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Triathlon competitor with cerebral palsy inspired by Under Armour Michael Phelps ad

A 23-year-old athlete with cerebral palsy who's competing in IRONMAN 70.3 this weekend chronicles his training regimen in a homemade video inspired by Michael Phelps'  "Rule Yourself" ad for Under Armour.

Rockford, Mich., resident Johnny Agar and his father, Jeff Agar, trained and competed last year in the World Ironman Championship in Kona, Hawaii. Jeff Agar, a former relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers organization, trained to swim while pulling his son in a boat, pull him while biking and push him while running. Johnny trained to walk the final mile alone with his walker, but the pair was unable to finish the race.

The video, a side by side look at Agar's training for IRONMAN in Florida and Phelps' regimen ahead of his final Olympics, was produced by Agar's mother to motivate him to make the mile-long walk. The Phelps video became one of the most shared ads of the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio, offering a 90-second glimpse of one of the world's most famous athletes training away from the spotlight.

On Johnny Agar's "Team Agar" website, he says he and his dad started running five years ago and the pair has completed numerous 5ks, 10ks and a few marathons and triathlons. 

"One day recently I decided to give my Dad a little break, after all, I’m not the lightest person to push," Agar says on the website. "So I took it upon myself to start training for my own race. ... My goal in mind was to walk a mile, something that would normally be easy for others but for me, it was my own marathon."

Agar's video imitating the Phelps ad, posted on You Tube March 21, caught Phelps' attention. The Olympic great called Agar to offer a pep talk.

And he followed it up with a tweet.

"Anything is possible, the bigger you dream the further you get," Phelps tweeted. "Good luck this weekend Johnny I'm pulling for you."

lorraine.mirabella@baltsun.com 

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