Riley to lead young squad through marathon challenge

Fun runners (from back, L-R) Daniel Bugmy, Clinton Hill jnr, Zach Hill, Dane Charters with (front) Brendan Shillingsworth, Nathan Riley and Jayden Hyde. 	Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

Fun runners (from back, L-R) Daniel Bugmy, Clinton Hill jnr, Zach Hill, Dane Charters with (front) Brendan Shillingsworth, Nathan Riley and Jayden Hyde. Photo: BELINDA SOOLE

HE completed the New York Marathon and is a graduate of the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP), but at this weekend's Greater Dubbo Fun Run Nathan Riley is not running for himself.

The 21-year-old would lead a team of about eight local Aboriginal students through the four-kilometre distance on Sunday, and said it was all about helping the kids test themselves.

"I was involved [in the IMP] in 2014 when I went to New York to do the New York Marathon," Riley said.

"I wasn't a runner before that, I was always sporty but I wasn't a runner. Mainly I just wanted to be able... to go away and push myself and come back and try to inspire the young fellas out here to go and do it.

"That's why I have continued with the training and trying to get them [the kids] into events and that sort of thing."

Riley now mentored youths through the program, including Dubbo youngsters Dane Charters and Jayden Hyde who finished first and third respectively in the junior men's division at last year's IMP National Deadly Fun Run Championships.

The team to take on this weekend's fun run includes students in years 8 to 10 who participate in school programs through Indigenous Concepts and Networking (ICAN), which encourages Indigenous youths to go to school and lead a healthy life by engaging them at school and through cultural excursions linking back to traditional Aboriginal culture.

ICAN employee, 54-year-old Tony Hill, is also tackling the distance.

The four-kilometre course starts at the intersection of Church and Darling streets and threads its way through Dubbo's central business district, north to Myall Street and then east to finish at Barden Park.

Riley might try to push himself over the distance, but said his main priority was making sure the students, many of whom came from disadvantaged backgrounds, achieved their goals.

"I want to try and push the little fellas and if they want to push out a really fast time then I'll try to push along with them," he said.

"It's for their own self-esteem, their own confidence but it's also those little experiences.

"When you push yourself hard you see what you are made of and these kids, they get to see themselves, what they are made of and they get to take pride in that and make their family proud and their community proud."

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