Ryan Brennan, a 16-year-old from Princeton, New Jersey, who has profound autism and significant cognitive delay, will participate in the 2018 EPIC5 Ultra Triathlon Challenge. The Challenge consists of five consecutive 140.6-mile triathlons on each of the five main Hawaiian Islands on Tuesday, August 28, 2018, to Saturday, September 1, 2018. Ryan has competed in endurance sports since he was five years old with the help of Athletes Serving Athletes (ASA), a non-profit organization that empowers athletes living with disabilities to train and compete in mainstream running and triathlon events.
The five-daylong challenge will start on the Hawaiian Island of Kauai and then move to the Hawaiian Islands of Oahu, Molokai, Maui, and the Big Island, respectively, on the following four consecutive days. Each of the five days will include a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run for a total distance of 703 miles. Ryan will be participating in the swim and run portions of the event each day. After the completion of each day’s activities, Ryan and the rest of the EPIC5 Challenge athletes, support crews, and staff will breakdown all of their equipment and gear and travel to the next Hawaiian Island to start another 140.6-mile triathlon. Despite his need for constant care and accompaniment, Ryan will compete with the assistance of an ASA volunteer known as a “WingMan.” This WingMan will help Ryan cross the finish line by towing him across the water in a custom-designed harness and raft and pushing him in a custom-built ASA racing chair. Ryan’s WingMan for this event will be his father, Christopher Brennan, and his typically developing twin brother, Sean Brennan, will be a member of Ryan’s support crew.
“Ryan completed his first marathon in 2007 when he was just five years old and since then he has participated in numerous endurance events and his level of joy and happiness seems to increase with each event,” said Chris Brennan. “After understanding the severity of Ryan’s disability it became important to find bonding activities with Ryan to ensure that a strong family connection was built and then maintained. Endurance sport has proved to be the most powerful of all bonding activities for Ryan.”
While traveling the Hawaiian Islands for the EPIC5 Ultra Triathlon Challenge, Ryan, his WingMen, and support crew hope to connect with members of the local communities who are physically and/or mentally challenged to promote meaningful, often-times life changing, connections between these individuals and their communities through endurance sport.
Good luck guys! Together We Finish!