What started out as an ambitious goal to help raise money to get Indigenous marathon runners to New York has ended in a personal feat for Katherine runner Brett Barney.
In one of the hottest parts of the country, where the humidity peaks close to 100 per cent at this time of year, he nearly doubled his goal of running 100 km in November for the Indigenous Marathon Foundation.
Instead, in just 18 days he tackled four marathons, countless rogue dogs and early mornings all the while inspiring a small Katherine group along the way to get through their own running goals.
"I would wake up at 4.45am, eat two bits of toast with peanut butter and honey, have a black coffee and a huge glass of water and set off."
Each year, the Indigenous Marathon Foundation selects 12 young Indigenous Australians and trains them to run the largest marathon in the world, in just six months.
Brett Barney raised $897 for the cause as he toiled through one of the most gruelling months of his life.
But it was the knowledge the Indigenous marathon runners were toughing out their own training in the same harsh conditions of outback Australia, which kept him going.
This morning, he clocked in his last run, totalling 168.9 kilometres for the month of November.
"It was surprising that I could do it," he said.
"To get up every morning and go out, even though it was hot, and dogs would chase me, and my legs were sore from the day before.
"But the context of living in the NT, where the other runners are also battling the same extremes was an inspiration to keep going."
On average, each run would distance 10 kilometres, but there was the odd occasion he'd clock in double that.
"It was one of the hardest things I've done. I've walked 100km in one go to raise funds for Oxfam, I've done the Jatbula trail, but this was a difference kind of perseverance."
He said it was a cause close to his heart.
A runner for a good part of his life, he knows first hand the benefits of pounding the pavement, or red dirt if we're talking about the Territory.
"The Indigenous Marathon Foundation is an exceptional cause," he said.
"Getting people to the New York Marathon is impressive in itself, but adding in all the benefits that get them there is the main thing.
"It improves health outcomes and confidence, and from there it's an avalanche of inspiration for friends and family."
Barney didn't stop at ticking off his own running goals and raising money for the foundation, he inspired a small Katherine group to get involved in the journey with him.
"I managed to get a few people who hadn't run before to make a start.
"Gradually, I nurtured people's confidence. I ran with them at their pace until we were all running long distances."
One runner, Tamara, started out running just one kilometre, and in the short space of time is now up to 10.
He said he is hoping to get even more people on board next November, to raise funds for the foundation and to reap the benefits of running.
Though he won't be in Katherine.
He has ambitious plans to run in a different place every day while he is on a three month trip down the east coast.
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