Robert de Castella (or Deek) competed internationally in the marathon, setting world records and winning World Championships, Commonwealth Games and many other international races through the 1980’s.
He was awarded MBE and was Australian of the Year in 1983, and in 2014 awarded an AO. In 1991 his international peers in Track and Field acknowledged him as the World’s Best Marathon Runner of the 1980 decade.
He retired from competitive sport after his fourth Olympics in 1992 and took up the position of Director of the Australian Institute of Sport.
In 1995 he left the AIS to establish his own charity SmartStart for Kids to address escalating child obesity. He is a high-profile national figure campaigning for a greater preventative approach to health care, especially in regard to address children’s obesity and declining health.
In 2003 he showed incredible strength and resilience when he and nearly 400 other Canberrans were made homeless, after losing everything in the Canberra fires. He worked with the ACT Government on the Recovery Task force and has contributed to rebuilding Canberra after the devastation.
In 2006 he pioneered and launched “Deeks Health Foods”, a 100% grain free and gluten free food business (www.deeks.com.au), for everyone who wants to be healthy and fit, and especially for people with compromised immune systems.
In 2010 he launched, The Indigenous Marathon Foundation (www.imf.org.au) a health promotion charity that uses running, and especially the TCS New York City Marathon, to inspire and change the lives and future of Indigenous Australians, create and support Indigenous leaders, and our showcase and celebrate our Indigenous culture.
He is a Board member of the Sport Australia Hall of Fame (SAHOF) chairing the Selection Committee, and is an occasional sports media commentator.
He is still very active and fit, running and training every day and has his Yondan (Fourth degree black belt) in Traditional Okinawan Goju Ryu karate.