Charlie Maher turns a personal tragedy into a public act of inspiration for his people.
The first runner to complete the Indigenous Marathon Project after crossing the line in New York is also set to become the first Aboriginal person to achieve a six-star result.
The unique achievement, achieved by fewer than 200 Australians, is awarded for completing marathons in London, Berlin, Tokyo, Chicago, Boston and New York.
Alice Springs’ Western Arrernte, Alyavare and Yamatji man will receive a six-star medal after finishing the London Marathon on October 2.
“It’s something really special to be the first of us to do it,” Maher said.
Maher has a firmer goal of completing this last major marathon after COVID-19 disrupted his previous ride.
The father-of-two is still struggling with the loss of his mother two years ago and his older sister to cancer just four months ago.
“I guess this marathon is part of the recovery process, there’s something positive in our lives that we can celebrate together,” Maher said.
The pain of personal loss convinced Maher to return home to be close to his crowd after six years living in Coffs Harbour.
“I always think how proud I am of everyone, but especially my mom and my older sister,” Maher said.
“They helped me get to where I am.
“They have instilled a lot of good values in me, so when I come to London and cross the finish line, it will be a special time for everyone, not just me.”
- Story by Andrew Matheson