Incredible Wheelchair Bound Man Completes Ironman Triathlon Alongside His Twin Brother
Last Sunday, 34-year-old Peder Mondrup became the first person with cerebral palsy to complete an Ironman triathlon, thanks to his own determination and the tremendous love and support of his twin brother, Steen. Using special equipment, Steen swam 2.4 miles while pulling Peder on a rubber raft, biked 112 miles with his brother seated in front of him, and ran 26.2 miles while pushing Peder in a wheelchair across hilly terrain. It took the incredible duo 15 hours, 32 minutes, and 48 seconds to complete the grueling KMD Ironman Copenhagen Challenge, but they finally crossed the finish line together amidst the bright lights and loud cheers of spectators close to midnight on August 24.
The twins, who call themselves Team Tvilling ("Team Twin" in Danish), were born three months premature and weighing only 2.6 pounds each in 1980. Peder, who suffered a lack of oxygen that caused severe cerebral palsy, has been confined to a wheelchair for all of his life. This physical handicap hasn't held him back, however, as he's participated in a variety of marathons and race with Steen, with those efforts finally culminating in the spectacular completion of the extremely demanding Ironman.
"For the first time, I felt like the person I see myself as: a regular participant instead of 'somebody in a wheelchair,'" said Peder. His brother shared, "If I can give Peder the feeling of not sitting in a wheelchair for a few hours, then I will do whatever it takes! I feel like I am really lucky because he has caused me to see the positive in life and to not complain about everyday things. One thing is certain and that is that you never have and never will hear Peder feel sorry for himself."
The twins, who joke that Steen got "the legs" and Peder got "the brains," hope to pursue their dream of giving handicapped people the chance to feel the joy and pride of participating in races and other sports events. With their Ironman accomplishment only serving as the beginning of their journey, they have established the non-profit Team Twin Association, with the goal of establishing the world’s first triathlon training camps for the disabled in 2015. "We are really excited about this next step for Team Twin," they said. "The work has already begun and will now get our full attention."