Riley looking to mentor the next group of Indigenous runners

Nathan Riley, back row third from right, with his team of Indigenous runners after completing the Fun Run on Sunday. 	        Photo: JENNIFER HOAR
Nathan Riley, back row third from right, with his team of Indigenous runners after completing the Fun Run on Sunday. Photo: JENNIFER HOAR

AFTER being inspired by one of the country's greatest ever long distance runners, Nathan Riley is determined to ensure local youngsters have the opportunity to achieve success in the sport.

In 2014, Dubbo-based Riley took part in the New York Marathon after being a student of the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP).

Former Olympian and Commonwealth Games gold medallist Robert De Castella had a lot to do with the IMP and assisted in coaching Riley.

He left an impression and Riley is now trying to mentor the next generation of local Indigenous runners, who all took part in the Greater Fun Run last Sunday.

"It's very unique," Riley said of the IMP.

"Back in 2014 when I got to go through that and go and run in the New York Marathon and I asked Rob how I could replay him.

"He told me I could pay him back by coming back here and taking the message back and spreading it and helping others."

Riley's efforts have worked with his young team, who all performed well on Sunday in the 4km event, which ran around town before coming to a finish at DCL Park.

Jayden Hyde even managed to finish second in the race after setting the pace early and Riley was delighted with all of his team.

"It was a lot of the boys' first ever run event and even though it was a local one I'm really proud of them," he said.

"One even got on the podium and he's only 13 years old."

Riley admitted Hyde's performance even got his own competitive juices flowing and he went on to finish first.

"I wasn't going to go hard but one of the young fellas was leading early on so I caught up with him to run with him," he said, before laughing about his competitive side coming out.

"Then there was this girl up ahead of us so we couldn't let her win but that only came out of me trying to keep up with the boys."

As well as running a local leg of the Deadly Fun Series, Riley's next goal with his team is the Deadly Fun Run at Uluru.

There will be three Deadly Fun Runs held in term two, with Riley's team of runners mentored by a joint effort involving the Indigenous Concepts and Networking (ICAN).

The Deadly Fun Run will be held in June in the Northern Territory

"Last year I helped out with some community fun runs through the IMP and from that I get to take four boys to the national Deadly Fun Run at Uluru," he said.

"For the boys, there were three last year and we took it out so we want the squad to defend that title."

Dubbo was named the overall champion community last year following Dane Charters and Hyde finishing first and third respectively and Riley is hopeful some other members of the squad can finish on the podium this time out.