As runners, we sometimes think of our experiences numerically. X-many parkruns. A sub x marathon.

Similarly, at Run Beyond, we’ve looked forward for a few months now, to the ton – our 100th graduate. And in November we achieved this, at the Central Coast Half Marathon and 10km where we had 21 students from across two schools, Chester Hill High School and Narrabeen Sports High.

Since then, we’ve had one more graduate, bringing our total number of graduates to 111 at the end of the 2019 school year.

However…

… just as a runners’ numbers don’t reflect the richness of the experiences which those numbers so curtly summarise, such is the case with us.

Each of our 111 have their own story to tell. And as we reach more students, there’s a growing sense of pride that we’re able to make some sort of positive contribution to these stories, and to the communities in which we operate. These stories reflect our values of inclusion, empowerment and belief, and show that our impact goes beyond the finish line.

 

One person whose story we feel incredibly fortunate to have contributed to is Esmat.

Esmat graduated from Run Beyond in 2018, but this year he returned to the Central Coast Half Marathon because of his desire to contribute to our community. Esmat was 17 when he arrived in Australia from Afghanistan, four years ago. Having had little exposure to English while he was in Afghanistan, as well as quite disrupted education in his own language, he was fighting an uphill battle as he was thrust into the rigours of senior education during his first year in the country.

 

Not one to be overwhelmed by adversity, he embraced the challenge of The Run Beyond Project, and was the first person changed and ready to run each week, and the one asking to run an extra loop of our course at the local park. Despite being the fastest, and the one who could easily outlast all the others, he was also the one to offer quiet, sincere encouragement to the others in the team. Esmat has continued to run, becoming a regular at Rhodes parkrun, the Sydney Harbour 10km, and now Central Coast Half Marathon.

Esmat has graduated high school now, but The Run Beyond Project continues to support him and stay in touch. He has displayed a remarkable determination to help others, including providing encouragement to 2019 students as they worked towards their goal. When he was told that one of our current students, Mohamed, was nervous about today’s half-marathon, he jumped at the chance to pace him – the fact that it is a lengthy drive from Taree where he’s now living and working didn’t perturb him at all.

Esmat, we’re proud to have been a part of your story, and so glad to see you contributing to the stories of others, like Mohamed.

This is just one of our Run Beyond stories. There are 110 more.

And in 2020, we are excited to have a number of new schools ready to join our program. We look forward to our next milestone number, but more importantly to contributing to the stories of our students.

 

 

 

David Criniti

David Criniti

Founder and Director - The Run Beyond Project

David Crinti is a high school ESL teacher at Chester Hill High School and has had previous experience working at their Intensive English Centre and as part of the Refugee Transition Program which focuses on the effective
transitioning of refugee students into the high school environment.

 David is a long standing member of the running having been involved with clubs such as the Sydney Striders, Sydney Marathon Clinic and The Australian Ultra Runners’ Association over the past 20 years. He is an experienced runner, having performed at an elite level over the past decade, with several marathon wins under his belt. Recently, David ran a Commonwealth Games qualifying time and personal best of 2:17:57 at the 2017 Berlin Marathon. He has a community coaching qualification and mentors a number of athletes.