(ABC Rural: Charlie McKillop)
Training for a marathon in seven monthsIt is a path Elsie knows only too well. With Elsie encouraging from the sidelines — “C’mon bala, you can do it! “For the majority of people who come here and choose to be a part of the program, 60 seconds of non-stop running is massive for them,” Elsie said.”So you imagine me telling them they’ve all run three minutes, and you see how they celebrate, the joy and excitement.”
Elsie Seriat never imagined the positive change running would make in her island community. Keep pushing hard” — they dare not stop until her piercing whistle sounds again.These are members of the TI Deadly Runners beginners’ group, who together are embarking on the road to positive change, one step at a time.At first, the improvements are incremental, but the self pride is evident. Now I can run a full kilometre without stopping,” said Carolyn, who has lost eight kilograms since starting with the Deadly Runners. Rural news in your inbox? “Before, I couldn’t run for 10 metres. Photo:
Elsie Seriat and Harold Matthew after completing the New York Marathon in 2014. Today she has brought along her friend, who readily admits “running is not my thing”.”The first whistle’s hell,” her friend laughed. Barriers to healthy living are complexStatistics show the Torres Strait mirrors the alarmingly high rates of obesity on the mainland — more than two-thirds of people aged over 15 are obese — and diabetes and heart disease are primary health concerns.The barriers to losing weight on TI can be complex. As the group sets off together, some walk, some run, some shuffle. When she and Harold Matthew became the first Thursday Islanders to join the Indigenous Marathon Project three years ago, she never imagined what they would achieve. (Supplied)
“It’s a mixed emotion for me, yeah, because I can see myself in that same situation when I first started running — coming from a zero running background in seven months to be able to run a marathon,” Elsie said.”So you know, coming back into the community is a perfect example for my people to see if I can do it, they can do it, too.” When Elsie crossed the finish line of the New York marathon in 2014, it was only the beginning, not the end of her journey. Photo:
It is all smiles after another session for the TI Deadly Runners beginners’ group. “But the second whistle’s good because you get to walk again!”But amid the laughter and mock protests, each runner has their own reason for being here, and everyone is pushing to their limits. (ABC Rural: Charlie McKillop)
Marathon training was a lonely path for the young trailblazers.Today, the Deadly Runners group is gaining momentum, with up to 60 members attending beginner and advanced sessions.Even Elsie’s partner and mum have become regular runners.In the local general store in the main street, a new sports section has replaced aisles of electrical goods as a growing band of runners vote with their feet.”My word of encouragement to others is just to get off the couch; that’s what it’s all about, people choosing to do that,” Elsie said. For example, when Elsie’s fellow marathon buddy Harold began training, friends noticed his weight loss and were worried he was sick and needed more kai kai (food). Subscribe to get the national headlines of the day. She returned home to TI determined to help others to embrace the healthier, active lifestyle she had discovered.
August 18, 2016 09:40:29
Members of the TI Deadly Runners group stretch out after a regular interval training session (ABC Rural: Charlie McKillop)
The shrill of Elsie Seriat’s whistle cuts through the pre-dawn stillness of her island community.It signals the start of an interval training session for the 20 or so people who have gathered on the foreshore at Thursday Island (TI), a small island in the far northern waters of Australia.
A Big Country: Islanders embrace a healthy lifestyle
Pull on your running shoes to join the Thursday Island Deadly Runners for interval training
Thursday Island 4875
New York Marathon beckons Thursday Island Deadly Runner