Cerebral palsy athlete makes ironman history
They were cold, wet and exhausted when they crossed the KMD Iron Man Copenhagen finish line and it took them nearly 16 hours to get there, but twins Steen and Peder Mondrup, 34, became the first twins in the world to complete an ironman contest together.
But what made it even more spectacular is that Peder – who has been in a wheelchair his entire life – also became the first person with cerebral palsy to ever complete an ironman contest, just barely beating the race cut-off time limit at 15 hours, 42 minutes and 38 seconds.
Peder and Steen – who dubbed themselves Team Tvilling (Team Twin) – completed the gruelling race after Steen pulled his brother into an inflatable kayak behind him while traversing the 3.8km swimming stretch before carrying him to a specially-designed bicycle that included a built-in lightweight running wheelchair for Peder in front.
Running down a dream
Once the 180.25km to north Zealand had been pedalled, Steen pushed Peder ahead of him in a similar lightweight running wheelchair as he ran the final 42.2km marathon stage into Copenhagen and into history.
“It means everything. It’s been a dream for five years and now it has come true,” Steen told BT tabloid.
“It was a race against time. Particularly in the second round we were close to the cut-off, but we always believed. I don’t know where the energy came from, but the legs felt good today.”
Another record set
The twins had already completed a marathon and a half-ironman before, inspired by an American father and son duo who have completed the Hawaii Iron Man several times.
Their goal was to raise awareness about wheelchair users and disabled people being able to do more than they think possible and to think about possibilities, not limitations.
The winner of the race, 29-year-old Henrik Hyldelund, came in at 8:03:39, a new record for the KMD Iron Man Copenhagen.