Australian wheelchair racer Kurt Fearnley has won his fifth New York marathon in a nail-biting finish, describing it as one of the toughest races of his life.
The 33-year-old champion athlete entered the final kilometre of the race with six other riders, but broke free in the last 100 metres to beat South African runner-up Ernst van Dyk by just one second.
The NSW-born athlete has won various gold medals for Australia at the paralympic games, and famously walked the Kokoda Trail on his hands.
Fearnley has won the wheelchair category of the 37-kilometre New York marathon every year since 2009, but said the feeling of winning the iconic marathon was still ‘indescribable’.
Strong winds nearly caused the cancellation of this year’s race, with athletes competing over a shortened course for safety reasons.
“The wind blows you around so much and cross winds can be particularly dangerous,” said Fearnley, who became a father for the first time in March.
“The weather is one of those things that’s completely out of your control so you just deal with what gets thrown at you on the day.”
“Today the marathon gods made us work extra hard which makes the win that little bit sweeter,” he said after finishing the race in a time of 1 hour 30 minutes.
– with AAP