Expert to help runner on miracle journey to New York


Natalie Merida working with Dr Jim Lee on her quest to complete the New York Marathon

Natalie Merida working with Dr Jim Lee on her quest to complete the New York Marathon

An exercise and sports science expert is helping prepare a Northern Territory amateur runner hoping to be an “everyday hero” in the lead up to the New York Marathon later this year.

Charles Darwin University lecturer Jim Lee who has run a marathon himself is working with Natalie Merida in her quest to complete the gruelling 42km and raise funds for the Miracle Babies Foundation after her experience with premature twins.

“Preparing for a marathon is not like preparing for shorter events – even half marathons do not compare,” Dr Lee said. “It not only takes enormous physical fitness and strength, but physiological preparation is very important.”

Dr Lee’s work focuses on the application and development of wearable technologies within the sporting, workplace and rehabilitation environments. He said he offered to be involved when he heard about Ms Merida’s worthwhile cause.

“Using new technology invented by my colleague and CDU Adjunct Professor Dr Danny James, I hope to accurately prescribe and improve her training program,” Dr Lee said.

“The SABEL Sense device offers nine channels rather than the two or three of most devices so it will enable us to collect more data and monitor her training more effectively, improving performance feedback.”

Ms Merida said she decided to take on the marathon as a personal challenge and to help raise awareness and funds to thank the Miracle Babies Foundation for supporting her family through their experience.

“I am running for family and my miracle twin four-year-olds Rafael and Dante,” she said.

Her boys were born three months premature and required neonatal care at the Royal Darwin Hospital.

“The first couple of years were horrendous and scary,” she said. “The foundation was a huge support to us during the good and bad days.”

Ms Merida recently reached a milestone of 22km after training throughout Darwin’s wet season and will continue working with Dr Lee over the next six months to improve her distance before the event in November.

Dr Lee said that working with Natalie would also provide an opportunity to gather data and test the technology.

“Ultimately it will help all casual or professional athletes and coaches by developing software that will assist in monitoring performance,” he said. “It is especially useful where fatigue has a detrimental effect on their sport.”

The Miracle Babies Foundation is committed to supporting the Australian neonatal community, premature and sick newborns, along with their families, and the hospitals that care for them. For more information visit W:

Contact us

Media and Communications
Casuarina campus
Orange 12.3.20