AFTER a “superhuman” effort to crawl Papua New Guinea’s Kokoda Track, Paralympian Kurt Fearnley’s only plans are to crawl to the hotel mini bar and lie on his favourite beach.
Fearnley, 28, finished his 10-day trek just a little after 9am yesterday with emotional and weary celebrations at Owers’ Corner, at the southern end of the 96km track.
Just a week after winning his fourth consecutive New York wheelchair marathon, Fearnley dragged himself by his hands along the arduous track, with the support from 15 family members plus his team of porters and guides.
In searing heat, mud and pain, the group tracked south through the Owen Stanley Range’s unforgiving mountains and dense jungle that already this year has claimed the lives of four able-bodied walkers.
“There were a few moments when I thought ‘what am I doing?’
“The last three days I’ve been passed out in a tent (at night), I wake up at 5am and start crawling until I drop again,” Fearnley said at Owers’ Corner.
“The body needs to heal, I’ve got blisters and cuts … everything aches, so I’ll take a few weeks to make sure those aches subside.
“I just want to lie down at Bar Beach in Newcastle (NSW) and I’m going to take a few days to enjoy the beach.
“It’s just a relief, nice to know, tomorrow, I don’t have to beat myself up and be exhausted in a tent somewhere.
“The only thing I have to crawl to now is the (hotel) mini bar.”
Fearnley was surprised by the appearance of his mother and father Jacqueline and Glenn, who had travelled from their home of Carcoar in central NSW, to share a few tears, beers and glasses of champagne with their youngest son.
“It’s been a very big day and we’re glad it’s over,” his mother said.
Brother Jayson, who was part of the trek, said he was a little worried about Kurt in the early stages.
“I’ve seen him do marathons, I’ve seen him come home in New York (marathons) but I’ve never seen him like this.
“He was a mess. We all grabbed him and said tomorrow’s another day and he came good, it was incredible.
“The next day I saw him and thought ‘he’s tougher than I thought he was’.” –AAP