ORANGE distance runner Nathan Sutherland has been selected to train in the Robert De Castella Marathon Project.
A nationwide program, Sutherland is the only New South Welshman selected in the 20-strong squad to take part in training camps across the country from tomorrow.
Sutherland said he wanted to take his running as far as possible.
“I’m committed and dedicated. Hopefully I can do well at the camps and get selected to do the marathon,” the 19-year-old said, referring to the New York Marathon in November.
The initiative by De Castella, Australia’s greatest ever marathon runner, is designed to produce an Indigenous distance running champion and to have an Indigenous Australian on the 2016 Olympic marathon running team.
But more importantly De Castella wants to make running, walking and physical activity a natural and regular part of indigenous life.
Sutherland said it was a project he was proud to be part of.
“I want to be an ambassador for the Aboriginal community,” he said.
“And show that you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. If you’ve got potential, show it. There’s no point hiding it.”
Athletes go on camps at the Australian Institute of Sport, the Gold Coast, Alice Springs and complete training programs before both the Sun Herald City2Surf in Sydney and the Perth City to Surf this year.
Seminars about nutrition and Aboriginal health and recreation will also be held.
After the completion of the camps six athletes are chosen to run in the New York Marathon at the end of the year.
Sutherland, who has been running since the age of six, believes he has what it takes to achieve his goals.
“I enjoy doing it. I went to Little As when I was younger and the (Orange) runners’ club. I’ve competed in New Zealand, too,” the former James Sheahan Catholic High school student said.
“I’ll work my way towards (marathons) and obviously it’s hard work but it’d be great to do that.”
Sutherland said it was a dream come true to work with De Castella.
“He’s a great role model. He’s an Olympic champion. He’s just awesome,” Sutherland said.