|Rob is Australia’s greatest ever marathon runner and is the Founder and Director of SmartStart for Kids! After being Director of the AIS for five years in the early 90’s and helping to set up some of the sports systems still in place in Australia for elite athletes, Rob decided it was time something was done to help children who were most at risk of sedentary lifestyle related illness and in 1998 he set up the SmartStart for Kids Program.
“I like to compare the patterns of children’s health and wellbeing in Australia to a growing tear drop. If you imagine the top, pointy end of the tear drop to be the elite level – this never really changes – the fittest kids in 2012 are just as fit and athletic as the same age group of kids 10 years ago. The bottom of the tear drop though, the kids who are unfit, have poor motor skills and have weight problems, is getting bigger and bigger year upon year. These are the kids who are going to struggle later in life with issues such as diabetes, heart disease, bone disease and even some cancers and these are the kids that my program is aimed at helping.”
As well as his world famous marathon achievements, including world record holder and Commonwealth Games Champion, Rob has been awarded an MBE and was honoured with the Australian of the Year Award.
Rob is still a fitness fanatic and enjoys running but has shifted his focus to karate, in which he is a black belt, and weight/strength training.