Bonville's big challenge

PARALYMPIC gold medallist Kurt Fearnley has never been one to shy away from a challenge and he says he’s up for the next one.

Bonville Golf Resort director Peter Montgomery suggested that as a lead up to the next Legends Lunch at the picturesque resort, Fearnley should race his wheelchair around the course against ironman Ky Hurst.

Fearnley admitted that he suspected a quick kill and suggested Hurst be given a 10 to 15 minute head start to make things interesting.

Then the wheelchair marathon champ had a look at the course and very quickly realised he’s in for a challenging day when the race does go ahead.

“After seeing the course Ky is going to need to give me a 10 or 15 minute head start,” Fearnley said.

“This is an incredible course and bloody hard.”

He’s up for the gig though. Now it’s just a matter of working out the details.

“We’re going to set down a race, figure out a handicap and see who comes out best,” he said.

“I’ll have a yarn with him (Hurst) and it’s just a matter of finding out when.

“I think he ran the course in 38 minutes.”

The thing that took Fearnley most by surprise was the size of the hills at Bonville.

So overcome with Bonville’s climbing difficulty, the 29 year-old believes he may have found a perfect training base to help him prepare for the 2012 London Paralympic Games where he will be chasing a third straight gold medal in the marathon.

“I grew up around Bathurst and then I went back to Bathurst when I was at uni and I trained at Mount Panorama once a month.

“I’d say, ‘Righto, I’m going to smash it up Mount Panorama’ as it told me where I was at with my training.

“This (Bonville) makes Mount Panorama look like a driveway. This is hard.”

Surely Fearnley was just talking up the difficulty for dramatic effect. After all, here is a man who battles the mental demons as he races through a marathon in less than 100 minutes and showed courage beyond the realm of

human endurance for 11 days as he crawled along the Kokoda track.

Fearnley, though, said wheeling around Bonville was as tough as it can get. He added that two aspects of his first look at the course stood out for him.

The first was how fatigued he was when he was finished.

The second was something completely unexpected.

“When I was about on the sixth hole, I was pushing along and I hear this massive growling and screaming,” he recalled.

“It was a big koala on the ground about five metres from me screaming as I went by.”

A small piece of nature’s serenity that can be appreciated now but it won’t be when race day comes about.

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