DAYTON, Ohio — For Cedarville University soccer coach Brett Faro, competing in the Ironman Triathlon was always a dream, but he never had the motivation until this year.
But thanks to a special bond he has with a five-year-old living with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy, he found the inspiration.
Faro has always been in good shape, living an active lifestyle and being involved in sports.
That sparked his interest in completing the Ironman.
“It started kind of as a physical feat, a bucket-list item,” Faro said. “Could I do it, would my body hold up?”
After months of grueling training and a heavy time commitment, Faro was locked into completing the race but wanted it to have a greater purpose.
“I wanted it to be more than just about me and just about what I could do,” Faro said.
The Cedarville men’s soccer coach is good friends with the Krieger family, who live in Mesa, Arizona.
“They have a little boy named Fritz, who has DMD, which is a rare disease in boys that really just eats away at your muscles over time,” Faro said.
Less than 200,000 cases of DMD are diagnosed each year. There is no cure.
To raise awareness about the disease and bring joy to his young friend, Faro ran the Tulsa Ironman in honor of Fritz.
His mother said it’s a tremendous tribute for Faro to honor her son.
“There’s no more of a humbling or powerful thing to have someone put their body through that to say, ‘I’m doing this to honor your son and your guys’ fight,” Sarah Krieger said. “There’s no words that we could put to represent what that really means.”
The Ironman competition features a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run.
All of which Faro finished in 11:07:53 (or 11 hours, seven minutes, and 53 seconds), checking off a box on his personal bucket-list and inspiring funding for the Fritz and Friends Foundation.
“They’re trying to find a cure,” Faro said. “They’re trying to find an answer for Fritz and trying to find a solution.”
Although Fritz will never be able to compete in an Ironman himself, it’s the message that ‘strength is more than muscle,’ that inspires Fritz and Faro to keep going.
“Teamwork makes the dream work and there’s so much strength in this idea of the team coming together and we’re just happy to have Brett as a player on our team in our fight,” Krieger said.
For more information on Fritz and Friends, click here to visit their website.