News State Northern Territory Ultramarathon is no sweat for Zibeon Fielding
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Ultramarathon is no sweat for Zibeon Fielding

Zibeon Fielding completed a 62-kilometre ultramarathon. Photo: Supplied
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“I’m knackered. My legs are blown out, I’m about to kick the feet up and have a sleep.”

Starting at 4am in the APY Lands town of Indulkana, Zibeon Fielding has just finished a 62-kilometre ultramarathon.

The feat, which is about the same as running one and a half full marathons, comes just five weeks after Mr Fielding completed the Boston Marathon.

It would be hard to find two more different experiences.

“The temperature and the weather conditions were horrible that day, and it was just bucketing down rain,” he said of running in Boston.

“It was minus 15 degrees and you couldn’t feel any circulation from your elbow to your fingertips.”

In the APY Lands, Mr Fielding completed the entire ultramarathon on an unsealed road, which varies from gravel to red dirt.

He also had to contend with wildlife — early on he spotted a pack of dingoes while he was still running in the dark.

“You’re out running on your own, where in Boston there are thousands of other runners,” he said.

Mr Fielding was running to raise money for The Purple House, an organisation that provides dialysis to some of Australia’s most remote communities.

Aside from the more than $40,000 raised so far, he wants to promote a healthy lifestyle to other Indigenous Australians.

“I’m here to make a change, with Indigenous people and their health and wanting to be a role model and lead a brighter and better future,” he said.

“I want to see more of our people becoming healthy so they can have better lives.”

The seasoned runner is an alumni of the Indigenous Marathon Project.

In 2016, he and 11 other Indigenous Australians ran the New York Marathon after six months of training.

World champion marathon runner Rob De Castella developed the initiative and was on hand for the entire ultramarathon, encouraging Fielding along the way.

“I’m incredibly proud,” he said.

“This is the face of Indigenous Australia that I want all Australians to see.

“I think it is so important for our country to have these really bright, shining lights — our Aboriginal and Islander men and women.”

Mr De Castella said the 62-kilometre run was no easy feat.

“To run 62 kilometres, that’s a marathon, and then you almost need to keep going for another half marathon,” he said.

“We talk about hitting the wall at 30 kilometres, and the struggle to get through — the battle of the mind over the body over that last 12 kilometres.

“The 42 kilometres was just a warm-up for Zibeon.”

He said Mr Fielding’s achievements were a testament to kind of change he wanted to see coming out of the Indigenous Marathon Project.

“It’s not about taking a group of Indigenous people to New York to run a marathon, it is about what they do afterwards,” Mr De Castella said.

“The journey really starts when you cross the finish line and that’s exactly what we’ve seen with Zibeon.

“Doing something that is hard — running a marathon in six months — gives you an incredible sense of pride and self-respect.

As for his next challenge, Mr Fielding hasn’t ruled out going even further.

But first, food.

“Hopefully I’ll get a snag, if I could find a burger that’d be great,” he quipped.

– ABC

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