“I’ll be 2 minutes” I yell as I race into Goulburn’s local department store. Shorts. I need shorts. I always forget something, 2015 was thongs, 2016 sunscreen, 2017 hats and in 2018 it’s shorts. Seemed irrelevant when we set off in 12c but after walking 8 hours in a superhero suit….
The cashier smiles nervously at me and I realise I’m still dressed as Captain America, shield, mask and all. In Goulburn. I’ve just walked 110km.
“There’s some guy walking from Canberra dressed as superheroes” she enquires nervously.
“Yeah I’m that guy” I say.
“You’re that guy”?
“Yeah I’m the guy!”
“Wow that’s really…….odd…..I mean cool, I mean weird but ok, like great……” she says.
People have no idea how to react to some random superhero with a huge flag sticking out of his backpack. WTF dude? The fine people of Canberra were quite frankly shocked. No one smiled, no one laughed. Tough start. They recoiled like I had leprosy except for one man.
“Oi superhero” I hear. A moment later a car window washer is upon me with questions and hugs. We chat for a long time as he tells me his daughter’s in hospital and he’s had to move to Canberra to be close to her. He’s doing it tough. He reaches into his pocket and elaborately unfolds this enormous piece of paper which secretly contains $25. He delicately selects $5 which he gives me, telling me to “make sure those kids get their lunch”. I’m speechless, $5 to this man is a lot of money. I’ll never forget his kindness and generosity.
I loved the company on this year’s walk. My father in law walked 22km like it was nothing. I spent a hilarious day with Batman, Thor and Animal Man (yes apparently he’s a real superhero) traversing the back roads to Collector where we shocked the locals at the Bushranger Hotel. Literally shocked, but I guess what did we expect when 4 superheroes walk into a deserted country pub? And Robin joined me for a long day through some strange and eerie countryside.
It always starts the same, the first few hours are full of animated talking and bravado about how good everyone feels. How weirdly enjoyable it is to be walking along in the middle of nowhere as superheroes. Come hour 5-6, it’s very quiet. Few jokes, lots of chafing and “are we there yet?” Then elation, sheer joy when we see our support crew on the horizon!
My endlessly amazing wife (Bec) and daughter (Maeya) who transport everyone around, cook for me and keep us all going are the back bone of the Superhero Walk and I am so thankful they support this crazy thing I do every year. Mind you Maeya has now flat out refused to wear any superhero costumes which I can understand given she’s 8 and truly mortified her dad dresses up as superheroes every year, in public. The shame.
A support crew can’t get far without wheels so my sincere thanks to DriveAway Holidays who as they do every year, provided us with a luxury motorhome. Seriously if you need car hire, go to https://www.driveaway.com.au/ . You honestly won’t get a better deal or kinder service. They are so awesome. And how good were Costume Box who supplied me with this year’s Superhero costumes! I’ve bought a lot of costumes (like a lot) and I can honestly say they’re the best. They deliver the next day and the quality is excellent.
Times are tough in Goulburn. The drought is in full affect so the farmers aren’t spending in town which means the shops are struggling and so on and so forth. It was a real eye opener for this privileged white male from the eastern suburbs of Sydney and I encourage you to take a drive and spend a $ in the regional areas that are struggling.
This year’s result is quite simply astonishing. Together we raised 906 breakfasts and lunches for Goulburn school kids. To put that into context, that’s 43 classrooms across 4 schools who will have meals vital to a child’s success. I am so grateful and humbled by everyone’s support – I can’t thank you enough.
I especially want to thank one man who always supports the Superhero Walk and this year donated a whopping 140 meals. Sean Mooney take a bow sir. A true superhero.
“The funds have allowed us to be able to purchase food items to create 906 lunch packs which will be distributed amongst local schools for students arriving at school without having breakfast and no packed lunch. It’s an amazing feeling knowing that thanks to your work, during term 4 Goulburn kids we will be able to be supported ensuring they have a full belly and the best opportunities to learn. We will also be providing schools with additional resources such as stationary, headphones, craft supplies to help further enrich their learning experiences.” Melina Skidmore, Angels for the Forgotten.
As I pull down the flag and pack away the costumes, there’s a part of me that wants to just keep on walking. Bringing a community together and helping kids doing it tough is such a privilege. Your support in donating, sharing and even reading this means the world to me.
I’ll see you in 2019 where I plan to take on something formidable. Something that scares even me.
But in the words of Superman “there is a superhero in all of us. We just need the courage to put on the cape”.