MURRAY Bridge athlete Daniel Lloyd has earned a spot in the world famous New York City Marathon in November, as part of the 2015 Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP) team.
On Sunday, September 27, Lloyd was a part of the 2015 IMP squad of five Indigenous men and five Indigenous women, who competed in a 30-kilometre qualifying run in Alice Springs, which determined the final squad to take on the New York Marathon.
Lloyd finishing first in a time of 2:27:38.
IMP founder and director Robert de Castella said it was an emotionally-charged final camp.
"These incredible Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island men and women from across Australia have faced adversity, challenge and sacrifice that are times is incomprehensible," he said.
"All of these men and women have endured some extremely difficult situations in their lives and today they proved nothing will defeat them.
"Most members of the squad had no running experience just a few short months ago and now they are preparing to line up in the biggest marathon in the world.
"I am extremely proud of their achievements and know they will embrace the marathon with the same unbreakable spirit and attitude with which they have faced their own personal struggles; with courage, pride, strength and an unwavering determination to succeed."
The squad was inspired and supported by IMP graduates of each year who were an integral part of the camp, sharing their personal stories of adversity and triumph, and running alongside squad members for the 30km run.
IMP head coach Mick Rees highlighted the growth and success of IMP and said each runner had justified their selection in the squad.
"This year we received a record number of applications from 150 Indigenous Australians from right across the country to be part of the squad," he said.
"Every single one of our runners has well and truly earned their right to line up in the New York City Marathon.
"Running doesn't lie; if you don't do the training, you won't be prepared for any run, particularly not 30kms.
Mr Rees said the next month or so was crucial for the squad to complete their final preparations.
"The next five weeks are crucial for the squad to put in the final preparations and correct nutrition to make sure they are 100 per cent conditioned for their marathon challenge," he said. "It's going to be an emotional time on that finish line in New York, and I'm so proud of them all."
The IMP uses running as a vehicle to drive social change, create inspirational role models and celebrate Indigenous resilience and achievement.
All members of the squad will meet in Sydney for a pre-departure camp, before flying out for New York on Thursday, October 29.