How Australian Ninja Warrior contestant Jack turned his lifestyle around

‘Running saved my life.’
Jack Wilson Australian Ninja Warrior

An early morning alarm to indicate it’s time to go for a run isn’t a highlight for many people.

But for Mt Isa local and Australian Ninja Warrior contestant Jack Wilson, having the structure of running sent him on a path that was far away from a life of drug and alcohol addiction.

At just 21, Jack tells TV WEEK that he was caught up in a world of excess.

“I was in my peak partying days, at 21, I was partying every weekend,” he says.

But a tap on the shoulder from his dad to look into joining the Indigenous Marathon Project lead Jack to starting a new part of his life.

“I’d always loved running and I saw this as an opportunity to be a role model within the indigenous community,” Jack says. “It’s made me the man I am today.”

Training for a 42 kilometre race in New York meant his life had to change, which was extremely hard at first.

“I had to go cold turkey,” Jack admits.

“I really had to change my lifestyle around from partying a lot to really putting all my time into running and it built up my mental strength like no other.

“You’ve got your addictions as well, like drug addiction and alcohol addiction so you know, it takes time to stop something that you’ve been doing for so long.”

He looked to running champion Rob De Castella who heads up the program to give him the guidance he needed.

“He made me believe in myself,” Jack says.

As well as Rob, Jack looked to older cousin and former NRL player Scotty Prince when it came to mentors within the indigenous community.

“Scotty was one of my main inspirations and so were my older brothers,” he admits.

And now, at 23, thanks to his efforts on Australian Ninja Warrior, Jack is hoping he can be inspiration for other indigenous people.

“I want to be a mentor for kids in schools, for both indigenous and non-indigenous kid

And does that mean they should also train in a pair of budgie smugglers like Jack?

“It’s a free range of movement,” he laughs.

“Hopefully I get a life- long supply of them for wearing them on the show!”

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