Friday, October 30, 2015

Kyle Pease Foundation Brings Disabled Athletes to Their Feet

We're coming down, but only slightly, after an incredible weekend as the Kyle Pease Foundation set up ship in the Nation's Capitol for the Marine Corps Marathon. Once again, we co-sponsored with The Ability Experience and it was phenomenal event. Even the uncooperative DC weather could not dampen our spirits.

We saw many of our friends including the famous Rick Hoyt, who together with his father Dick pioneered the entire ability running movement, as well as spending some Q-time with Ainsley's Angels. There were many heavy tears shed as two of our team members got to rise from their running chairs and walk across the finish line under their own power. John Crais, who was guided by Thomas Oden, and Jason Dorn ,who was pushed by Kyle Thomas, both contributed moments that  onlookers will never forget. John's moment is captured in the story link above.

The highlight for me was getting to hang out with some of the KPF families before and during the race. Jessica Minton's husband Bryant and son their Grant, as well as, Naomi Williams, Noah's mom entertained me nearly all weekend. It was quite an experience being on the sidelines with all the marines and the sounding of the cannon.

I couldn't be more proud of the Kyle Pease Foundation. Hats off to all the volunteers who raised money and pushed 26.2 miles through the beautiful country that we live in.

The fun continues this weekend as Brent and I compete in the Big Apple at the NYC Marathon, followed by a very quick turnaround and trip south as we'll join J-dude, Justin Knight and his team in Ironman Florida in Panama City. One hundred and forty point six miles separates J-Dude from history as the first KPF athlete to become an Ironman.

As if that's not enough, We have our Bowling with Kpeasey event on November 15th from 3-6 PM at Stars and Strikes Bowling to celebrate all of our athletes, as well as, the awarding of the Jake Vinson Family Grant.

Don't forget my new children's book "Where There's a Wheel, There's a Way" will make it's debut to the public at the bowling event where I will be signing copies with my co-author Todd Civin. We will have regular and LARGE print editions as well as audio DVD versions and a limited number of 2016 "WTAWTAW" calendars.  Can't wait to see everyone there.

Keep your eyes open for next weeks special blog with Justin Knight's Ironman Florida preparation and comments from the team. Brent and I gotta go catch a plan to we'll turn the rest of the blog over to Noah William's mom, Naomi for her thoughts on the Marine Corps Marathon weekend as well as the inspiring words of Mike Ragan, our friend, teammate and all3sports colleague, who started the weekend off with his inspiring words.

Naomi Williams:

The weekend was A-MAZE-ING!! It's always fun to 'run' a race, yet this race was special as I got be a cheerleader, not only for my son, but for ALL of the athletes. I won't ever have the chance to be a soccer mom, but this weekend gave me the same euphoric high!! Waiting with anticipation for Noah and Kevin to come around the last corner and into eyesight, beaming with pride as they crossed the finish line - that was the equivalent of watching the winning goal.

For Noah, it provided an opportunity to be successful and experience what it feels like to be a winner. He LOVED being around people who embraced him for him. Noah has a special connection with Kyle and it is beautiful to watch their interaction. In addition, I realized that life is a team effort just like this race. Everyone plays a vital role no matter how insignificant they think it is!

Mike Ragan:

I met Brent Pease a little over two years ago, when I started working at all3sports.  Soon after I learned of his work with his brother's foundation.  In spring of 2014, Brent invited me to consider running my first marathon at the Marine Corps Marathon with KPeasey. 
The experience of training last year was amazing; the purpose I felt every day with every run.  Brent paired me with Tina and her daughter, Naomi.  Since they lived almost three hours away from me, the first time we met was a month before the race, but we hit it off right away.

We both arrived for the race in Washington, D.C. a couple of days early, and we were inseparable.  We spent hours at the Expo checking out the booths, and we even met Sean Astin, who starred in Rudy and Lord of the Rings.

Race morning found us ready to run.  The assisted athletes were sent off five minutes before the rest of the field, which helped me look good.  I ran the first mile in 8:45.  On the official time my first mile read a scathing 3:45.  I'm sure this helped my coach find several new athletes.  After the first 10k, I notice that Naomi was waving with both hands in a strange way.  I asked if she was okay, only to have her reply, "I'm done!  Where's momma?"  How did we make it through the race?  Singing!  We sang "Let It Go" from the movie, Frozen, The Wheels on the Bus, and Old MacDonald.  Needless to say, there were tons of animals on the farm that day. I averaged an 8-minute mile for the first twenty miles and then the wheels fell off...of my run. 
I hit the wall and struggled through the last 10k.  In the last mile, two of our KPeasey teammates, Curtis and Fred, passed us.  Fred smacked me on the bottom and Curtis said, "See ya!"  It is okay because this year, I'm running with Fred's number and I'll be pushing Curtis.  So, Curtis, get ready for a 12-hour marathon!
In the year since the last Marine Corps Marathon, I've seen Naomi and Tina several times and I talk to them on the phone every few weeks.  We ran a two more races together the following months and Naomi got to go bowling with my two middle school-aged daughters at the annual KPeasey bowling fundraiser.

The greatest part of this entire process has not been getting in shape, running a marathon or raising money for the foundation.  Those are all wonderful things, but to be invited into another family's life has truly been the greatest gift.

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The Kyle Pease Foundation Continues to Be Busier Than a Moth in a Mitten

As summer fades into the rear view and the weather continues to get cooler, Kpeasey is hotter than ever. With so many events on the foundation calendar we are busier than a moth in a mitten. 

We just completed Camp Wheel-A-Way, a camp for individuals with cerebral palsy where we partner with Camp Twin Lakes to host an amazing group of enthusiastic campers. The weekend was filled with biking, running, boating, Smores and a lot of smiles. It was quite a weekend filled with laughter and enough memories to last a lifetime. Kpeasey and the campers even went air born going zip-lining above the woods at Camp Twin Lakes.  

Our very own dude, Justin "J-dude" Knight is preparing fiercely for
Ironman Florida. He has been eating, dreaming and breathing Ironman for the past three months. He is super excited and is in top shape for 140.6 miles of fun. 

Along with his teammates John Rutledge, Tim Myers, and Paul Linck, they are ready to tackle any obstacle that may come their way because after all, Where There's a Wheel, There's a Way!
Don't forget to come out to Justin's send off party on Monday Night Brewing in Atlanta on Wednesday, October 28th. We are super excited to see Justin compete as he is the first KPF athlete to ever attempt this prestigious feat. This is the culmination of the vision that Brent and I saw when we started the foundation. 
Speaking of "Where There's a Wheel, There's a Way!", KPeasey can now add the title of author to my business card as my new children's book is on pre-order on our website. We are putting the finishing touches on an audio version narrated by yours truly and a big print version, so that everyone can enjoy the book. All profits from the book and the DVD are going to the Kyle Pease Foundation.

If you want to learn about inclusion, my life and the foundation, the book will be officially unveiled on November 15th and it will be available at the the Annual KPeasey Bowling Event. This event is the biggest fundraiser of the year for our foundation and we even have a special guest attending the event and spreading his message of Together We Wheel! We will also be announcing the Jake Vinson Family Grant winner. 

Next week we will be taking a team of athletes to Washington DC to the Marine Corps Marathon, which is a great event taking place in our Nation's capitol. After a quick turnaround, Brent and I will be going to NY to run the NYC marathon on November 1st as Kpeasey Meets the Big Apple and the Big Apple meets Kpeasey. Hope the city is ready for us!!

Wrapping up our busy stretch is the Holcomb Bridge Hustle on
Saturday, November 14th. This is our final race of the season and is always a great time. We may even get our social media director and co-author of my book, Todd Civin, to lace them up as he'll be down for the bowling event and book signing. 

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Jessica, Mike and Several Other KPF Athletes to Compete at Marine Corps Marathon

Though they won't be running from the Halls of Montezuma or even to the Shores of Tripoli, several KPeasey athletes will be among "the few, the proud" as they "lace up their boots" and compete in the 40th Annual Marine Corps Marathon on October 25th in Washington, DC. 

There will be an enormous sense of national pride while competing in and completing the 26.2 mile course set in the nation's capitol. Envision yourself as one of 10,000 athletes participating in "The People's Marathon" with the ghosts of Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King and George Washington guiding you through out the course. 

What a feeling of patriotism one will experience as the huge American flag unfurls with the thirteen hands of the statue of Iwo Jima in the foreground as the canon blasts marking the start of this incredibly historic event. 

Two KPeasey athletes who will be making the trip to DC are
Mike Ragan and Jessica Minton, each of whom were kind enough to share their thoughts about competing in such an illustrious event. They will be among several hundred assisted athlete teams from all over the country, who will start at the front of the pack ahead of the rest of the athletes. 

"It’s a great feeling knowing that I will be a part of something so important for so many people.  I know that I will not have a shortage of inspiration for the race," explains Mike, who works as a store manager for all3sports.

"I’m looking forward to the crowd support and amazing landmarks.  It is exciting enough to be a part of KPeasey, but I think being in such a storied place will only add to this experience of serving a greater cause," he added.

Jessica mirrored Mike's sentiments, "I think competing against the nation's most iconic backdrop will be, in some ways, sobering. The United States of America has sacrificed so much in our quest for freedom and liberty. At the same time, I am so thankful that this is the country I grew up to respect. I am thankful for the Americans with Disabilities Act that provide opportunity to pursue what we love."

Both athletes spoke glowingly about their experiences with the Kyle Pease Foundation, which of course is music to Brent and my ears and will give us a sense of absolute joy as we cheer our teammates on from the sidelines.  

"My experience working with the Kyle Pease Foundation over the past year has been quite a bit more than I was expecting.  The families have been so welcoming and loving", explained Mike.  "I have been so humbled by how freely the KPeasey families have opened their lives to me."

Added Jessica who will be completed the course in her hand cycle, "The Kyle Pease Foundation has given me a way to stay active and committed to something besides me and my family."

Ragan who will be pushing KPeasey athlete, Curtis Ward has little concern of completing the 26.2 terrain. "I know the crowd support will be amazing and Curtis has always been a very vocal and encouraging teammate during the race.  He will let us know if we need to work harder."

Jessica shared a similar lack of intimidation, "I have no doubt that I can finish this, just as long as I don't have another flat! (I had a flat in the Publix half and didn't have tubes to change the tire...)". 

Mike, Jessica and more than a dozen other KPF athletes are excited to be competing in such a prestigious event. 

"I will be flying up with Kyle and my friend Helen who has been helping to fund raise.  My sister lives in D.C. and she is planning to come to the race to cheer us on" explained Mike.

"My husband and my son are going with us. We've decided to go up on Thursday to explore the sights, added Jessica. "My husband is a huge history buff, and he's never been to DC!" 

"His dad is also retired Air Force, so he is excited to see all of the monuments. We've also decided that we would rather have Grant go with us. He'll learn more about this great country from this trip than anything they'll teach in school."