We catch up with Event Manager, Liz de Castella, ahead of this year’s De Castella Run on Sunday 25th August in Melbourne

The De Castella Run is an Australian heritage event designed for all levels of fitness and one of Melbourne’s longest fun runs – how did it
all begin?
It all began in 1981 when Robert de Castella won, in world record time, the Fukuoka Marathon. His old school, Burke Hall, and the city of Melbourne were bursting with pride and started a fun run in his honor. He then went on through the 1980’s as Australia’s best marathoner and possibly the best the world had ever seen.

This year’s event takes place on Sunday 25th August and includes
the 5km run/walk, 10km run and 15km run – what makes the event
so popular?
The event is always held on the last Sunday in August, along the Yarra Boulevard, Kew, in an out-and-back course. The course is scenic with city skyline views and travels the course of the river. Unlike other fun runs in Melbourne it has rolling hills that are manageable for all fitness levels but add an extra element of challenge.

Over 10 years the event has raised more than $500,000 for mental illness research and participants were often running and walking in support of struggling family and friends. These same people keep coming back, and the atmosphere is one of compassion, gentle encouragement, and celebration of all efforts. 

Organised by the many volunteers of the Old Xaverian’s Athletic Club, the event is planned and executed by runners for runners! This is why it works so well and has all the features of a larger fun run without the intensity and pressure of larger scale events.

“Robert loves attending this event as he revisits his old training ground from his youth, when he used to meet up with his mates after school and run the Boulevard.”

What does it take to organise such a popular event?
It takes a lot to organise this event. Sponsor support is crucial or the event wouldn’t be able to keep going. As is the months of preparation, traffic management planning, permit applications for permission to close the roads, and all the stall holder bookings, volunteers needed for on the day and seeking out the many donations made for prizes and giveaways to keep this wonderful uplifting community event alive.

Can you tell me a little more about the Indigenous Marathon Foundation?
The Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMP) is a health promotion charity that uses running to celebrate Indigenous resilience and achievement, and create inspirational Indigenous leaders. It incorporates four core programs: The Indigenous Marathon Project, Indigenous Communities for Activities and Nutrition (ICAN), Frontrunners and Deadly Runners Australia.

It is making lasting changes to people’s lives through activity, fitness, healthy nutrition, educational programs and development of new leadership skills amongst Aboriginal and Torres Stait Islander people of Australia. 

Who stands out for you in the 2019 IMP Squad?
They all have my heartfelt hope that they can make it to the finish line in New York. So many things can go wrong along the way, I know I couldn’t do it! To choose one is very difficult, but if i have to I choose: Kate Axten. As a mother myself, I cannot help but admire anyone who takes on foster children. I’ll be barracking and keen to see how Kate goes. She does not look naturally built for running and I think I also admire her guts in taking the challenge to run as far as a marathon. Juggling family life is hard, but I know you do it so much better when you are fitter. Good luck Kate, I really hope she can make it, as I do for all of the twelve 2019 programme participants.

We have to ask, why do you love the iTAB medal insert?
The iTAB medal insert is a memento of the effort and joy of finishing. It completes the medal which is the symbol of achievement! It also gives me something clear and simple to aim for beating next year!

De Castella Run participants can order an iTAB during race registration or log back into their ACTIVE account to order.

Sign up for the De Castella Run here