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Australian Indigenous HealthBulletin Alcohol and other drugs knowledge centre Yarning Places

Support for youth detainees' running program

Date posted: 13 October 2011

Young detainees, and staff at the Banksia Hill Youth Detention Centre, took off running on the 5 October 2011 for the annual marathon running day. More than 130 participants took part in the day's events, running and walking as many laps as possible of the 1.75km circuit. Twenty-four detainees and six staff members finished the full 42km marathon, and 41 detainees along with six staff members completed the half-marathon.

The centre has encouraged detainees to participate in the program for the last seven years and the Director of Youth Custodial Services, Brett McMerrin, said it is a great way to promote a healthy lifestyle. 'It is really all about the kids and the program encourages them to be active and focus on something positive. It has been fantastic and I'm very proud of everyone involved.'

It's the first time a program like this has been run inside a maximum-security facility in the world and the event attracted external interest, including marathon runner Robert De Castella. 'Robert De Castella has become a great mentor for our boys,' Brett said. 'He originally came down to visit and talk to the boys but he was so impressed with what we were doing, he regularly checks in now.'

The Wirrapunda Foundation also showed support for the running program donating 40 pairs of Adidas sneakers to the detainees involved. Champion boxer Danny Green also got involved visiting the centre to talk to the runners and donating ‘Green Machine' t-shirts.


Kim Smee
Media Coordinator
Department of Corrective Services
Ph: (08) 9264 1099


Last updated: 13 October 2011
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