For the approximately 3,000 athletes racing at Ironman Wisconsin on Sept. 8, triathlon is a solitary sport, competing against themselves and fellow racers. However, for Kyle and Brent Pease, the race is what you would call a family affair.
As a pair, Brent, age 30, and Kyle, age 28, have had great success competing in 10Ks, marathons and 70.3’s, but they aren’t the ordinary racing duo. Kyle was born with cerebral palsy, relegating him to a wheel chair, and the two compete together as one unit. In Madison, Brent will pull Kyle in a kayak for the 2.4-mile swim in Lake Monona, bike the hilly 112-mile course known for its tough climbs with a seat designed specifically for Kyle and push him in a wheelchair for the run course.
“We did do two 70.3 races but the goal was always Ironman,” said Brent. “This started for us when Kyle watched my first Ironman. We just needed to see that there was genuine interest and that it was fun for both of us.”
Brent is the events coordinator for All3sports, one of the largest triathlon stores in the industry, who has competed his whole life and finished his first Ironman in 2010, with Kyle cheering him on from the sidelines. This weekend Kyle will go from Ironman spectator to hopeful Ironman finisher.
To prepare for their first Ironman race together, Brent said that the volume of training resembles a normal Ironman regiment, plus working out with a few extra pounds. About 60 to 70 percent of Brent’s training is spent solo and the remainder is with his brother Kyle.
Kyle additionally works solo with his trainer, Matthew Rose, who encourages him to visualize the finishing shoot lined with 45,000 screaming fans. Kyle has been prepping especially for the bike leg, preparing to sit on the bike for nearly nine hours. Kyle is also dedicating time to practicing proper nutrition and liquid intake, which is difficult for him as he does not particularly enjoy drinking water. As is the case for all Ironman athletes in the field in Wisconsin, hydration will be crucial.
While Brent agrees the bike portion presents the biggest challenge, it’s also a highlight of the triathlon race.
“The bike is one long conversation amongst friends. It’s a great time and we really look forward to it,” said Brent.
So for Kyle, why Ironman?
“Why not? It’s always been a big goal of mine. My life is an Ironman, I work four jobs…I’m ready for it,” said Kyle.
The goal for the brothers is to finish within the 17-hour cutoff time, forever etching the word “Ironman” next to their names.
Where will they put their medals? Brent keeps his special medals on a bookshelf in his bedroom, but envisions his Ironman medal next to a framed photo of himself and his brother/teammate Kyle.
“I’m going to definitely put in on the wall with my other medals, but I’ll probably wear it awhile on my neck and I will have a smile on my face for awhile,” said Kyle.
After Ironman Wisconsin, the Peases will compete in the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington D.C. and are taking two families to race with them, then taking on a 5K in November.
“And then, who knows? The sky is the limit, right? Although I think there are a few islands we wouldn’t mind trying to race on together,” said Brent.
Despite personal goals and expectations, this weekend’s race, or any of the brothers’ races for that matter, isn’t about the glory or the milestones. The Peases race for the Kyle Pease Foundation, a campaign to create awareness and raise funds to promote success for persons with disabilities. This can take the form of scholarship opportunities, purchasing of medical equipment, and often through sports.
Incorporated in June 2011, the foundation has already helped 40 kids and includes the campaign “Walking with KPeasey.”
Kyle hopes that at Ironman Wisconsin they can spread the message of inspiration and endless possibilities on a larger stage than ever before, in front of those 45,000 screaming spectators and fans that Kyle envisions awaiting them at the finish line.
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