CHARLIE Maher runs to inspire others to be better.
“I feel that if I keep doing marathons I can keep inspiring others to look after themselves and be healthier,” he said.
On September 25 Mr Maher ran the Berlin Marathon, which was his fifth marathon.
“I did New York in 2010, Boston in 2011, Gold Coast in 2013, Tokyo in 2015 and now the Berlin this year,” he said.
He became the first Indigenous Australian to ever run the New York Marathon when he crossed the finish line in 2010 in a time of three hours and 32 minutes.
Mr Maher is part of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation, which is a specific group founded by Rob De Castella to encourage indigenous men and women to run the New York Marathon and encourage healthy active lifestyles.
The aim of the project is to create a ripple effect, so that more indigenous people are encouraged to take part.
Mr Maher’s plan for the Berlin Marathon was to stick to four minutes for each kilometre, but at around the 25 kilometre mark he got into a bit of trouble.
“The temperature started to get warmer, it was 24 degrees and when that happens your body starts shutting down a little bit,” he said.
“It’s a mental battle to get through it and push through the pain.”
For Mr Maher giving up was never an option, as taking up the challenge was something he is very passionate about.
He said his purpose is to provide opportunities for his children, and for them to have a positive future.
“They’re my pillar of strength and when I’ve got into trouble in a marathon I always think of them.”
Mr Maher would like to start up a group in Port Macquarie, to promote health and fitness in the community.
Both of Mr Maher’s grandparents died in their early seventies.
“The life expectancy of Indigenous Australians is quite low, so to try and change that, it’s important for us,” he said.
Mr Maher is travelling to Melbourne on October 14 to compete in a half marathon, after that he will take a break.
He will run alongside his best friend Adrian Dodson-Shaw who is the head coach of the Indigenous Marathon Foundation and was inspired by Mr Maher to run the New York Marathon.
Since Mr Maher completed the New York Marathon in 2010, 53 Indigenous Australians have gone on to finish the event.
Mr Maher thanked his wife Talitha, children Frankie and Boston, as well as friends who helped support him to get him to Berlin.
“Without them I wouldn’t have been able to go,” he said.