Kurt's Ironman Journey - Man of speed

By William Sangster

Kurt Peterson is a self-proclaimed adrenaline addict. He lives life to the fullest and there’s no way he’s going to let Cerebral Palsy get in the way of big dreams.

Kurt Peterson is a self-proclaimed adrenaline addict. He lives life to the fullest and
there’s no way he’s going to let Cerebral Palsy get in the way of big dreams.

Kurt was born on August 21st 1987. He weighed just 5lbs. The umbilical cord was
wrapped around his neck and the placenta was breaking down. Kurt had been
starved in the Utero. Life’s milestones were delayed. He didn’t take his first steps
until he was 21 months old.

As a child, he struggled with coordination. He had weak muscle tone down the left
side of his body and had to endure many corrective surgeries. But that didn’t stop
him from playing sports.

“While I enjoyed soccer and sometimes had 2 x casts on while playing goalie
for East Coast Bays. Man that was fun”.

I count myself lucky to be called a friend. He inspires me with his amazing
achievements. Kurt has never let his disability define who he is. He gives everything
100%. Always has! Always will!

Kurt’s passion for speed began under the watchful eye of his dad. At the tender age
of 6, he hit the racetrack and began racing quad bikes. It gave him freedom and
showcased his skills.

“I became rather fond of racing cars at a young age. At the age of 6 I had a
50cc quad to hoon around on. At the age of 7 my father bought me a go-cart
and my world of possibilities opened up. I was off!”

With the support of his family, he won the Auckland Kart Club Championship. This
soon turned to Formula Ford which took him across Australia and New Zealand
racing alongside household names in Motorsports.

As a young kid, Kurt faced numerous barriers along the way. At school, kids saw him
as different. He was constantly hassled for the way he walked.

“At school people used to see me as different and I was constantly hassled for
the way I walked, and because I was generally slower than other kids mentally.
It was tough growing up. However, I think this sort of stereotype is slowly
improving nowadays”

Yes, his journey hasn’t been easy, but that hasn’t stopped him from taking life’s
challenges in his stride. During the covid lockdown – like all of us – Kurt had time to
reflect and review his life goals going forward.

“A life goal means you're working towards a purpose, something to make your
own mark on the world, regardless of how small or large. So during lockdown,
I wrote down 42 life goals and started ticking them off like a bucket list. I’m 34
years old. So it's now or never. Do it or regret it.”

Now the Man of Speed is training to compete in Taupo's Ironman in December, New
Zealand’s toughest endurance event, to spread awareness and break the
stereotypes about disabilities.

He agrees that having a good support system is important and credits his family and
friends, good friend Pete, who inspired the idea initially, and especially his girlfriend.

With everything I have done to date I have needed a tight support group of
friends and family to help along the way, to pick you up when you are low and
celebrate the wins along the way”

At the end of his Ironman Event, Kurt believes that other young people with
disabilities can see what he is doing and see it as a possibility.

“I would say different is good. We are all unique and we have all got different goals, but get out there. When you’re writing the story of your life - you decide how it’s going to end. Life is short. We have no idea how long we are gonna be
here, so hit the gas pedal and write the best damn story you can”.

We all could learn something from Kurt’s journey and perspective on living life to the
fullest. Life with Cerebral Palsy can be a challenge, but don’t let it stop you from
reaching your potential.

Kurt is inspiring and a true champion. I learned that it is important to keep striving for
goals and setting that bar for yourself to reach. Kurt’s journey so far has been
encouraging, a real Man of Speed.
I’ll leave the last word to Kurt.

“Anything is possible if you are willing to work hard for your dream. You owe it
to yourself to give it everything; otherwise you will always wonder, what if. A
disability is not a barrier but an opportunity to have a different approach”