Running a half marathon (13.1 miles) is a hefty goal by itself. Now imagine running that distance while pushing another adult in a wheel chair. Enter Team Triumph, a non-profit organization whose mission is “to enrich the well-being of individuals with diverse abilities and foster lifelong relationships through community athletics.” Kyle’s had little knowledge of the organization prior to the half marathon other than brief exposure while running a few other races. “I had limited knowledge of what Team Triumph was all about but I did see them in other running events. Little did I know that I would soon be a part of their team.”
When Kyle started his half marathon training three months prior to the event, he did not plan to push another 100+ pounds over the course of the 13 miles, but a week before the event it became clear that this was what he was being called to do. “My brother contacted me and said that they were really short on Team Triumph ‘Angels’ for the Brewers half.” Angels are what the organization calls those who push the customized running wheelchairs. While Kyle was tentative about taking on the challenge, he felt it was the right thing to do.
A typical team of Angels consists of three to four individuals with one wheelchair entrant, so that no one person has to push for the entire race. “A few days before the event, we received an email from Team Triumph indicating that they were really short on Angels.” This meant that Kyle’s team of three would not have one wheelchair entrant, but two.
Kyle and his faithful team were resolute in their efforts and they persisted in-spite of the immense challenge. “While it was a huge physical test for our team, and for me personally given that it was my first half marathon, it was such a great experience and I feel fortunate to have been a part of this special opportunity. It made running my first half even more memorable.”
Kyle and his team formed a unique bond with their two “wheeled” teammates. “One of the gentlemen we were pushing was obsessed with flags. Once we saw the reaction he had when we passed a flag, we were sure to point out every flag we crossed on the course. Even though we were not able to connect verbally, you could see the joy that was written all over their faces because they were given the ability to experience the event as a runner. They were loving every minute of it!”
The crowd support was also overwhelming for Kyle and his team. “I was not anticipating the amount of support we received throughout the race. I was not expecting it, but it was one of the things that kept me going when the race got difficult.”
When asked if he would consider doing this again, Kyle doesn’t hesitate. “Absolutely! This was a life-changing experience.” He even mentions the possibility of taking on a full marathon in the coming years!
We are so fortunate to have people like Kyle as part of the Roydan team – people who are willing to dig deep and give back. We wish him happy running as he seeks his future fitness goals while helping others experience the thrill of competition.