On August 21, 1987, Kurt Peterson was born weighing only 5lb at North Shore Hospital after 41 weeks gestation. The cord was around his neck, and the placenta was breaking down, so he was starved in utero. He was checked by a pediatrician who immediately put him on a glucose drip to give him the sustenance he required. His milestones were delayed, and at 14 months, Kurt was diagnosed with cerebral palsy on the left side of his body.
When Kurt finally learnt to walk and took several tottering steps at 21 months, his family mentioned, “it was one of the most exciting moments of our lives”. Since then, Kurt has never let his disability get in the way of dreaming big. Growing up, a top competitor at school cross-countries, he has continued defying the odds later in life.
Kurt has always been motivated to conquer the “next big thing”. As a result, during lockdown in 2020, he wrote down 42 life goals that he wanted to achieve. Not wanting “to live in regret”, he began the journey of ticking each one off the list. After completing the Auckland Marathon (one of his first goals) in 2020, he was ready for the next challenge.
He joined AUT Millennium gym to continue his training and teamed up with personal trainer Bayley Garnham. “We got on like a house on fire”, Kurt mentioned. After chatting about his goals and ambitions, Bayley put together a programme to help Kurt reach his potential. “With Kurt, what he says he’ll do”, Bailey mentioned – “That’s what inspired me to do it”.
Since coming together with Bayley at AUT Millennium, Kurt has achieved a Half-Ironman and a practice Iron-Man. The pair are now working towards an official Iron-Man event in early December.
A driving factor behind Kurt’s endeavours is to raise awareness for cerebral palsy. He hopes to “showcase the whole of the society” and break some of the stereotypes around what disability is. “There are a lot of people who are a lot worse off than me,” Kurt says. “I’m very lucky that I’m not affected as much, so it gives me more impetus to get out there and achieve many, many things and try bring cerebral palsy into the limelight”.
Check out Kurt’s Givealittle page here to support him in raising funds for the Cerebral Palsy Society. You can also follow Kurt on his journey through his Instagram and Facebook page @adventuretoironman