Waryk Holmes, known by his nickname Rooster, has looked up to Kurt Fearnley from a young age, with the Carcoar-native sending him messages of support and good luck since Holmes has taken up wheelchair racing.
This weekend Holmes is hoping to emulate him when he competes at the Oz Day 10km Wheelchair Road Race.
The 14-year-old Orange Christian School student, who was born with a form of cerebral palsy called spastic diplegia, will now compete in the T34 classification of the Oz Day 10km this Sunday, an event his idol has previously won 11 times in 13 years between 2005 and 2017.
However, his training has been disrupted by weather but that doesn't mean he won't give it his all at The Rocks-based event.
"I haven't been able to train because of all the smoke in the air from the bushfires," he said.
"It's hard because I had big plans but I had a friend from Queensland send down some rollers, which I've had since Friday [January 17].
These rollers Holmes speaks of allow him to practice on his special wheelchair-racing bike in a stationary position, much like a bike at the gym.
That means he's been able to train in the back room of his house and doesn't have to go out in the smoke and dust.
However, when the skies have been clearer, he's been busy practicing on the track down at the Bathurst Sportsground.
This coming Sunday, there will a total of 34 athletes competing in the Oz Day 10km, featuring the biggest group of juniors ever in the race's history.
Holmes said he knows all the junior males and there's one athlete he'll be up against in the T34 classification that he knows will be one of the favourites to win - Rheed McCracken.
McCraken is a Paralympic star who has won silver and bronze at both the 2012 London and 2016 Rio de Janeiro games.
It's been an incredible journey for Holmes so far, after competing in his first competitive race back in May, 2019, at the Sydney Half Marathon Wheelchair Sprint. He finished in fifth place overall and fourth in the boys.
He then picked up three silver medals at the ACPE NSW All Schools Track and Field Championships, which helped pave the way for qualification to the Australian All Schools Championships in Perth last December.
Behind the athlete, Holmes explained that he gets his nickname of Rooster from both his red hair and love of breeding chickens.'
His favourite rooster is a Rhode Island Red x Sussex called Dusty, which is around 20 years of age.
"I got it from my great grandparents," he said.
"They had a sheep farm but they also had 600 chooks and I got him just before they sold their farm."
He's also a kid with a big heart, who's looking to raise $10,000 on GoFundMe to help children who have lost everything in the devastating bushfires.
He's already managed to raise $1250 for his fundraiser titled, '10,000 metres for Bushfire Kids', with money to be used to buy school supplies such as pens and pencils, as well as lunchboxes and drink bottles.
To make a donation, visit the GoFundMe website at www.gofundme.com.
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