Robert de Castella MBE is a legend of Australian and world marathon running. One-time World Champion and World Record holder and 1983 Australian of the Year, Robert represented Australia in the marathon in 4 successive Olympics, and was a major inspirational force behind the "running boom" in Australia in the 1980s. More than his results, it was his approach to running – with not just the physical, but his whole heart and soul – that inspired a nation and the world.
Since retiring from competitive running, Robert's life has continued to shine with the twin themes of inspiration and service in multiple diverse fields. He served as Director of the Australian Institute of Sport for 5 years in the 1990s; founded and directs "SmartStart for Kids", promoting a healthy lifestyle to children in schools; established "Deeks", a world-leading chain of grain-free and gluten-free bakery-cafes; and now heads the Indigenous Marathon Project, providing opportunities and pathways for indigenous runners and their communities.
Robert has been a long-time supporter of the Peace Run, being involved since 1989 when he presented the Peace Torch to then Prime Minister, Bob Hawke, and again serves as a National Patron of the Peace Run this year. At the Opening Ceremony of the Run in Canberra, we were delighted to present Robert de Castella with the first Peace Run Torch-Bearer Award for 2013 – for he has shown us all the true service of inspiration; and the true inspiration of service.