Fearnley farewells the green and gold

Kurt Fearnley can never be accused of not having a go.

Having lived a lifetime of beating odds and expectations, he's promised one more enormous effort in his last appearance in an Australian team in Sunday's Commonwealth Games marathon on the Gold Coast.

"That's been a big chunk of my life and Sunday, everything I've got's going into that," he said.

From his introduction to the Australian public as a self described cocky 19-year-old in a demonstration 1500m wheelchair race in front of 100,000 spectators at the Sydney Olympics in 2000, Fearnley has became far more than an athlete.

The captain of Australia's athletics team is also an ambassador and advocate for the disabled, a leader for all, a spokesman for what's right and a universally acknowledged good bloke.

His passionate comments after winning Commonwealth silver in the 1500m at Carrara Stadium on Tuesday night show that even though he's been pivotal in advancing the cause of disabled athletes, he knows there's a long way to go elsewhere.

"Let's talk about it further. The guys who don't have the stage, the guys who don't have the opportunity, let's get them into the workplace more," he said.

"Let's have this conversation on a greater level and let's make sure we can actually do something positive for what's happening right here. Because it's working, it's good. It's just the right thing to do.

"Let's have that same conversation about what's happening here at home, about our education facilities, about our transport, employment. "

He's been as passionate about representing Australia in the 18 years since that night in Sydney got him hooked.

He's won 13 Paralympic medals including three gold, four world titles and a Commonwealth gold as well as 43 victories in 75 marathons across the globe.

He 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".

Although the 37-year-old says there's some slim chance he'll consider the 2020 Tokyo Paralympics, he'll be stretching "that green and gold lycra over some ageing shoulders for what will almost certainly be the last time" at the Commonwealth Games.

And he can't think of a better way to do it than in the first Commonwealth Games marathon and hopefully in front of another 100,000 spectators lining the streets of the Gold Coast.

"Mate, I live and breathe that marathon," he said on Tuesday.

"I've dreamt about that marathon from the moment they put it in there.

"I've loved every minute of racing marathons since the first one I got in when I was 18."

He plans to continue competing in them around the world, starting with London later this month, but Sunday is his last in that green and gold.

"An hour and a half of my heart pounding at about 200 beats a minute to try and conquer the ultimate distance for Australia one last time," he wrote on playersvoice.com.

"It'll be an early start with the wheelchair event start gun firing at 6.10am local time but what better way to spend a Sunday morning, right?

"And I'll have the green and gold on my back."

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