Hassall Grove's Jesse Thompson prepares for New York City Marathon

Step by step: Jesse Thompson, a role model for change. Picture: Isabella Lettini

Step by step: Jesse Thompson, a role model for change. Picture: Isabella Lettini

Family and community is what is keeping an indigenous man going as he prepares to race in one of the world’s biggest marathons.

Hassall Grove’s Jesse Thompson, is one of 12 indigenous runners chosen out of 183 candidates, to partake in the New York City marathon as part of the Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP).

A man from the Ngunnawal people, Thompson said running was his way empowering his community to end a destructive cycle.

“The running is kind of symbolical, in a way,” the 24-year-old said.

“It’s the purest form of exercise – everyone can run, it doesn't matter if you’re rich or poor or whether you even have shoes.”

He said his grandmother was part of the stolen generations and was brought to Mount Druitt – the effects of that dark period still echoes throughout his people today.

Run, Jesse, Run: With less than six months of training, Jesse will be running a full marathon which is 42km. Picture: Kevin Nguyen

Run, Jesse, Run: With less than six months of training, Jesse will be running a full marathon which is 42km. Picture: Kevin Nguyen

“I want to demonstrate to my people that change is possible,” he said.

“We can break the cycle of violence and drugs to lead long, healthy and safe lifestyles.”

Everyone can run, it doesn’t matter if you’re rich or poor or whether you even haves shoes.

Jesse Thompson

The IMP, in its seventh year now, has trained and mentored 53 indigenous men and women in many international marathons.

Mr Thompson’s training regime is over six months, including four one-week training camps. Thompson jets for New York in November.