We are truly inspired after watching Nathan Johnston conquer the 2018 Great Ocean Road Running Festival.
When Nathan Johnston turned 7 years old he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa and told that he would go blind gradually. Unfortunately the specialists were wrong and he was legally blind by the time he was fifteen. Living in a small town he took part in all sorts of sports including surfing, swimming and bike riding but what he really longed to do was run. In 2006 he was lucky enough to meet up with ex Olympian Albie Thomas who recognised his stubborn streak as a force to be reckoned with and became his mentor. For a couple of years he and the other members of St George running club partnered him through Saturday cross country sessions and Nathans love of running was born.
Nathan wanted his next big goal to be a marathon, and our partner Mizuno suggested he come run the full marathon at the Great Ocean Road Running Festival. Mizuno then gathered a team of brand ambassadors and approached the Achilles Group in Melbourne who regularly organise runs and guides for the sight impaired.
Nathan was lead by an amazing group of people, who walked away with huge smiles, feeling inspired and all said they would love to run with Nathan again because of his infectious energy! The team did their best to describe the breathtaking scenery and really appreciated all of the people on course cheering us along! Nathan said he absolutely loved running so close to the ocean as he could taste the salty air and loved the sea-breeze on his skin. He loved hearing the big waves crashing along the Shipwreck Coast and was also really thankful the weather turned out to be ace!
Nathan accredits a lot of his attitude to the sport to the wise words of Albie Thomas whose best advice was to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving no matter how bad you are feeling at the start you will always feel better at the end.
Nathan admits “It is the combination of the financial support but also my training partners that allow me to stand up and compete with the best in the world. I look up to other athletes but my wish is for people to lift themselves to a level beyond comprehension – if people look at me and say he can do it so can I, then I will be happy.”
Nathan now wants to do nothing more than inspire others and also does motivational speaking!