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Lumbar sacral agenesis (missing the lower portion of his spine)
Date of Birth
First Competed for Australia
Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012
Andrew Dawes (coach)
Winning gold in the Athens and Beijing marathons
Crawling the 96km Kokoda Trail in November, 2009
As a multiple Paralympic medallist on both the track and road, and a double Paralympic and World Champion in the wheelchair marathon, Kurt Fearnley knows how to shine on his sport’s biggest stage.
With more than a decade of experience, Kurt’s wheelchair racing career is as impressive as it is extensive. With 31 international marathon victories to his name, he has won the Sydney Marathon six times, the New York Marathon three times consecutively and has posted victories in Paris, London, Seoul and Chicago, including 10 wins in 2007. He has also won three gold, six silver and two bronze medals across four Paralympic Games.
Born without the lower portion of his spine, Kurt took up wheelchair racing when he was 14 and as the youngest of five children from the small New South Wales town of Carcoar, sport was always a big part of his family’s life. Kurt’s indomitable spirit saw him go from pushing his everyday wheelchair as fast as he could down the grass track at school athletics carnivals to pushing his chair the last five kilometres of the marathon at the 2004 Athens Paralympics on a flat tyre to claim his gold medal.
In 2008, Kurt did not have the Paralympic campaign he had dreamt of, winning silver in the 800m and 5000m and bronze in the 1500m after a spate of misfortune, before he defended his title and pushed to gold in the marathon. Barely two months later, he won the Chicago and New York Marathons, making him the only person to win the race three times.
In 2009, Kurt captivated the Australian public when he successfully crawled the 96km Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea. Then in 2011 he was a celebrity crew member on the winning yacht Investec Loyal in the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race.
In London, Kurt went head to head with Great Britain’s David Weir. In one of the biggest and best rivalries in Paralympic sport, Weir had the whole of the host country behind him and was unstoppable. Kurt won silver in the 5000m, and bronze in the marathon. His attempt at winning three consecutive Paralympic marathons was always going to be tough and looked as if it was going to come true until the final metres of the race where Weir and Swiss Marcel Hug beat him by 0.01 of a second.
In 2013, Kurt won his ninth consecutive Oz Day 10km race and was awarded the honour of delivering the 2013 Australia Day Address. He has also recently returned to the top of the marathon podium, winning the 2013 London Marathon.
Sport & Disciplines