From Cerebral Palsy to Ironman World Champion: A Memoir Tells the Tale

From Cerebral Palsy to Ironman World Champion: A Memoir Tells the Tale

Yes, he has spastic quadriplegia cerebral palsy. Yes, he uses a wheelchair. Still, Kyle Pease dreamed of the seemingly impossible — becoming an Ironman like his older brother, Brent. Last year, they made triathletic history. A new memoir chronicles the inspirational feat.

Recently released, “Beyond the Finish” (Mascot Books) is a touching story about brotherhood, passion and the fight for inclusion. In October at Kona, Hawaii, the two became the first push-assist brother duo to finish the grueling Ironman World Championship.

The journey has been improbable, to say the least.

”I have always had the inability to rely on my arms or my legs under my own control, which left me on the sidelines while I supported my athletic, able-bodied brothers,” Kyle Pease said in a press release. “Frankly, I had no business being an athlete. But that didn’t stop me or Brent.”

The brothers’ book begins with Kyle growing up in Atlanta with the challenges of disability, and ends with him and Brent on the stage of triumph.

Diagnosed with cerebral palsy as a young child, Kyle always had rooted for his athletic brothers. While the disease impeded his ability to participate in sports, Kyle’s ardor for them remained undimmed. Indulging his taste for adventure, his family regularly included him in their travels. From rolling his wheelchair up falls in Yosemite National Park to navigating Colorado snow slopes, he and his fun-loving brothers experienced it all.

After watching Brent complete his first Ironman competition, Kyle wondered aloud whether people who use wheelchairs could become Ironmen, too. Brent’s affirmative answer ultimately would change their lives and inspire countless others.

Organized by the World Triathlon Corporation, the Ironman Triathlon is one of a series of long distance triathlon races consisting of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bicycle ride and a 26.2-mile marathon run, raced in that order without a break. Requiring completion in less than 17 hours, it’s widely considered one of the most difficult one-day sporting events in the world. The world championship is the annual culmination of qualification races held globally.

The brothers participated in Ironmen contests nationwide and, at length, were awarded the opportunity to compete in the world championship. Together, they would train for 280 hours.

Cerebral palsy affects all of Kyle’s limbs. So, during the swim portion, Brent tied a rope to his waist and pulled Kyle in an inflatable kayak. The bike portion had Kyle lie on his back in front while Brent pedaled from behind. During the run, Brent pushed Kyle in a racing wheelchair. Going up against 2,499 of the world’s toughest athletes, the brothers finished in 14 hours and 29 minutes.

Since 2011, the Pease brothers have finished more than 75 races, including four Ironman triathlons. Together, they seek to empower athletes with disabilities such as cerebral palsy through their nonprofit organization, the Kyle Pease Foundation. Book proceeds will support the foundation’s mission.

A motivational speaker and greeter at Piedmont Hospital in Atlanta, Kyle has a B.S. degree in sports management. A prolific athletic competitor, Brent has finished more than 100 triathlons. The Florida State University graduate is the foundation’s executive director.

“After watching him compete in his first Ironman race, I knew I wanted to experience that same thrill, regardless of my wheelchair,” Kyle said of his brother. “Now, we are sharing our story of inclusion and the path we took to conquer our fears and accomplish our dreams.”