BEFORE Kurt Fearnley lined up for his final race in Australian colours, he promised he would give everything to win gold in the Commonwealth Games men’s T54 marathon.
On Sunday morning the Carcoar wheelchair racing champion delivered on that promise at Southport Broadwater Parkland.
In a commanding performance, Fearnley stopped the clock after one hour, 30 minutes and 26 seconds to claim gold.
He finished 1:18 ahead of runner-up John Smith and third placed Simon Lawson.
It was a Games record push, but for Fearnley it was the result rather than the time which mattered most.
That and having his family present to watch him. Moments after he finished embraced his wife Sheridan and son Harry.
“How is that? How do you get to share something like this with the people that mean the most to you in the world,” he said.
Fearnley was the first man through every 5km split on the course, willing himself on the whole way to win gold in the inaugural Games men’s T54 marathon.
“I was thinking that the whole way around, I said ‘No-one deserves nothing, you’ve got to get out there and work for it’,” he said.
“I’ve received so much from the organising committee, from everyone from the grassroots up, everyone from Carcoar to Newcastle, the streets of the Gold Coast here.
“All you can do is try to give back a little and that was an hour and 30 of giving back.
“That hurt, I’ve got nothing. I just checked the heart rate and I had an average of 194, including the minute before the start, so I was working hard.
“When you’re in these colours you’ve got to be fierce and today I had as close to fierce as I will ever get.”
When the starter’s gun fired it was Fearnley who pushed to the lead and when the first attack came six minutes later, he was there.
Fearnley and the man who beat him in the battle for gold in the 1,500 metres earlier in the week – Alexandre Dupont – went off the front.
However, at the first hairpin turn Dupont clipped Fearnley’s wheel and crashed. It left the 37-year-old Australian alone in front.
He reached the 10km mark after 19:56 and at that stage he held a 17 seconds lead over the chasing pack of Lawson, Smith and Tristan Smyth.
By the time Fearnley reached the halfway point after 42:59, his advantage stood at 70 seconds. It continued to grow.
It was a most fitting farewell.
“This is everything, this is done,” Fearnley said. “Eight years ago I sat down and said this is my last race and I never wavered from knowing it was my last race.”