Colin Sampton felt "broken" after a 15km run around Lake Burley Griffin back in 2013.
He had not long taken up running, desperate to make a positive change after bad decisions that had his life "spiralling out of control".
And when the Far North Queensland man runs beside Canberra's centrepiece again on Sunday, he'll do so believing that particular choice saved his life.
Mr Sampton is one of about 8000 runners set to tackle a course as part of the Canberra Times Marathon Festival, lining up for what will be his 14th marathon.
He expects it to be an emotional occasion as his mind turns to the time he first visited the capital to start training under the legendary Robert de Castella as part of the Indigenous Marathon Project.
"I started running because my life wasn't the best," the proud Indigenous man told the Sunday Canberra Times.
"It was basically spiralling out of control. I had a negative outlook on life. I was depressed. I had very unhealthy eating and was making bad decisions in life.
"I had to make a change and I just fell in love with running. It put me in a mindset where I just had to question how strong I am within. I had to believe in myself."
Mr Sampton, whose subsequent achievements include competing in the New York Marathon and recently running 100 kilometres in less than 14 hours, would now love to see more Indigenous people take up running.
That is why he is grateful for the partnership between the Indigenous Marathon Foundation and Canberra Times Marathon Festival sponsor Tata Consultancy Services, which has worked with traditional Ngunnawal custodians to develop an app that features the locations and details of 14 historically significant Indigenous sites along the event's 42km course.
"It's very important to educate and to let the wider community know that you're running on sacred land that has very strong ties to the Indigenous people here," Mr Sampton said.
"When you're out there doing your run, there's a lot of time out there. You have thoughts coming through your mind and some time to really enjoy the journey.
"Connecting to the energy of the land you're running on is quite a special thing for Indigenous people. We live off the land and the land is everything to us."
To download the app, which is free, search "CTMF 2021" on the App Store or Google Play Store.
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