Heros Amongst Us – Inclusion in Racing

Heros Amongst Us – Inclusion in Racing

The minions are doing a project for school and they have to tell a someone’s story. Kind of HONY (Humans of New York) style, but with more detailed narratives/videos/photos/etc.  A few weeks ago we were running together at our usual place when we saw an assisted athlete team (one athlete pushing another athlete in a special bike) training and my 10 decided that she wanted to talk to some assisted athletes.

I recognized the assisted athlete team training as part of the Kyle Pease Foundation, but since I knew that Brent and Kyle Pease are always being inundated with requests, I reached out to Mike Ragan instead. I’d met Mike as a hesitant newbie triathlete and he was one of the most welcoming people that I’d ever met in a community that can be perceived as snobbish/elitist and can put off newbies.

Mike was very warm and invited us over to the ConnectAbility 5k in Dahlonega. We drove up there with no expectation. My assumption was that Mike and Naomi were racing, I didn’t even know or research why a race that far off, and that after the race we could talk to Mike for a little bit. The minion had prepared her questions, but even she didn’t know what to expect.

Wheelchair Athletes

Not only did Mike spend time talking to my 10yo, but so also did Brent and Kyle Pease.

In the words of my minion, “When I talked to Brent and Kyle, I was a bit scared and intimidated because they are very famous. Everyone in the race knew them and knew all about them. But they talked to me very nice and answered all questions I asked them. They answered more than I asked them. They didn’t mind talking to me at all. And I’m only 10, not a famous reporter.”

I’ll let her finish her report and post it later. 

Wheelchair Athletes
The minion trying not to be nervous in front of two inspiring athletes.
Wheelchair Athletes
Mike, Naomi and the minion belting out “Let it Go”

Wheelchair Athletes

As hard as it must’ve been to race up (and down) the brutal hills in a race that Brent said was one of the more challenging races he’s done, to watch Brent and Kyle, and Mike and Naomi was to watch smoothness and power. Each athlete team looked harmonious and perfectly in sync. 

Wheelchair Athletes

The bond between Mike and Naomi was one of the most beautiful things I’ve seen. And it is a testament to the beautiful person that Mike is – helpful, encouraging and just being there. 

Wheelchair Athletes
My 10yo took this photo at the start line of the 5k

How can you and I help?

Monetary Contributions – Any amount is welcome. You can donate to the foundation at www.kylepeasefoundation.org. Even $1 or $5 goes a long way.

Running Help – You can also sign up at the foundation website www.kylepeasefoundation.org to be volunteer to push athletes. You don’t have to be a fast runner. There is no requirement other than people to be passionate and caring.

Behind the Scenes Help – In a race, you can help get the equipment ready, blow up air in tires, make sure that everything is there and comfortable for athletes, or help with setup, breakdown and clean up. Again, sign up at the foundation website www.kylepeasefoundation.org

While I’ve always followed the story of the brothers, and known of runners like Mike working with the foundation, seeing their work upclose brought it home for me. It was a moment when your mind is left speechless and your heart knows how much has been accomplished and how much is still left to be done. Their goal is to take their message to the biggest stage in triathlon – the World Championships in Kona, Hawaii and here’s to hoping that the powers to be recognize the impact they’ve had!

Wheelchair Athletes
My 7yo’s rendering of Brent and Kyle’s run in the hilly 10k


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