Hassall Grove’s Jesse Thompson was already an inspiration to the community.
Now, he is the holder of a record that is dear to his heart.
On Monday morning, Mr Thompson clocked a time of two hours, 45 minutes and 48 seconds in the New York Marathon – becoming the first Indigenous Marathon Project athlete to run the world’s biggest race in less than three hours.
“The time is irrelevant,” the modest 24-year-old said at the finish line in Central Park.
“I just want to thank everyone who has got me to this point.
“It’s been a long journey and I think everyone has contributed to get me to the starting line. My mum and dad, all of my family and everyone who has helped me get to where I am today.”
One of six siblings, Mr Thompson missed his sister’s wedding while he chased his dreams in New York.
He led a squad of 12 Indigenous athletes from start to finish, who had completed a gruelling year of training and trials from Sydney to the Northern Territory.
The Sydney University student told the Star before departing for the United States last week that he was running in order to show young people in Mount Druitt that anything is possible.
“Running is the metaphor for everything else that we are doing this for. We want to drive and inspire change in our communities and address the negativity that we all face as young people.”
Indigenous Marathon Foundation director, former world champion runner Rob de Castella said he was humbled by the achievements on the 2016 squad.
“These 12 young Indigenous leaders are following in the footsteps of 53 other Indigenous Marathon Project graduates, who since 2010 have ignited a culture of distance running across Aboriginal Australia,” he said.
“I am so excited to again see a group of amazing Australians pass this massive physical, spiritual and emotional test.”