He’s already conquered New York and for his next mission, Bodalla’s Wade Mongta has set his sights closer to home.
The 20-year-old returned to the Eurobodalla last Wednesday after completing the New York Marathon as part of the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP).
The program trains and mentors 12 young Indigenous men and women each year to compete in the world-renowned race.
While the 42km event was the culmination of six months hard work for Wade, he said it was just the beginning of his journey in the sport.
It’s important for me to set a new goal because right now I’m in a bit of a lull from what was an incredible high” he said.
“The IMP wasn’t just about going to New York, it was also about what happens after New York.”
“The motto of IMP is ‘run, sweat, inspire,’ and I want to make sure I keep to that.”
Wade has remained in close contact with mentors from IMP since he ran in New York and has started running again. He said he wanted to encourage others to follow in his footsteps.
“I’d love to start my own running group down here and possibly get a few of the girls and boys from around here to try out for the 2017 IMP squad,” he said.
“I feel confident that I could train them up to be where they want to be.”
He added that the experience had been life changing.
“To go from Bodalla to New York was like entering a whole new world. There are so many different cultures there. It was awesome.”
Wade’s family has followed his progress closely and have supported his passion ever since he began running at the age of six.
His mother, Marion, does not have a computer so could not watch him in action in New York, but believes her son’s achievements could inspire others.
“He’s always been into running, but he used to just do the shorter distances,” she said.
“When he went over (to New York), his goal was just to finish and not worry about where he came, which he ended up doing.”
“I think it sets a really good example for Indigenous kids around here, some of whom drop out of school early and don’t have a clear path.”
As to whether he has any more plans to travel following his maiden trip overseas, Wade said that he would take it as it came.
“If another opportunity come up through IMP, then I would definitely welcome it; but right now, I’m happy to just go with the flow and see what happens,” He said.
Article by Sean Slatter.Story contributed by Martin Ind from Moruya High School. Published in 2016.