More than 150 Australian Defence Force and coalition personnel participated in a “Deadly Fun Run” at Australia’s main base in the Middle East last week.

Event organiser Warrant Officer Class One Kelly Hammant said the event was held to recognise the importance of culture and diversity to the ADF.

“All deployed personnel located on base were invited to participate in either a 10km run or 5km walk,” WO1 Hammant said. 

“The run was an opportunity to come together and acknowledge we are all one, and to celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Indigenous Australians.

“Beautifully painted Indigenous boomerangs were also handed to the participants.”

A tree-planting ceremony was also held to mark the event. 

“It brought all cultural backgrounds together to share Australian Indigenous culture,” WO1 Hammant said. 

Corporal Vikrant Deokar ran 10km and said it was an inspiring event.

“It was a unique event, noting the requirements to adhere to social distancing, but that didn’t deter participation to recognise and celebrate the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples,” Corporal Deokar said. 

“Recognising our Indigenous culture is extremely important and being able to celebrate it overseas whilst on deployment through cultural activities like this is pretty special.

“I would encourage everyone to learn the history of the culture of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders to allow the next generation to develop respect and diversity, and an understanding of cultural difference.”

NAIDOC Week in Australia is usually celebrated each year in the first week of July. Because of COVID-19, the National NAIDOC Committee has postponed celebrations to November 8-15. 

The 2020 theme, “Always Was, Always Will Be”, recognises that Indigenous peoples have occupied and cared for the Australian continent for more than 65,000 years.