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Ricardo and Matt: An inspiration to each other ... An inspiration to us all

What's up everyone? What an unforgettable couple of weeks we have had.  Before we share about our recent Ironman Triathlon Eagleman 70.3 finish, I want to introduce you to a couple of incredible people. 

A couple weekends ago, we had nine KPeasey athletes toe the line at the Virginia Highlands Summerfest 5k.  This is another one of our favorite events and we experienced countless memorable moments. 

Among them was witnessing our youngest pusher when Lauren pushed her sister, Marin!!  This was  the equivalent of experiencing the birth of the next generation of KPeasey runners and made Brent and I feel like proud papas.

We also experienced the most athletes ever to participate in Summerfest with Kpeasey and had the pleasure of watching two of my favorites, who are rapidly forming quite a team. I actually want to turn the balance of this week's blog over to my good friends, Matt Sours and Ricardo Aranda, who ran their second race of the season together. We are honored to share the road with them and hope to see them behind us, next to us or even in front of us for many more miles!!  More to come on our racing adventures soon! #togetherwewheel. KPeasey 
Ricardo: I'm honored to be given the opportunity to share Kyle's blog space with him and with Matt. As Kyle told you, my name is Ricardo Aranda and I am now a two-time KPeasey athlete. I participated in each events with my new friend, my "brother", my inspiration, my mentor, Matt Sours. We go waaaay back as we met each other about two or three minutes before our first race in March, the Publix 5K.

I couldn't have been paired with a better running partner than Matt and I am so grateful for his friendship. He says that I inspire him, but I honestly feel that he inspires me equally. He really seems to understand me and works hard to make the running experience meaningful for both of us.

I'd like to tell you a little about myself. I am 24-years-old and, like Kyle, I have cerebral palsy, the result of a premature birth. I am also legally blind due to optic nerve atrophy. I can actually see a little bit, but don't do very well recognizing people. 

I refuse to let my disabilities stop me though as I attended public school for most of my academic life and attended Chattanooga Technical College, earning my associates degree in Technical Communications. I am planning to attend Kyle Pease's alma mater, Kennesaw State to earn my bachelors in Public Relations.

When I'm not burning up the race course with my buddy, Matt, I play goalie on a Wheelchair Team Handball team. Many have asked me how I play since I am blind and my pat answer is..."both with assistance and very carefully".

I was actually introduced to Kyle by my handball coach Rick Thompson, an introduction I am very grateful for. After meeting Kyle and attending Camp Wheel Away together, I decided to start running simply so I would have another hobby. I never dreamed that I would love it as much as I do. Matt and I have set a goal of competing in the Marine Corp Marathon together in the fall of 2016. Running with my "brother" in the Nation's Capitol would be a dream come true.

Matt: I've known Kyle for a few years having run into him at a few races. Most of the time I'd get smoked by the Peases and spend the rest of the race thinking about what they are doing and how super cool it is. After I heard that they completed their first Ironman, I decided to give pushing a shot. 

It was a cold rainy day when Ricardo and I ran Publix. We were both soaked by the end but the triumphant bond that we shared was
super cool. I got lucky finding someone who is as competitive as Ricardo. When you meet someone like Ricardo, someone who is always positive, it keeps me positive. We participate in a little playful back and forth throughout the race and he helps push me up the hill emotionally while I'm trying to get us both up to the top physically. I'll tell you, it's hard work pushing, but with Ricardo's enthusiasm it's somehow a little easier.

I will never forget coming down Courtland Ave and Ricardo saw the gold dome of the Capitol for first time.  He shouted, "Oh my God. It's right there". At that moment, I realized running with Ricardo isn't about the finish time. Without a question it is trading up. In many ways I feel a bit selfish, knowing that I get more out of this than Ricardo does.

Ricardo: If I impact somebody, I wouldn't  necessarily know it, but I'm glad I am able to lend a hand, maybe not physically but emotionally.  When I see a big crowd cheering us on, I thank them because I know they are sacrificing part of their day to cheer us on. The least I can do is say thank you.

And I'll never forget the feeling when Matt and I crossed the finish line together. I screamed, "Hey man, we did it." 

Matt: We sure did, buddy. We did it.

Ricardo: You inspire me, man.

Matt: You inspire me too.

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