When Kyle Pease told his brother Brent that he wanted to race in a triathlon just like him, the pair took their first step on an inspiring journey. Kyle was born with cerebral palsy, but that hasn’t stopped him from racing—in fact, the duo will be taking on their first full length Ironman on September 8 at the Ironman 140.6 Triathlon in Madison, WI. With Brent pushing, pulling and pedaling Kyle from start to finish, the two continue to take on races, as well as to run the Kyle Pease Foundation, which aims to “create awareness and raise funds to promote success for persons with disabilities by providing assistance to meet their individual needs through sports.” LAVA Magazine spoke with the two brothers about their successes, their inspirations, and their upcoming race.
LAVA Magazine: Brent, when Kyle told you that he wanted to race in a triathlon, what was your response?
Brent Pease: The immediate reaction was, ‘Yes, let’s do it.’ After I answered him, I was like, ‘Well, how do we do this?’ We were very fortunate that we had a lot of people around to help support us and help get us there. Certainly, when you have people like the Hoyts [the father/son team of Dick and Rick] as an example who had blazed the trail so to speak, it was easy to find resources, and then it was just finding the right people to help us get those resources. Like I said, we’ve been very fortunate to have friends and family and partners and sponsors and people to help us make this dream a reality.
LAVA: Kyle, how did you feel when you crossed the finish line of your first triathlon?
Kyle Pease: It was an amazing experience. It was one of the best feelings that I’ll ever remember. I’m a very competitive person and I love sports, and to do it with my brothers was very special.
LAVA: How did it feel to know you were the first and only assisted athletes to ever compete in the Peachtree 10K in Atlanta, GA?
BP: It’s hard to describe. First and foremost, it was exciting for us because its a race we grew up watching. Our mom used to run in it, and we used to take Kyle down. My parents did a really good job of making sure that we didn’t live a different life because of Kyle and that Kyle never lived a different life because of any of his disabilities. Watching that race, I don’t know that either of us ever thought that one day we’d be running it. But looking at the bigger picture, the excitement for us, in being the first assisted athletes, is that we were the first of many to come through. There were 61 wheelchair athletes in that race, 62 if you count our category. So I’d love for them to have 120 wheelchairs on the starting line, 60 of them pushing themselves and 60 with a little help from their friends.
LAVA: Kyle, as you’ve continued to race, what has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned about the sport of triathlon?
KP: You know, triathlon is a lot like my life. I have cerebral palsy, and I go through peaks and valleys just like a triathlon. Some of the obstacles that I’ve faced are more challenging than the usual person’s but I just tackle it head on and don’t let anything stop me. When you go through a valley, you have to climb up and you have find that drive to keep going.
LAVA: Brent, as you’ve continued to race alongside Kyle, what has been the biggest lesson you’ve learned?
BP: There are so many. I think one of the biggest lessons that I’ve learned is that we all have something to offer, we all have something to share to be able to enjoy everything that life has to offer. For me, it’s sharing that with other people, especially Kyle. It’s one of the reasons we started the foundation, its one of the reasons we just love racing. There are no disabilities at Ironman. Everybody’s out there doing the same thing. I can’t even put into words how exciting that is. You go out there and do these Ironmans with four thousand people and for a few hours you forget that there was ever anything different with Kyle, with us, with our family or anything like that.
LAVA: What was the goal behind establishing the Kyle Pease Foundation?
BP: For Kyle and I, we love doing this together, but we don’t want it to be just about us. We want other people to be able to do this—that’s the motivation behind [the foundation]. A mom in Conyers, GA saw us on the news, and now she’s signed up for her first marathon with her son. That’s what we want to see. There’s this whole world out there and unfortunately for older, disabled persons, there’s not always this big, bright world in front of them that they’re aware of and hopefully just maybe through doing races they can see that there’s a little bit more.
KP: The goal was to allow other disabled athletes and their families to get involved in sports and allow them to create their own dreams.
LAVA: How have you altered your training to prepare for your first full length Ironman in Madison, WI?
BP: It looks very similar to what most people might do for an Ironman. We’ve certainly added volume, we’ve certainly looked at the strength component and the type of riding I might do, and running. And we’ve been very conscious about making sure that Kyle is involved in the training. We go out on rides together, we run together. We swim when we can—I’ve tied a painters bucket to my waist and dove in and pulled that—whatever we can do to simulate what it’s like being out there with an extra person.
LAVA: What are you feeling as the date of the triathlon approaches?
KP: I’m excited. I’m excited to do it with Brent. There’s so much excitement around what we’re doing and I’m just looking forward to the race and enjoying the moment.
BP: Excited, a little nervous, a little anxious. But I think that’s the same as how anybody approaches an iron-distance race like this. We’re waiting for it to get here; we’re anxious to take that on. For some people, it’s a badge of honor to say, ‘I’ve done the Ironman.” Kyle and I hope for it to be just another step on this journey together.