Fearnley’s lesson: ‘Err on the side of kindness’
RETIRING gold medal wheelchair marathon champion Kurt Fearnley's emotional post-race interview has become one of the moments of the 2018 Commonwealth Games.
Fearnley, who scorched the field to claim gold by more than a minute on the streets of the Gold Coast this morning, fought back tears as he interrupted his interview to share the moment with son Harry and wife Sheridan.
FINAL DAY: ALL THE ACTION AS THE GAMES COMES TO A CLOSE
BASKETBALL TURMOIL: CAMBAGE EJECTED, BUT OPALS WIN GOLD
"All you can do is really try to give back a little and that was an hour and 30 of giving back," Fearnley said on Seven.
"That hurt mate, I've got nothing else.
"I checked the heart rate, I had an average of 194, including a minute before the start so I was working hard mate - and I can see my little man and Sheridan just coming over, so do you mind if I just go give them a quick hug mate?"
There would not have been a dry eye in households across Australia as he embraced his son and
Sheridan cried after the "fairytale finish".
Fearnley, who has retired from international competition after the race, answered questions but also appeared to be instilling the importance of representing Australia to his young son, who sat in his lap.
"This is everything, this is done - eight years ago I sat down and said this was my last race and never wavered ... when you're in these colours you've got to be fierce and today I had as close to fierce as I'll ever get," he said as he looked at Harry.
In fact, after he spoke about using the Commonwealth Games and sport as a way to promote inclusion for people with disabilities earlier in the week, Fearnley had another lesson for athletes with designs on representing Australia.
"I've got a lot of feedback from people with what I said the other day," he said.
"If I can say anything to the next people wearing the green and gold, young kids coming up, when you get on the microphone, when you speak, err on the side of kindness.
"And, If you can get here, bring the family with you, bring people with you, because it just makes it so much worthwhile."
Fearnley lead from start to finish to win comfortably in one hour 30 minutes 25 seconds, crossing the line at Southport 78 seconds ahead of England's John Smith who pipped compatriot Simon Lawson for silver.
He said two words kept going through his mind as he realised it would be the least time he'd wear Aussie colours in a race.
"I thought about that for the hour and a half and I just kept on saying to myself, 'Just fight. Just fight. Just fight'," he said.
"I'm going to be doing marathons until they bury me in a gutter but I'm not going to be able to find that sort of stuff, that sort of stuff is when you have got that green and gold on mate.
"You've got to deal with whatever you have to deal with, you just put it on and you just fight and I was thinking that for the whole time."
It was double gold for Australia with Madison de Rozario winning her second gold medal of the Games in the women's wheelchair marathon.
De Rozario took the victory after breaking away with seven kilometres remaining to win in 1 hour 44 minutes from teammate Eliza Ault-Connell who took the silver 13 seconds behind.
Fearnley, 37, took over early in the race which started at 6.10am and was never threatened to win in 1hr30:25sec.
"I knew I needed, for my old man's sake, I think I needed to get a bit of a buffer on second place," he said.
"With 10km to go I started to waiver a little bit, started cramping through the old arms but somebody told me with about 700 metres to go when I was cresting the hill, someone yelled, 'You've got this, you've got this'.
"That was just a moment of relief, I don't think I looked behind until I was about 50 metres to go. And that's as good as it gets, that is."
Fearnley's amazing journey started as a 19-year-old in a demonstration 1500m wheelchair race infront of 100,000 spectators at the Sydney Olympics in 2000.
He has gone on to win 13 Paralympic medals including three gold, four titles and now two Commonwealth gold medals as well as 43 victories in 75 marathons across the globe.
He's also sailed and won the Sydney to Hobart and crawled the Kokoda Track, which he described as the "hardest, the best, the most incredible, the most brutal, the most emotional thing I've ever done".
Away from sport he's also become an ambassador and advocate for the disabled.
That will continue and he will also run more marathons but the focus is going to be on on his young family.
"I'm going to enjoy just not burying myself," Fearnley said.
"Enjoying not feeling just absolutely exhausted when Harry wakes up in the morning.
"I'm going to enjoy just not digging that extra little bit which I believe you have to if when you are going to race in the green and gold."