Man sues after breaking skull, neck and spine racing virtual Cathy Freeman

A man who tried to outrun Cathy Freeman and ended up breaking his back is suing one of Australia’s top museums after the bizarre accident.

Athletes often talk about hitting the wall when they push themselves too far.

But Dean Smith took the saying to a whole new level trying to beat a virtual Cathy Freeman.

Dean Smith is suing Science Works, claiming adequate space to stop was not provided. Photo: Supplied

He collided head first into a wall and fractured his skull, neck and spine.

“I thought that would be a bit of fun," Mr Smith said.

“When we approached it you could hear a message saying can you beat Cathy Freeman, and I thought, “Oh yes,” I’m going to give that a go.

“I got to the end and all of a sudden I went to slow down, I couldn’t slow down quick enough.

“As a result of this accident, I am no longer able to work, no longer about to do most activities with my children.

The 10 metre exhibition is one of Science Works’ most popular, even attracting Hollywood prankster Chris Hemsworth.

The exhibit invites visitors to test their speed against a virtual Cathy Freeman. Photo: 7 News

Mr Smith is suing Museums Victoria which runs Science Works.

He claims it failed in its duty of care by not providing adequate lighting and enough room runners to stop safely.