A local postie was recently on the receiving end of some “negative feedback” when he attempted to remove the swimming cap and googles, t-shirt, bike tyre and running shows from the coalminer statue that sits outside of Helensburgh Post Office.
Over the last 5 years, the statue has become a focal point of the town for locals to celebrate specific events, usually sport, but has also been used in a similar fashion to commemorate the passing of notable residents.
Most recently the statue was given the triathlete treatment to celebrate the huge achievement of Nathan Johnston at the Port Macquarie Ironman Triathlon, held on the 5th May.
The unwitting postie took it upon himself to start removing the items from the statue, seeing it as vandalism… despite others nearby clarifying that this is a local tradition, he persisted, leaving the items at the foot of the statue, only to return the next day and find them reinstated.
Nathan is a visually impaired resident of Helensburgh who has been in multiple endurance events over the years all of which include swimming, biking and running – with 8% sight. In the last 12 months he has combined all disciplines working towards Port Macquarie Ironman Triathlon under the watchful eye of close friend Glenn Gorick and a few mates. The whole team will then celebrate with another 14km run in August being the famous City2Surf.
“We all wore the same uniform for MND (Motor Neuron Disease), trying to raise money for them.” says Nathan, “Glenn Gorick from shire was my guide for the event which included a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride, and a 42km run. I also had a lot of help from Paul Smith, Mel Whiteside and Nathan Shoemark who helped with my training.”
Nathan was also successful in changing the rules of the event, where previously the person assisting him (or any other para-athlete) did not get a finishing number or time.
“We got the rule changed changed for para-guides which is terrific.”
Nathan is held in very high regard throughout the Helensburgh and Stanwell Park community and some influential people due to his inspirational manner in which he goes about his life. This influence is now expanding through southern Sydney and beyond. He has run with Tony Abbott, spoke with 2GB on multiple occasions. This includes raising money for Motor Neurone Disease NSW being an extension to his effort of organising the Burgh2Beach Charity Run for the same cause.
If you would like to help Nathan in his fundraising efforts for MND, please visit; http://www.everydayhero.com.au/nathan_johnston_IM