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Ready or Not (and we are ready)...Kona Here We Come!!

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Training has been an absolutely grind.  But it has been one that I have enjoyed immensely. .  Making time for everything, training like I have never trained before to get myself mentally and physically prepared has truly been "fun." At one point over an eight day span, I spent more than 25 hours on my bike, including plenty of saddle time with Kyle.  I will miss this when it's gone, but am so grateful for the health and opportunity to do this.  Cannot wait to test our bodies and minds come October 13th!!Together WE Wheel!! And now here’s Kyle….

-Brent

Only in my wildest dreams, did I think I’d experience the sound of the words, Brent and Kyle Pease. You are going to Kona. Sometimes if you believe in something strong enough, wild dreams do come true. Those are the very words I heard this past June is Raleigh NC when the Ironman Foundation surprised us with an invitation to Kona Hawaii for the Ironman World Championships on October 13.

During the past two weeks, we have hit the ground running and we have not stopped . We have practiced hours on end and have trained on our new bike which is sleeker, faster and more aero dynamic than our older model. Curtis Henry of Canon Cyclery and our talented pal Dave have created this model to take on the wind and the elements of Kona.


You can never be too prepared for what Kona may throw our way. We need to be proactive and ready for anything. Kona will no doubt test our mental; and physical abilities and we will give the utmost respect to the course, but I can tell you right now that Brent and I will leave everything, every ounce of energy out on the course.

All the training and all the hard work is in the rear view mirror and we are ready try to give it our absolute best on race day. We will take all of our Kpeasey family with us. They will be at the forefront of our minds when the cannon goes off on race day. Our good friend Dale sent me a wonderful text that read, “when you in the world championship {sic} we all in the world championship.” When this started in 2011 we would not have imagined carrying the energy of so many athletes with us to the Big Island! Truly, together we wheel, in action.

I am excited. I am overwhelmed. I am grateful. I am humble, to be on the journey with my brother, with my family, and most importantly with you; our fans and followers. We will carry your spirit with us for every mile, every stroke, every step and wheel that we take. 

It will be hard, but life is hard. As the saying goes, When the going gets tough; the tough get going and we will carry that mindset when ever we have a moment of doubt.

Thank you to all of our sponsors, family, caregivers, fans and supporters and everyone else too many to name for their support, dedication and commitment to help us show that where there’s a wheel, there’s a way. 

-Kyle

Post Script:

How can you help? You can share this post, you can get your network engaged or you can donate to support the expansion of our mission by clicking here: DONATE

Every donation matters and will help to provide more support for disabled persons. Read more about our plans here: LAST BLOG

TOGETHER WE WHEEL!!

KPF's J-Dude and Matt Booth Will "Never Give Up" During Ironman Wisconsin 140.6

KPF's J-Dude and Matt Booth Will "Never Give Up" During Ironman Wisconsin 140.6

While Kyle and Brent are busily preparing for the land of volcanoes and hula girls in Kona Hawaii, another team representing the Kyle Pease Foundation is training to cruise 140.6 miles through the land of Cheeseheads and Packer fans at Ironman Wisconsin. Justin "J-dude" Knight and Matt Booth will be heading to the great Midwest to compete in Madison, WI on September 9th. 

Matt will be completing the 2.1 mile swim with J-Dude and will be followed up by Micah Cotton, who will be completing the 112 mile bike ride and Fred Soller who will be accompanying J-dude on the 26.2 mile marathon. The quartet will need to complete the 140.6 mile event in under 17 hours (the cutoff time)  and barring a mechanical failure, should have no issue completing in that time period. 

Though not a triathlete myself, I was able to remotely "catch up" to J-dude, Matt and J-Dude's mama, Teresa, to ask about their training and preparation for the event before they head out to America's Dairyland.

Todd Civin TC: The race is Ironman Wisconsin 140.6, where Brent and Kyle really faced some challenges, why do you think you can complete this?

Matt Booth MB: We have three people as opposed to one, that's the biggest difference. Also, J-Dude likes to go fast, so we put together a team that can move quickly so he gets even more enjoyment out of the competition. 

J-Dude:  Because Brent and Kyle have shown me how to do Ironman.  The bike is the hardest.  A lot of things help me to do it.  I have got my strength up and I won't give up. 

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TC: How many races have the two of you done together and what number Ironman is this?

MB: I have done several runs with the KPeasey, but never a triathlon. I'm just doing the swim. This will be my first swim with either J-Dude or the KPeasey.

J-Dude:  I have done some training days with my team of Micah, Matt, and Fred but we have not ran races together.   This is my 2nd Full Ironman.  I did Ironman Florida in 2015.

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TC: How are you each training for this? How will your training change over the next months?

MB: I started a training plan in March and have stuck to it. Luckily, Maria Thrash is the Masters’ coach at Dynamo Multisport and she's keeping me honest. She's one of the best masters’ coaches in the nation, so I'm lucky to train with her. We have also done a "test run" at Lake Allatoona and will do an Olympic tri this weekend. Doing the Olympic is the only change between now and race day. Being a little more careful with nutrition and tapering slightly a few days before the event, but that’s it.

J-Dude:  A lot of my training is doing floor work exercises and stretches and using kettle-bells to get my arms and shoulders stronger.  I have also been riding my Freedom Concepts Bike - shout out to Cannon Cyclery for that!  I have been focusing on eating right and meal plans.

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TC: Who will be accompanying y’all to Wisconsin?

MB: Teresa, J-Dude , Micah cyclist, Fred runner, Ian Evans and I are going.

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TC: What do you see as the most challenging leg of it all and what is your strength?

MB: I lucked out and got the easiest portion; the swim.  It’s flat, cold, and hopefully an hour and 15 minutes long. The bike and run and very difficult, but I think the bike might be slightly harder. 

J-Dude:  THE BIKE!!!  The bike will be the hardest part -- 112 miles is a long way to go on that bike and by the end, my butt will be sore from sitting in the one position.  My legs kind of get stiff, too.  I am strong and tough and just like every day of my life when I face a challenge, I can do what I have to do to make it through!!!

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TC:  J-Dude -does this get old or more exciting each time?

J-Dude:  MORE EXCITING!!  It will never get old to me.  Because setting goals and reaching them makes me feel like I am living a good life!! And when people see me doing these big things, it helps them to know that anything is possible.

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TC:  What is your ultimate goal in racing?

I want to make to Hawaii to do Ironman. While I am getting there I want to help other people reach goals too, and live a happy life.

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TC: Matt, have you ever done Wisconsin before with or w/o J-Dude  and how will it differ? Any other Ironman races?

MB: I've never done an Ironman. I've done five half's, but never a full. Since I'm just doing the swim, I'll be able to go all out on the swim and that will be different. Obviously I've never pulled anyone before so that will add, but I've been training for that and the run through we did at Lake Allatoona went very well. 

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TC:  Where do we find your fundraising link and how is it going?

MB:  https://kyle-pease-foundation-inc.networkforgood.com/projects/53105-J-Dude -takes-on-ironman-wisconsin. It’s going well so far. The bulk of our fundraising will come from an event this coming weekend and we are almost where we were hoping to be going into that event.

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TC:  Have Brent or Kyle given you any words of advice?

MB: They told me not to suck and embarrass the foundation. No, Brent has been very helpful in giving lots of great advice.  Having been on the course before he has shared some tips on the race itself too.

J-Dude First of all DON'T GIVE UP... and have fun!!!  Work hard, train hard, and YOU CAN DO THIS ALL DAY LONG!

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TC:  Teresa, what is it like to see your little boy traveling around the country racing?

Teresa (J-Dude ’s Mama):  Wow, where do I begin!!!  Sometimes, it is hard to find the words to aptly express the emotions that I feel watching my guy participate and conquer any race, but especially an IRONMAN!  I am his biggest fan and cheerleader.  My heart swells with pride from the moment we pray over each race and I send him out with a mom kiss!  Knowing that what he is doing is not only boosting his self-confidence, but also being a light and helping others is an answer to a prayer that I prayed over him when he was born.  I can remember when he was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy at age one.  As I held him and looked at him, I remember speaking over him: "This will not hold you back.  You will be great. You will do many things, you will be strong, you will accomplish your hearts' desires, and you will show the world that all things are possible".  Little did I know how these things would come to fruition! 

Through KPF, J-Dude discovered his gifts - our tasks as parents is to raise our children to be good, honest, caring people, who go out into the world and utilize their gifts to make the world a better place, and to help others.  Every time J-Dude rolls onto a race course, I get to witness yet another moment of him sharing his bright smile to touch someone's life and make it a bit better - THAT MAKES ME THE PROUDEST MAMA ON THIS PLANET! 

I would be lying if I said that I never get nervous/anxious about some races.   Example:   his first triathlon, I was a nervous wreck about him being in the boat... what if he falls out, what if he needs something, etc.?  I stood on the shore and watched anxiously as his partner pulled his boat out on the swim course and headed out......  I was a bundle of nerves until they were in the home stretch of the swim coming in and as I looked out onto the lake.... I see J-Dude laid back in the boat, one hand behind his head, with a thumbs up and a HUGE smile on his face - at that moment all those nerves went away and I knew he was on to something special!!! 

I could go on for days about how freakin' proud I am of my guy.   I am thankful for each day that I get to be his mom, and for every opportunity I can share with him in his efforts to accomplish great things and use those accomplishments to make this world a better place!  I look forward to future endeavors with my favorite guy!

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TC: How has competing with KPF changed all three of you?

MB: The old adage "You get back more than you give" is very true here. I've really enjoyed getting to know Teresa and working with J-Dude . It’s also been a spark to my training and fitness. I'm much more motivated to train for this than doing something on my own. When I think about the race, I think about getting out of the water and running to transition with all the fans screaming for J-Dude . He'll probably be giving high fives. I get fired up, I can't wait.

J-Dude:  Being with the Kyle Pease Foundation has changed my whole life!  I now have things to look forward to doing and places to go and people to see!!!  I have done so many things that I never even thought of being able to do.  I wrote a book, I get to travel, which I Love, I get to help other people when they may be struggling and they see the things that I have done.   I also have a job now.  I tried and tried to get jobs before and no one would hire me.  But now, thanks to KPF, I have a job and I love it!  It makes me feel good to have this to do.  I send out the tax letters to people who donate money to KPF.  I have run Marine Corp Marathon two times and doing it again this October.  I got to do the New York Marathon in November 2017!  I have met many new friends that will last a lifetime.  I love every one of them.   Kyle and Brent are like the brothers I never had.  They have helped me learn so much about myself, about life, about how to help others, and to NEVER GIVE UP!! 

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The Kyle Pease Foundation Cans Some Memories at Publix

The Kyle Pease Foundation Cans Some Memories at Publix

Well if memories could be canned, those we experienced during the Publix Half Marathon would have no expiration date. What an absolutely incredible weekend it was. I cannot thank enough all those responsible for making the biggest event in our history a reality.

We all have good days and bad days. We all have days where we experience growth and other days where we face challenges. As a foundation, we need to take the Publix half marathon and put it into our back pocket to pull out at any time we need to expunge a bad day and replace it with incredible.

It will be a day that Brent and I will never forget. I’m confident it becomes a can of memories that will never expire.

From Friday night to the completion of the race on Sunday night, we were so busy. From getting chairs ready and to the starting area to making sure that everyone was comfortable and ready to roll, the entire behind the scenes operation, required a lot of attention to detail and great combined effort.

The banquet, which was held on Saturday night at the Hyatt Regency in Atlanta was standing room only. The food was incredible and there was not a dry eye in the place. Everyone spoke from the heart and our race director, Helen Gardner, received a well-deserved standing ovation, while Brent and I exchanged mutual admiration for each other with standing O’s of our own.

It was the first banquet of this type with over three hundred in attendance and was the perfect acknowledgment of the fruits of our labor and a fitting thank you for all the hard work everyone put in.

All 58 athletes completed the race in flying colors and the KPF athletes had their own coral at the start of the race. This doesn’t usually occur, but was an example showing how we have truly arrived and been accepted as a key part of this historic race. It was simply inclusion at its best.

Our rally corner, located at mile 6.5 was standing room only and we could hear cheers of encouragement for miles as we were making our way around the corner.

Everyone who participated was honored to be a part of it. The foundation embodies what inclusion is all about and being accepted in such grand fashion was enough to make my heart beat right out of my chest. I have a goal of 90 athletes for next year’s race and feel that it is well within our reach.

Brent and I would like to take the opportunity to thank all of the sponsors and volunteers. Without you none of this would be happening. We’d also like to offer special thanks to the Atlanta Track Club to Helen Gardner, Danny Grabel, Ian Evans, Mike Ragan and Curtis Henry. Our since gratitude also goes out to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta, Champion Place, and the Titan Wheelchair Sports Program, all of who continue to make inclusion a reality in the greater Atlanta area.

And now a few inspiring words from my brother Brent: 

You have heard us boast of 58 wheelchair athletes, of triumphant finishes but none of that would be possible without the great partnership with the Titans Community Foundation & Rick Thompson.  They are doing amazing work and we were honored they asked to join us this year.  It allowed us to create awareness towards inclusion in a way we have never done before.

This race has turned into a massive undertaking for us.  We had 300 in attendance at dinner, 224 volunteers, 101 hotel rooms, 58 amazing athletes and 1 fantastic cause!  When I took my turn on the microphone I was overwhelmed at the site.  When this all started I don't think any of us realized the impact that Kpeasey could have, not just on those we serve, but on those around our organization.  Thank you to each of you for allowing us the opportunity to serve and for helping create the opportunity for inclusion.

The finishing photos are amazing and you can see more by clicking here: photos 

Camp-Wheel-Away is coming early this year during the weekend of April 6th. We are looking for campers to participate in this incredible weekend experience. Please reach out to Brent if you are interested in attending.

We are also currently accepting applications for the Jake Vinson Family Grant which will be awarded to a deserving recipient at our bowling event in November.

Our next official race will be the Peachtree Road Race on July 4th, the largest 10K in the world.

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. 

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