Robert De Castella

Robert De Castella

Posted in by Mellita Bingley on Fri 28 Jun 2019.

2009-present Ambassador

Considered to be Australia’s greatest ever marathon runner.

Rob dominated the field through the 1980’s, setting world records, winning the World Championships, the Commonwealth Games marathon twice and is still the fastest Australian over the distance, with a winning time of 2.07:51 in the 1986 Boston marathon. His success led him to being voted World Best Marathoner of the 1980’s decade.

In 1983, he was voted Australian of the Year and honoured with an MBE. In 1986 he was inducted into the Australian Sporting Hall of Fame and in 1990 he was named World Marathon Runner of the Decade by Track and Field News.

In 1995 Robert established his own not for profit company, SmartStart for Kids. SmartStart works through schools to encourage children to be healthy and active. It especially targets escalating obesity, poor nutrition and inactivity and has resulted in large improvements in child fitness and health. The SmartStart longitudinal database of children’s health and fitness statistics has enabled valuable reports to be generated and a range of follow up services for students, parents, schools and government.

He led the Australian Institute of Sport (AIS) through its golden era, building a winning culture leading into the Sydney 2000 Olympic, and in 2003 he showed incredible resilience and leadership after the devastation of the Canberra fires that took four lives and destroyed 400 homes – including his home and all his memorabilia and belonging. In the immediate aftermath of this devastation, he worked on the four person ACT Government Bushfire Recovery Task Force in the healing and rebuilding of Canberra’s spirit and infrastructure, including the design and building of Stromlo Forrest park and the de Castella cross country running track.

In 2005 he co-founded Deeks Health Foods (, a national artisan grain free health food manufacturer and wholesaler, pioneering quality health foods free from grains and gluten and supporting people with compromised health and immune function. 

In 2009 Rob co-founded the Stromlo Running Festival. An event that celebrates the strength, resilience and courage of the Canberra community.

In 2010 he launched the Indigenous Marathon Foundation (IMF), a registered DGR health promotion charity that uses running to celebrate Indigenous health, wellbeing and pride and create inspiration Indigenous leaders. Each year IMF selects twelve Indigenous men and women (18 to 30 years old) most non-runners, and in just six months take them on a transformational journey to run the New York City Marathon.

Stromlo Running Festival proudly supports the Indigenous Marathon Foundation.

Follow: @deek207

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