Over the past year, Team Karlie competitor Peyton Howard has experienced numerous firsts. Last fall, he participated in his first cross country meet, pushed by his teammate across the elementary course at Yellow Creek Park. In the spring, he completed the Wendell Foster Half Marathon pushed by local running coach Josh Murphy. This weekend, he will experience another first when he competes in the Bowling Green Sprint Triathlon.
“I think what fuels his passion for racing is his true love for life,” Peyton’s mom Misty Howard said. “Despite all his disabilities and daily struggles, he is one of the strongest and happiest boys I know.”
According to his mom, Peyton’s spirit is contagious to those around him. Being pushed in his running stroller allows him to go fast like other kids go when they are running and actually feel the wind in his face, to feel movements that otherwise are not possible. His runner Jeff Miller is a huge part of his life and they have formed quite a bond.
“Jeff has such a love for what he does and is unbelievable with Peyton,” Misty Howard said. “He is so involved with him and wants to do so much with him. He used to be called Mr. Jeff by Peyton and now he calls him Uncle Jeff.”
With the triathlon quickly approaching, Howard is excited to compete in three events. He will be in a float in the water for the swim, be pulled in a trailer behind a bike and race in his running stroller.
“To be able to do all three is just unbelievable and he loves all these things so much,” Misty said. “He loves bike rides, and anything that involves the water and has always loved the running.”
Peyton has already trained in his float in the pool at the Healthpark, and he has also ridden in the trailer behind the bike. As far as the running portion of the event, Peyton has put in many miles over the past couple of years.
“We feel like he definitely has the running portion down pat with all the races they have done including his first half marathon with Josh,” Misty Howard said.
The Howard family says they are thankful that Peyton has the opportunity to compete in his first triathlon this weekend. This will be his biggest event so far and would not be possible without the support of Team Karlie.
“He wants to be active and involved in so much and it just breaks your heart as a parent when there is so much that he can’t do but wants to so bad,” Misty Howard said. “When opportunities like this are actually made possible for him – it’s just beyond words how much this truly means to us and him and how forever grateful we will be.”