On my way to the office this morning, I was cued up waiting with about 75,000 other people at the Adamstown gates in Newcastle (railway crossing), when Kurt Fearnley flew past us on his bike. I had never heard of Kurt until a few years ago when the last Olympics were on, but since that time I have taken great interest in his endeavours. I find him to be a truly inspirational person, who has consistently pushed his boundaries.
For those of you who haven’t heard of Kurt Fearnley before, he is a wheelchair athlete who has competed at the highest levels of his sport for a number of years. His career highlights read like this;
- 38 marathons. 28 wins. Eight additional podium finishes.
- Marathon wins in 10 countries on five continents.
- Three-time Paralympian. Nine medals. Three Gold
- Five-time World Champion
- 2007 and 2009 Laureus World Sports Award Finalist
- Commonwealth Athlete of the Year with a Disability
- 2009 NSW Young Australian of the Year
- Ambassador - Day of Difference Foundation
- Ambassador - International Day of People with a Disability
Perhaps the most inspiring thing that Kurt has done (certainly in my eyes) is his walk of the Kokoda track this year. He did the whole thing on his hands… can you believe that? 96km through mud, searing heat, in dense jungle like conditions, through mountain ranges! Many, many people wouldn’t have the intestinal fortitude to do this on two healthy feet, let alone their hands. He was described as ‘super-human’ for his massive effort to traverse the track. He completed it over 10 days and was said to be psychologically, physically and emotionally exhausted throughout, but kept pushing on until he finished. Think about that… what an amazing effort.
The human body and mind is capable of nearly anything if you truly believe you can do it. We give ourselves all sorts of reasons why we can’t do things. We talk ourselves out of things the moment things get a little uncomfortable, or a bit challenging. Throughout Kurt Fearnley’s life, he has turned his ‘disability’ into an ability that is absolutely awe-inspiring. He has created a mental strength most of us can’t even fathom in our comfort driven lives. Next time you are about to quit when the going get’s a little tough, have a think about how someone like Kurt would handle it. You can either quit, or you can grit your teeth and push through the pain and bask in the glory of your achievement on the other side.. if you fail, at least you can say you gave it your all.
To learn more about Kurt Fearnley, go to his website http://kurtfearnley.com