Bradley Langemaat’s second triathlon got off to a chilly start.
The Grand Haven teen who suffers from cerebral palsy completed the Seahorse Triathlon in Vicksburg this past May as a team of teachers from Grand Haven High School pulled and pushed the brave young man around the course.
On Saturday, Bradley and a team of swimmers, bikers and runners tackled the Grand Haven Triathlon, and just moments into the race, a big wave crashed over the front of the small boat Bradley was perched in, soaking the youngster.
“He just laughed,” said Derek Warner, who teaches a triathlon class at GHHS and was instrumental in securing the equipment to maneuver Bradley around the course.
Making Sunday’s event even more special was the fact that Bradley’s dad, Brent, pulled his son on the bike portion of the course.
Brent then joined in the final few hundred yards of the run, pushing his son across the finish line and into a swarm of adoring family and friends.
“It was amazing, incredible,” Brent said after the race. “I wasn’t exactly sure how it would go for me, because I haven’t been on a road course like this before, and then pulling Bradley. But it was because of him I was able to do this.”
Bradley’s mom, Carla, was there to greet him at the finish line.
“It’s emotional, very emotional,” she said. “But we’re so proud of him. It’s awesome. Everybody involved who’s helped out, it’s great. We than them so much from the bottom of our hearts.”
Warner put a team together to help Bradley make it around the swim, bike and run course. Kelly Kramer was the primary swimmer who pulled Bradley’s small boat through the water. Derek Warner and his brother, Brent Warner, swam on both sides of the boat to keep it steady in the persistent Lake Michigan chop.
Brent Langemaat did the bike portion, with both Warner brothers along for the ride.
Jeff Calkins then pushed Bradley along most of the bike course, assisted by Tom Foley.
“It was very special, and he’s very excited to be a part of this,” Brent Langemaat said. “Derek Warner and Melissa Richardson talked to us about it and asked Bradley if he wanted to do it again, and here we are.”
“Would you do it again, Bradley?” his mother asked.
Bradley’s reply was instantaneous: “Yes.”
Derek Warner made the event possible by teaming up with My Team Triumph, a group that originated in Grand Rapids and that now has branches world wide.
“We’re going to start a Shoreline chapter of My Team Triumph,” Warner said. “The goal is to give this opportunity to students like Bradley. There are a lot of them in the Grand Haven area.
“We did this for the Seahorse, and when I got back I started getting calls and e-mails from people explaining their situations and asking if I could help them out.
“It’s just such a great thing, and to have his dad do it today, it was just awesome.”