ALPHARETTA, Ga. — The Ironman Triathlon is widely-touted as one of the most difficult tests of a person’s physical abilities and endurance. But that didn’t stop brothers Kyle, who was born with Cerebral Palsy and is wheelchair-bound, and Brent Pease from becoming the first push-assisted team of brothers to cross the finish line at the Oct. 2018 Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii.
“Ironman is an incredibly challenging day,” Brent said. “The distance alone in a swim, bike, run competition like that is a lot. And it’s a lot like life for a lot of us, but especially for Kyle. Because the day has massive swings of up and down…
“And somewhere in the middle of that, you start thinking to yourself, ‘I can’t do this anymore. This is too difficult.’ The same thing happens in life. How many challenges do you face every day, every week, every month, every year?”
The two ran into obstacles several times leading up to and during the race. It took years for the brothers to get accepted to participate in the championship, because there were rules that people had to race using their own power, Brent said. But once they were allowed to participate, the two never looked back.
“I was committed,” Kyle said. “I was committed to the dream. I was committed to the race.”
The brothers spent over 17 weeks training and finding the right equipment for Kyle to use. They practiced drills in case Kyle fell into the water.
“Kyle is fiercely independent,” Brent said. “It’s really unbelievable how good of a shape Kyle was in, how hard we worked.”
During the championship, the two swam 2.4 miles in the water, biked 112 miles and ran 26.2 miles to complete the triathlon.
The average time athletes take to complete the swim portion is about an hour and 15 minutes, Brent said. Kyle finished it in an hour and seven minutes.
“Kyle isn’t called Kona Kyle for nothing,” Brent said. “He didn’t earn it by sitting there and smiling for the cameras.”
The last part of the triathlon was the hardest for both brothers. They said that they were close to giving up near the end, especially once the skies opened up and started pouring rain.
Kyle said he regained his momentum after he had to explain to a volunteer at a pit stop how to feed him. He said that moment made him remember that he was in a world championship, and he could finish it.
Kyle and Brent finished the 2018 Ironman World Championship in 14 hours and 29 minutes.
“The only person that is stopping you from achieving your goals is you,” Kyle said. “This was to show the world that anything is possible.”
The Pease brothers have completed more than 75 races together since 2011, including four Ironman triathlons.
The two also founded the Kyle Pease Foundation in 2011 to help meet the needs of people with disabilities through sports. The nonprofit provides educational campaigns, scholarship opportunities as well as specialized adaptive sports equipment.
Since the foundation’s inception, it has served about 150 families, Brent said.
Most recently, the brothers have written and released a book about their Ironman journey called “Beyond the Finish.”
For more information and to get involved, visit kylepeasefoundation.org.