Kurt Fearnley wins Games marathon gold
For an hour and a half, Kurt Fearnley was thinking past the pain. It was his last time representing Australia and he was going to finish his career with the same fight he's had for the past 18 years.
Crossing the line into his family's arms after a commanding win in the Commonwealth Games wheelchair marathon was the only way he wanted to go out.
"Mate, it doesn't get better than that, not at all," he said.
The 37-year-old has won more than 40 of the 75 or so marathons he's raced and will continue to race around the world, but the thought of representing Australia for the last time drove him from Southport to Burleigh Heads and back early Sunday morning.
"I was thinking about that the entire hour and a half. I kept on saying to myself 'just fight, just fight, just fight'," he said.
"I averaged 194 heart rate, when I saw it sitting that high I thought 'this is one last crack'. I'm going to race 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 when you've got that green and gold on, mate, you've got to be fierce and you've just got to deal with whatever it is you've got to deal with. You just put in and you just fight.
"I was thinking that for the whole time."
Australia's athletics team captain took the lead after five kilometres and stretched it the further the race went, winning in one hour 30 minutes 25 seconds, more than a minute ahead of England's John Smith who pipped compatriot Simon Lawson for silver.
With 10km to go, he says he started to waver and cramp in his arms but, although he was unsure how far he was in front, he knew he had an advantage over his rivals.
"When I was climbing up that last hill, I got to about 211 (heart rate). If I'm going 211, I'd hate to think what the guy behind bringing me back is going to have to sit on," he said.
"I know I'll fight harder than anyone else on these sort of days."
But he was still unable to feel comfortable until 700 metres to go when "someone yelled 'relax, you've got this'. That was just a moment of relief."
Then came the emotion.
He gave himself the luxury of a first glance behind with about 50 metres to go, gave a very weary fist pump, was embraced by wife Sheridan and son Harry, and his days of representing Australia were over.
"You see the emotion on all your family's face, sharing that with people it's just full on, mate," he said.
"The thought that you can be a part of people feeling so much joy, it's just overwhelming."
After three paralympic gold medals, five world titles and now two Commonwealth Games golds, he plans to continue being a part of the para athletes' community.