Danny fell a Furlong short of victory at Stawell

At age 37, Danny Furlong (pictured) suffered a stroke which left him a non-verbal quadriplegic. The event put an end to his athletic career, one that involved competing at the Stawell Gift in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

At age 37, Danny Furlong (pictured) suffered a stroke which left him a non-verbal quadriplegic. The event put an end to his athletic career, one that involved competing at the Stawell Gift in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

DANNY Furlong has had a varied and an unusual life.

A life that involved competing at the Stawell Gift in the late 1960s and early 1970s before circumstances that were out of his control put an end to all of that.

Mr Furlong ran in both the 1600 metre and the 3000 metre distance races at multiple Stawell Gifts.

He never achieved first place success, but for him coming to Stawell wasn't all about the running.

"I live in Castlemaine, which is only a bit bigger than Stawell, so I felt comfortable there - so much so that after my first running attempt there, my wife and I booked into a Stawell Caravan Park a year in advance for the Easter period," he said.

"It became an annual holiday for us, alternating the sports ground on the days of my events with the sites and attractions of Stawell and the district, particularly lakes Fyans and Lonsdale."

Mr Furlong said his best result was a second in the 3,200 metres at one appearance in the early 1970s.

"That last year when I came second was at the end of my best year of professional running, with around half a dozen firsts and seconds," he said.

At age 37 he suffered a stroke which left him a non-verbal quadriplegic. He has been this way for more than 30 years.

Carers come in the morning, noon and night for just an hour at a time to do the basics for him.

Before the stroke Mr Furlong led a standard life that included hobbies like computer programming, time in the army as a commando soldier, parachuting, cliff climbing, mining and professional running.

Mr Furlong's circumstance has allowed him to concentrate on his writing - something he longed to do but never had the time prior to his stroke.

He uses a special computer keyboard that is operated by a head laser attached to his reading glasses.

Mr Furlong has devoted himself to writing many things - novels, film and stage scripts, short stories and poems.

Early this year Mr Furlong decided to start publishing the best of his works including his autobiography, Flipside, and the first instalment of his Drinsighe trilogy Ellydd Gate.

They are available online for purchase at www.dannyfurlong.com

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