The Kyle Pease Foundation Blasts Through the Tape as 2017 Rolls to a Close

The Kyle Pease Foundation Blasts Through the Tape as 2017 Rolls to a Close

Hello to everyone in KPeasey Nation.  Well as the calendar is about to flip to another year and your local bank or insurance company is about to send you a replacement, I thought it would be fitting to recap some of the highlights of what his been a magical and incredible 2017. 

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The past six weeks especially have been busier than ever before as we were filled with many events that took us out of our home base of Atlanta and allowed us to spread the message to several other regions of the country. One of our goals for 2018 and the future is how to share the Kyle Pease Foundation with a more wide spread area and this fall was certainly a glimpse into what the future of KPF may hold. 

Our fall season began in October at the Marine Corps Marathon where we had fifteen teams start and finish the 26.2 mile trek known as the People's Marathon and people, let me tell you. It was an incredible event. 

Our athletes rolled through the streets of DC with all of the famous monuments in the backdrop as thousands of fans cheered them on through the streets of the Nation's Capitol. The statue of Iwo Jima, Lincoln and Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, the dome of the Capitol building and of course the Pentagon and the White House symbolically rooted our athletes on and made each of us realize how lucky we are to be part of a nation where inclusion is not only accepted but it cheered for. 

As we celebrated the triumph of that weekend, we moved into Camp Wheel Away, our annual camp which allows those with disabilities to participate in many assisted activities that they may otherwise not be exposed to.  This was an incredible weekend full of great camp activities, shared with many new friends and potential future KPF athletes. 

Next came a ground breaking weekend of sorts where we had three different teams competing in three different locations around the country. I was in Savannah GA with two athletes who were running the Savannah Marathon, while three racers were over a thousand miles away in the Big Apple competing in the NYC Marathon. Our executive director, my brother, Brent completed his 9th Ironman representing KPF in Panama City. One day, several racers, three locations all wearing KPeasey blue and sharing the message of acceptance and inclusion. 

What a groundbreaking year it has been. From having 42 athletes compete in the Publix in March, to Brent and I competing in Ironman Boulder, CO to everything in between. It was a banner year for the Foundation and prepares us to catapult in to a very exciting year ahead. 

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And don't forget bowling with KPeasey was another huge success.  The eighth edition was amazing to be a part of as hundreds of fans, friends and family enjoyed bowling, good food, good fellowship and fundraising. Congratulations to Cougar Clifford, who was awarded the Jake Vinson Award and to Justin Knight  for collecting the coveted Broken Wheel Award. Another congratulations to Lauren, Marin and the rest of the Greg Smith Family for the release of "We Wouldn't Have it Any Other Way," the third children's book in our "Where There's a Wheel, There's a Way Book Series. 

I would be remiss if we did not think all of our sponsors, donors, supporters fans and most of all the athletes and their families. Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Words cannot express my gratitude for each and every one of you. 

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Marathon, Inclusion and TOGETHER WE WHEEL!!

On the week leading up to America's most prestigious race, The Marine Corps Marathon, I can't help but be reminded of what inclusion is all about. We are a country that was built on inclusion. Inclusion of people from other countries, inclusion of our ancestors, inclusion of the strong and the weak, inclusion of those different from ourselves and of course, inclusion of those with challenges. We are strong, we are courageous and as a Nation, we are better together than we are apart. 

2016 as the President looks in at our athletes

2016 as the President looks in at our athletes

 

As our athletes run and roll through the Nation's capital it is important to reflect on these thoughts and ideals. This week is all about raising awareness to the people of the United States and to share the message of what the Kyle Pease Foundation is all about.  We look forward to the opportunity of running by some of the biggest monuments with some of the most historical importance in our country's long and incredible history.  Monuments such as the Washington Monument, Jefferson Memorial, Lincoln Memorial, Vietnam Memorials and of course the Iwo Jima Memorial, which sits in the distance at the start of this incredible athletic event. 

Sometimes looking on is more fun than racing (sometimes...)

Sometimes looking on is more fun than racing (sometimes...)

 

We will have a full recap of the MCM in the next couple weeks as nearly a dozen KPF teams will compete in the People's Marathon this weekend. There will be no rest for the weary. As soon as we get back from DC we head straight to Camp Wheel Away, The New York City Marathon and the Savannah Half Marathon. The Flag on the top of this month of celebration takes place at our annual Bowling with K Peasey Fundraising event on Sunday November 12th. Here we will announce the winner of the Jake Vinson Family Grant along with the launch of our newest children's book in the Where There’s a Wheel There’s book series entitled, "We Wouldn't Have it Any Other Way" written by our own Lauren Smith (daughter of Greg Smith) and our content curator and author Todd Civin. 

Miles, smiles & INCLUSION!

Miles, smiles & INCLUSION!

 

As always, Together We Wheel, Kyle

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KPF and a "Pair of Justins" Learn Much During the Augusta 70.3

I've learned so much since we decided to start The Kyle Pease Foundation just six short years ago. The birth and subsequent growth of KPF has been similar to having an infant child. You care for it, you nurture it, you learn from it and teach it. You care about it more than you care about yourself. And when your precious child succeeds, nothing feels better.

When our athletes experience the taste of competition and the flavor of success, my chest swells with pride. Our athletes are inspiring to me and that was on full display this past weekend in Augusta. Justin Dugan and JDUDE showed perseverance thorough out a very difficult Augusta 70.3. They experienced the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat all within one race. Victory in their decision to compete; defeat in their inability to complete the race. Results are not why we started KPF.  We started KPF to show the world that "Together we can and TOGETHER WE WHEEL". Thank you to the volunteers , the countless supporters, parents and the ATHLETES. Thank you Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

-Kyle

And now some inspiring words from Justin Dugan himself following the Augusta Half Ironman. 

I've been trying to process a lot of thoughts about our race in Augusta. Most of all I want to thank you. For many things. All of you extended yourselves over and over for Justin and I. I was able share some special memories with you all.

I learned a lot about myself out on the bike course, both while struggling to keep that bike moving as well as when we couldn't get it going any more. It broke my heart. I sacrificed a lot for this race, time with my newborn son and family, work events and time working on my house.  I felt failure.

Throughout the weekend and after it, I think I learned a lot more about the foundation, inclusion and more importantly the team of people that came to support and work hard for Justin and I.  You guys were my Rocks! I can't even put it into words that will do it justice.

Hearing about how "we did it" so many times right after having my chip taken off was hard to hear. I felt like I failed all the people I asked for donations, all of you and everyone that was cheering us on. I felt like I didn't live up to my end of the bargain. But now, after letting it all sink in I can see the impact we had. Justin is an amazing Man and he handled this race so well. He kept checking on me and making sure I was okay. Even after the race was over. I'm lucky to have been able to share the course with a friend like him.

I have written and rewritten this post already a bunch of times and know that it will not have everything I want to say and need to express. The best I can do is thank all of you again. Throughout the weekend all of you were there for us. When Justin needed someone or something it was done! And even when I needed something it was handled just as quickly and with as much care.

When I've asked Brent about how I can find the motivation to do this because we aren't brothers, like he and Kyle, his response was "Out here, we are all brothers." I think that is what I learned, because I don't know if I believed him when he said that. We were a family out there. We had highs and lows and we were all in it together. We were brothers (and sisters).

We did it. We were there. And just like every other athlete there, we had a shot at finishing. We dealt with problems just like every other athlete has to deal with. And we faced defeat like every athlete has to. We showed that it is possible.

-Justin Dugan
    

 

The Kyle Pease Foundation Remains Busy with a Capital B!!

The Kyle Pease Foundation Remains Busy with a Capital B!!

As the saying goes, "If you want to get something done, ask a busy man to do it." Well as the summer comes to a close the Kyle Pease Foundation is getting it done, because we are BUSY with a capital B. and as you may suspect, we wouldn't want it any other way. 

We start off the weekend of September 24 in beautiful Augusta, GA with the 70.3 Augusta 1/2 Ironman, where the double Justins, Justin Dugan and Justin Knight will be taking on the land of the famous Green Jacket. The duo have done some local races together under the KPF umbrella but this will be their first 1/2 Ironman together and the first time a KPF has participated in this awesome Ironman sponsored event.

Our Camp Wheel Away Annual trip to Winder, GA is just beyond the horizon as KPeasey and friends invade Camp Twin Lakes for one of my favorite weekends of the year. This is a great time for anyone with a disability to get away and focus on what we do best;  bringing inclusion to the forefront. The weekend gives all participant the opportunity to learn about the Foundation, while participating in biking archery, camp fires, boating running and Smores galore!! There are still a few openings, but space is limited. The weekend is 100% funded by the Kyle Pease Foundation and Camp Wheel Away. Campers with any type of disability are welcome. Apply on our website and join us for the weekend of October 10-12. 

Once we recover from our weekend as one with nature we are off to the Nation's capitol and the Marine Corps Marathon in Washington DC.  The MCM is the largest race that KPF competes in outside of GA. It is always an honor to be there with the marines and all the men and women that protect our freedom. To see the kids smiling from ear to ear all the way from the hotel to the starting line is an absolute highlight for me. Many athletes will be competing dressed in KPF blue, while Brent and I will be there to play the role of Commanders in Chief of the KPF army. Special thanks to the Ability Experience who will be competing with us as well.

Before we even catch our collective breath we will be off to the BIG Apple and the NYC Marathon. This year  will be very special as we have three athletes competing as this is the first year we opened it up to other members of the foundation. We are so proud of the other athletes and their families as we return to the scene of our now famous Broken Wheel.

We close out the fall season with our annual Bowling with KPeasey event which is the culmination of everyone's accomplishments for this incredible year. More details will be following in upcoming posts and on our Facebook page in the coming weeks. The event is highlighted by the awarding of the Jake Vinson Family Grant. We've received a record number of applications but will keep on accepting them until the end of September. Applications are available on our website. 

As always thank you for your support. We could not do this without your love, kindness and  generosity. Together We Wheel, Kyle!

KPF Atlanta to Utah to Muncie: What a Long Strange Trip It's Been

Guest blogger and Walking with Walking with KPeasey of Utah athlete, Joe Guttenplan, recently competed in the Ironman 70.3 with KPF athlete Curtis Ward. The two not only competed but completed this challenging event. Below they share their thoughts about their experience. 

I was more than excited when Brent let me know that I’d be able to race with Curtis at Muncie 70.3.  Having been inspired by the Pease Brothers from the moment I was introduced to them, I was really looking forward to finally having a chance to race with another athlete. I longed to experience conquering a long distance triathlon, not as an individual, but as a team. Helen Keller wrote, “Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.”

As cliché as it sounds, the entire weekend far exceeded all expectations. It was incredible to spend time getting to know Curtis, his mom and the support crew (Brent, Mike, Jesse and Thomas). We all worked as a cohesive team to build a race plan that would work for all of us.  Since I had never raced a distance greater than a 5k while assisting another athlete, I received a significant amount of helpful coaching from everyone in the camp leading up to the start of the race.  

The weather was perfect on race day and the support team and fellow Dynamo/KPeasey fans were out in full force.  Without them, I anticipate a mighty long day. During the swim, Curtis and I made a few friends and were joined by an outgoing navigator on a kayak to help direct us through traffic. A little comic relief took place to quell the nerves, when Curtis experienced a few fellow racers, who grabbed onto his boat for a breather believing that he was a lifeguard there to help them.

The first 3/4 of the bike portion was incredible. Curtis and I received encouragement and kind words of inspiration from athletes, who were passing us on both sides of the road. At the end, it was only Curtis and myself working as a finely tuned team to get the miles in on the bike.  Curtis was a great teammate and provided both encouragement and friendly conversation to help push us through the last tiring laps. Without him I would have been toast.

Once on the run, we received emotional pats on the backs from a vast majority of the racers, as they passed us on their way back to the finish line.  I had to fix my right arm in a manner so that I was not only pushing the chair, but that I was able to give a sufficient thumbs up to acknowledge the constant positive affirmations from fellow racers. As much as I could have used that extra energy to propel us towards the end, I didn’t feel it was enough to simply nod a thank you. Thumbs up all around.

The support crew showed up on bikes at a perfect time to give us a second wind as we reached the turnaround.  Most racers had already passed us going the other way by this point, so it was great to have Thomas (and the Facebook live feed), Jesse, Mike and Brent there to cheer us on as we made our way towards the ultimate goal: the Finish Line.  I had mentioned to them that my legs were starting to give out and my pace was slowing mightily for the last four or five miles of the run.  Those last miles were a great example of what the Kyle Pease Foundation is all about.  While nobody broke out into an inspirational “Where there’s a wheel, There’s a way” tribal chant, Curtis and the boys coached and encouraged the entire way home. They willed us to the finish. While having the team there to help was incredible for the Friday setup and in both transitions, my favorite part of the race was the last handful of miles as everyone pulled together to get us to the finish line.  

There was no greater thrill than hearing the loud ovation as my teammate at the wheel, Curtis, and I rolled across the finish line. Crossing the line by myself is pretty darn amazing; crossing with my teammate is beyond description.

Curtis, a man of very few words except when he’s on the course, summed up our experience this way, “I had an unforgettable, life-changing time. The swim was fun because the other swimmers kept on bumping into me and Joe on the course and were trying to hang on to us like we were a rescue boat. The bike course was exciting to see all the other bike riders cheering us on, but the run was my favorite part because it had a food station at every mile. I may be exaggerating but I feel like we stopped to feed me 26.2 times along the way. That's where you see me with a big bag of chips, literally making it "all this and a bag of chips." 

I want to thank everyone associated with the Kyle Pease Foundation for allowing Michelle (my wife) and me to not only take part in this weekend, but for allowing us to start Walking With KPeasey in Utah.  I’ve enjoyed working with Kyle and Brent while participating in a few races in Atlanta so having the opportunity to build a new chapter in Utah to extend the mission and purpose of the Foundation in our new home is absolutely surreal. Wherever we are, Together We Wheel.