shame that it takes the efforts of Australia’s athletes to provide educational materials for the school children but it is certainly a cause worth supporting.
To help Cathy in her fundraising efforts head to [http://personalchallenge.gofundraise.com.au/page/cathyfreeman her donation page|taget=_blank]
Clearly the marathon was never about a finishing time for Cathy, it was so much more, but even so Cathy ran well after a conservative start to finish in 4hrs 31mins
Flanked by supporter & pacer Evette Cordy, Freeman ran through Hobart acknowledging support from runners and spectators along the course. It was an inspirational run which demonstrated the passion Freeman holds for improving Indigenous education.
The marathon is a gruelling event, especially for a sprinter, and for an Olympic champion to tackle a race where she knows she won’t be anywhere near the front. It’s admirable. Cathy wasn’t concerned about reputation or daunted by being beaten. The challenge wasn’t to win, but a personal goal to finish. Just like so many other ordinary Australians out there running, "having a go" and giving it their best shot. Well done!
After the race Cathy tweeted “Special thanks to Rob de Castella (Deeks) for inspiring me to run my first marathon today! Also thanks to Timmy Rowe (IMP coach) & Evette Cordy for their huge support.”
Cleverly Deeks noted that Cathy was Australia’s most recent Olympic champion & marathoner. James Murch also thanked Deeks for supporting Cathy’s efforts, tweeting “she’s ecstatic”.
Cathy Freeman was not the only Olympian in Hobart with Aussie London 2012 marathon runner Martin Dent contesting the Cadbury half marathon. Dent dominated the race to win in 65:31 ahead of Russell Dessaix-Chin (67:15) and Dejen Gebreselassie (67:32). Karinna Fyfe won the women’s event in 78:24 from Kate Pedley (79:28) and Sonia Bracegirdle (81:59).
Matt Fenech won the 30th edition of the Cadbury marathon in a time of 2:28:48 ahead of 2nd place Barry Keem (2:32:44) and 3rd place Ashber Germa (2:38:50). Natalie Wallace won the women’s marathon in 3:15:42 from Jessica Kierath (3:26:51) and Jacqui Guy (3:27:49).
The Cadbury marathon could easily be renamed the ‘Hobart Running Festival’ with 4 events attracting a host of runners. The Cadbury marathon starts first (at 6am) but the half marathon also attracts an elite field with Martin Dent winning this year. Add to these the 5km event and the Caramello Koala 1km race for primary school children and it’s a great event with something for everyone. 2200 participants took part in the 30th edition of the Cadbury marathon (running festival). It looks like the event is in good hands for the next 30 years. For more information or to sign up for next years event go to the Cadbury Marathon website.Michael Hennessy
Banzai Blog: Read more running news and tips from Michael Hennessy