the teamHAGKULL story

Brad Hagkull is a 42 year-old father of two and his youngest son, Benjamin is eleven. Benjamin was born with Spina Bifida and gets around in a wheelchair. Several years ago, their family watched an inspirational story where the Hoyts – a father and his handicapped son – participated in the Hawaiian IRONMAN triathlon competition together (a 2.5 mile swim, 125 mile bike and a full marathon!) and Benjamin (who was 4 at the time) announced, “Daddy, I want to do that”.

After several months of training, Brad and Benjamin competed in their first event – the Chill Out Duathalon in May, 2004. They completed their first triathalon that August in Harrison, British Columbia – a much shorter version of the IRONMAN. Both caught the “tri-bug” and for 4 years participated as a team in what is otherwise an individual sport.

Here’s how it worked:

Swim: Brad designed a harness that he used to pull Benjamin in an inflatable boat for the swim segment.
Bike: Benjamin pedaled behind him in a Trail-A-Bike (with adapted pedals).
Run: After outgrowning the jogging stroller, Ben rode in a custom contraption that can only be described as a “Jogging Wheelchair”.

Their goals are quite simple
1. To raise awareness of Spina Bifida (did you know that Spina Bifida affects 1 in 750 births in Canada?)
2. They want to send the message that “disability” is only a word.
3. To model their motto – “where finishing is winning” – in triathlons they participate in.


Did you know our story was featured in New Man Magazine? Or that it led off as the top story on the CTV National News at 6? For a more complete version of the Team Hagkull journey including more photos, magazine and newspaper articles, log on to or type Team Hagkull into YouTube for a medley of clips from their triathlon experiences!


One response

18 10 2012

Brad – Lorraine Trott (now Baldwin) your former CSSSer and Flinstones colleague. This is a remarkable and inspirational story. You and Benjamin are examples of innovation and spirit!

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