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Canberra Deadly Runners get behind Lynn Leon's first marathon attempt

Fifty-two-year-old school teacher Lynn Leon began learning to run less than 12 months ago but, encouraged by her Canberra Deadly Runners teammates, will attempt her first marathon in April.

The Kaleen Primary school teacher was one of the first members to register when Queanbeyan Deadly Runners expanded over the border to launch a second group for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander members. 

Her first marathon will be a personal challenge.

However, the indigenous educator who grew up on a mission on Mornington Island in the Gulf of Carpentaria said the event meant far more than "putting on a pair of joggers and running out the door."

"I am running in Ngunnawal country, I acknowledge this every time I run," she said.

"I am of the Yangkal (Denham Is.), the Gungalidda (Burketown) and the Lardil (Mornington Island) nations. I can run and achieve a goal today, because of all who have come before. I continually reflect upon my family's history, how far we have come and the road ahead." 

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Her running group's philosophy has been a huge motivator, but to she had a few practical tools up her sleeve too to stop her mind from straying during the long event. 

"I find popping the headphone in and listening works for me," she said. 

"I have a run playlist that includes most of the 80s hits. I try to pick music that is quick tempo so it matches the running. When it gets hard it's good because it kicks me back into my form." 

The transformation from a novice runner to someone training to complete a marathon in less than 12 months was not something Ms Leon dreamt was possible.

"We started on May 2 last year and seeing we haven't even hit our first anniversary I think we are going pretty well," she said.

"I am forever indebted to inspiring individuals who have helped me realise a potential that I never knew existed, until that cold night in May, 2016 at Lake Burley Griffin." 

Every step has been about achieving as a group and supporting one another, with members running in cyclical drills and working as a running team so nobody is left behind.

The collective philosophy behind the Deadly Running concept aligned with the bigger goal of extending opportunities to achieve to the wider indigenous community, Ms Leon said. 

"Right now, we are hearing about Closing the Gap! We need to realise that this gap may take a while to close, but we can build bridges of opportunity to get people across," she said. 

Developing her skills and confidence through the Deadly Runners program had been hugely rewarding and made her want to give back to those that follow the same path.  

"Having people who run with you, the coaches who have been there, travelled the same road and have amazing stories to share of their own beginnings, is inspirational," she said. 

"There are new groups of Queanbeyan and Canberra Deadly Runners starting in March. Every Deadly Runner, who has benefited from the program, and are runners now, are keen to be there for the next group that come through. We will continue to Run, Sweat and Inspire!"

Register to run at the 2017 Australian Running Festival