Australian Paralympic champion Kurt Fearnley has finished second in the Chicago Marathon men’s wheelchair race less than a metre behind winner Ernst Van Dyk.


Fearnley, credited with the same time as the South Africa and third placer American Joshua George, finished in one hour 30 minutes.

Four athletes, including world and course record holder Heinz Frei, were battling it out over the 25km, but Van Dyk and Fearnley broke away over the last 200 metres.

Van Dyk held on for the win by less than a wheel.

Despite missing out on first place, Fearnley was happy with his race

“I put everything I had into it and thought I might just get there but Ernie (Van Dyk) had that little bit extra at the end,” Fearnley said.

“I put in an extra burst up the hill with a few hundred to go to try and drop the big fella but he held on.

“Ernie is a hell of a competitor and there’s no shame in losing to him, it was a great race and a great sprint from him.”

Fearnley, Frei, Van Dyk and George broke from the main pack around the half way mark and built a lead of almost two minutes on the chasers.

As is often the case in the elite wheelchair marathon races, it came down to a sprint finish following the final bend.

“The wind made things tricky out there but we managed to build a bit of a break and hold on,” Fearnley said.

“When it comes down to the sprint anything can happen. I’ve won by less than a wheel before and lost a few times too. Unfortunately today, it was my wheel that crossed second”.

Fearnley’s attention now turns to the New York Marathon on November 3, a race he has won four times, but not since 2009.