Quick Facts

Disability
Physical Impairment – Lumbar sacral agenesis (missing lower part of spine)
Sport
Athletics
How acquired
Congenital
Date of Birth
March 23, 1981
Home
Newcastle, NSW
Occupation
Athlete
Started Competing
1995
First Competed for Australia
2000
Games Experience

Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012, Rio 2016

Heroes

His coach, Andrew Dawes

Career Highlights

Winning gold in the marathon at the 2004 and 2008 Paralympic Games in Athens and Beijing

Bio

With over a decade of experience, Kurt Fearnley’s wheelchair racing career is as impressive as it is extensive. He has won the Sydney Marathon 11 times, the New York Marathon five times, and posted victories in Paris, London, Seoul and Chicago. He has also won three gold, seven silver and three bronze medals across five Paralympic Games.

Born without the lower portion of his spine, Kurt took up wheelchair racing when he was 14-years-old. His indomitable spirit saw him go from pushing his wheelchair as fast as he could down the grass track at school athletics carnivals to pushing it the last five kilometres of the 2004 Paralympic marathon on a flat tyre to claim gold.

Unfortunately, Kurt’s 2008 Paralympic campaign was not the one he had dreamt of, winning silver in the 800m and 5000m and bronze in the 1500m, before defending his title and pushing to gold in the marathon. However, just two months later he won the New York marathon, becoming the first and only person to date in his division to win the race three times.

Kurt captivated the Australian public in 2009 when he successfully crawled the 96km Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea, and in 2011 he was chosen as a celebrity crew member on the winning yacht in the Sydney–Hobart Yacht Race.

In what has become one of the greatest rivalries in Paralympic sport, Kurt went head-to-head with Great Britain’s David Weir at the 2012 London Games. With the whole of the host country behind him, Weir was unstoppable, leaving Kurt with silver in the 5000m and bronze in the marathon. Painfully, just 0.01 of a second stood between Kurt and fulfilling his dream of winning three consecutive Paralympic marathons.

In 2013, Kurt won his ninth consecutive Oz Day 10km and was awarded the honour of delivering the Australia Day Address. Off the back of a successful 2013 came two major victories in 2014. Fighting a virus in the days before the Glasgow Commonwealth Games, Kurt crossed for silver in the 1500m, and in November he won his fifth New York Marathon.

Kurt was selected as co-captain of the 2016 Australian Paralympic Team, representing his country proudly in the 1500, 5000m, and marathon. During these Games, he was also elected to the International Paralympic Committee Athletes’ Council.

His pre-competition routine is to drink a double espresso and litre of sports drink, and to eat a banana.

Sports & Disciplines

  • Sport: Athletics Disciplines: 1500m Classification: T54
  • Sport: Athletics Disciplines: 5000m Classification: T54
  • Sport: Athletics Disciplines: Marathon Classification: T54
  • Sport: Athletics Disciplines: 4x400m relay Classification: T54