Nathan Johnston has just turned 30 and is just about to compete in the world Ironman Champs in Hawaii. When he turned 7 years old he was diagnosed with retinitis pigmentosa and told that he would go blind probably 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 a Nathans love of running was born.


Roll forward a few years a couple of Sydney City2Surf events and multiple other events which included Paralympic cycling medals, his transition to Triathlon began with an intro to Cronulla Tri club Captain Glenn Gorrick by a good friend.


In 2013 and 2014 he  competed in Port Macquarie Ironman and in 2015 completing Melbourne Ironman cemented his position as Asia Pacific Ironman PC champion.


 “To qualify for Hawaii and complete the Ironman World Championship is the next level. I am motivated to do my family proud but also those less fortunate. Having extremely low vision is not enough to stop me. Some do it tougher” says Nathan.


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.


“Triathlon has allowed me to complete life goals and to be honest that would not be possible without the help of mates and partners primarily Mizuno but also GU Sport, Coates Hire and Oakley,” 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 people lift themselves to a level beyond comprehension – if people look at me and say if he can do it so can I then I will be happy.”


Very happy.

by Nathan Shoemark