Australia’s tough guy Kurt Fearnley – the reigning Paralympic wheelchair marathon champion - was undefeated over the distance in 2009 with victories in Chicago, London, Paris, Seoul and Sydney. It was the third year in a row Kurt had won the Paris and Seoul marathons, though it was his victory in London which was the most satisfying after he had finished second in 2007 and 2008. On September 20, he slashed more than seven minutes off his own race record on his way to victory in the Sydney Marathon, beating his nearest rival by almost 15 minutes.
Just as impressive as his performances in winning those marathons, was the super-human effort he produced in November to crawl the 96km long Kokoda Trail in Papua New Guinea to raise money and awareness for men’s health issues. Using special pads on his hands in searing heat, mud and pain for ten days he crawled through the Owen Stanley Range's unforgiving mountains and dense jungle that had claimed the lives of four able-bodied walkers in 2009. It had taken him 18 months to prepare for his Kokoda challenge.
Born without the lower portion of his spine which means he is unable to use his legs, Kurt took up wheelchair racing when he was 14 and over the years he has shown himself to be a ferocious and determined competitor.