PARALYMPIAN Kurt Fearnley is set to complete his Kokoda Track crawl early this morning.
Fearnley left on Nov 8 for the 10-day challenge of dragging himself on his hands over 96km of the gruelling Kokoda Track.
The 28-year-old athlete, supported by 15 family members plus his Kokoda Spirit trek team of porters and guides, is expected to arrive at Ower’s Corner early today.
Fearnley has regularly updated a blog with text messages via a satellite phone.
On Monday he wrote: “We just made it to Goldie River. After a big descent, 22 river crossings, a monster climb, another descent and an hour on the flat.”
And on Sunday: “I’m not a big drinker but I would sell my chair for a cold beer. Andy and all the guys at Wests Ashfield be prepared for a visitor (soon).”
Amid mud, pain and searing heat, the group trekked south through the Owen Stanley Range’s unforgiving mountains and dense jungle, which have claimed the lives of four able-bodied walkers this year.
Fearnley, the four-time New York Wheelchair Marathon winner, said on his departure from Kokoda that he had to learn to crawl again.
“When I was 13 or 14 I stopped crawling and got around in the wheelchair,” he said.
“When I first started crawling again my body wasn’t used to it, kind of tore it apart.
“But the last 12 months of crawling … I’ve just got a bit stronger every day and hopefully it’s been enough.”
Trek veteran and Kokoda Spirit team leader Wayne Weatherall has compared Fearnley’s effort to competing in an able-body marathon every day.
“It is one tough gig Kurt’s doing and I’m absolutely amazed at the courage and strength to undertake this.
“It’s an amazing journey,” he said at the outset of the trek.
“It just shows the capacity of mankind, when people think things are impossible, things are possible and this guy is going to show us.” – AAP