Man With Cerebral Palsy to Compete With His Dad in Ironman World Championships

The inspirational team trains for the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii.

ByCatherine Thorbecke
June 20, 2016, 2:58 PM

— -- A father-and-son team from Michigan are training to compete at the Ironman World Championship Triathlon in Kona, Hawaii, this October.

Even more remarkable than embarking on the 140.6-mile swimming, cycling and running journey, father Jeff Agar will push and pull his son, Johnny, who was born with cerebral palsy, during the entire triathlon so that the two can earn the Ironman title together.

Jeff Agar, 53, told ABC News today that he and his son have competed in six marathons together, and that train every day for the Ironman World Championships.

Agar explained that he pulls Johnny on a chariot during the biking and running portion, and on a boat during the swimming portion of the triathlon. Agar told ABC News he is working with a professional trainer in order to not only finish the race, but to complete it with a 150-pound chariot in tow.

"He is constantly cheering for people as we go along," Agar said of his son. "We get people who want to run with us just because of the cheering that they get from Johnny."

"Johnny’s big goal in life is as a disability advocate," Agar told ABC News. "He created a website like Yelp for handicapped people. It is about spreading information about how accessible a location is so you know before you go there."

Johnny Agar, 22, told ABC News today how much he looks up to his father.

"He is just the biggest inspiration to me, because you wouldn’t necessarily think of a kid who has cerebral palsy, which is what I have, being able to participate in a triathlon of that magnitude, with some of the best athletes in the world," Johnny Agar said. "He is willing to pull me and push me in the race for 140.6 miles so I get to know the feeling of what it feels like to cross the finish line."

Becki Agar, Jeff's wife, told ABC News that she is incredibly proud of her son and husband.

"Johnny has always wanted to be an athlete, he has always looked up to his dad in that way, but it was so hard for Johnny to participate in organized sports," Becki Agar said. "I don’t think Jeff will do it otherwise. Johnny is quite a motivator for Jeff."

She added that her husband will try to finish the Ironman World Championships ahead of 17-time limit, despite pushing and pulling Johnny the whole way, so that Johnny has time to walk the last mile of the race.

"For him, walking a mile is like you or me running a marathon," Becki Agar told ABC News. "He has to think about every movement he makes in order to get his leg where it needs to be."

"Jeff is very focused, he never complains. He knows it is something Johnny wants to do," she added, noting that her husband and son have inspired people in their community, who will often make signs and cheer for Johnny when he walks during a race.

The father-son team will compete in the Ironman World Championships on Oct. 8, you can follow the family's training at their team website.

ABC News Live

ABC News Live

24/7 coverage of breaking news and live events