Using Running to Give Back: An Interview With Australian Marathon Icon Rob de Castella

Rob de CastellaMany retired elite runners have found meaningful ways to give back to the sport to which they gave so much of themselves.

One such runner is Australian marathoner Rob de Castella.

Known as a fierce competitor who never gave an inch to anyone, Rob raced marathons so hard that he often needed several months after a marathon to fully recover and be ready to race again.

Rob trained in almost exactly the same way under the same coach for the best part of 15 years. His training system is a model for many Australian runners and coaches today.

However, Rob is best known these days for his work with the Indigenous Marathon Project, a program that trains Aboriginal and Torres Strait Island Australians for races around Australia and ultimately the New York City Marathon.

A few of the topics we discussed included:

  • The training program that took Rob to World Championship medals and world records in the marathon
  • The practice of purposefully going into hard workouts tired in order to get more benefit from a shorter workout
  • Rob’s current work with gluten- and sugar-free foods and the Indigenous Marathon Project

This is clearly a former champion who wants to give back to the country that supported him for so long.

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Links and resources mentioned in this interview:

1983 Runners’ World article on Rob and his training

Why Fatigue is a Necessary Part of Training and How to Manage It

Fast Finish Long Runs

The Indigenous Marathon Project website

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