Hayley Pymont is set to run in the world's most popular long distance running race - the New York City Marathon - in November.
Hayley, from Oak Flats, is one of 12 Aboriginal and Torres Strait people selected to be part of the 2022 Indigenous Marathon Project (IMP).
"I started training in April, my first major race was a half marathon in Queensland in June," Hayley said.
"In September, I'll run 30ks in Alice Springs and then the marathon in New York, on November 6.
"It's not important where I place ... as long as I finish the race, I'll be happy."
The IMP was set up in 2009, by marathon legend, Robert DeCastella AO MBE.
In 2010, four indigenous Australians, made history by being the first to run in the New York marathon.
As part of the project, Hayley is hosting a community running event in Warilla, on August 13.
She's inviting people to run or walk one or three kilometres for their health.
The event starts at 10am at the Warilla Surf Club, with a Welcome to Country.
"I am a proud Wiradjuri woman from Gundagai, Cootamundra and Narranderra," Hayley said.
"Growing up I struggled with many hardships with no father figure in my life.
"I experienced domestic violence and bullying from a young age. These are a few of the hardships I have faced, but I have come along way to where I was.
"I was first, in my family to finish year 12 which was no easy feat living with mental illness.
"I suffer from PTSD, anxiety and depression."
Despite her struggles, Hayley has already racked up a long list of achievements;
"I played all sports when I was growing up, including cross country and athletics," Hayley said.
"Then I lost my way, due to mental health and events from my past. I've been trying to find who I am again.
"Now, I'm training five days a week and running up to 45ks. What it's done for my mental health in a short amount of time is crazy.
"This opportunity with the Indigenous Marathon Project, is giving me the confidence to grow as an individual and assist in not only bettering my own mental health but those around me.
"I would like to see myself in a career where I am more involved within the community and assisting to create change."
Hayley said despite a rough start, she's grateful for family and community support.
"I'm super proud of my family for continuing to fight and push through all the tough times.
"Everyday for me, is just one step at a time.
She says the only thing stopping her from New York is a COVID lockdown or injury.
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