Friends for over a decade, the two men have many Ironman and triathlons under their belt. Running, swimming and cycling together since before, this is a real sport brotherhood that was born from this friendship.
Unfortunately, 5 years ago, Yves was diagnosed with a degenerative disease of the nerves which causes inflammation, plunging him in pain and medication.
During an appointment at the physiotherapist, Matthieu saw his friend in physical re-education. Sadly, Matthieu saw his friend loose hope and traction; he was so strong before, and is now so weak.
« Last time I saw him, we were running a of 24 hours race, 140 kilometers under the rain in Mulhouse”, remembered Matthieu Hiltenbrand. And, I was now seeing him trying to get around with a cane. It was devastating and so it made me think. At the same time there was a movie “De toutes nos forces” (With all our strength) on TV, where a father bring his son to an Ironman. And I said to myself: Why not us?
And, with the strength of a lion, nay… with that of a pack of lion’s, that changed.
Training had begun, just like before. Seeing the determination in each other’s eyes was inspiring. The first challenge they completed was a semi-marathon on an old wheel chair. The weather was cold and the trail wasn’t easy.
With the Roth triathlon coming to Bavaria (a familiar race for the two acolytes), the challenge immediately motivated them. The challenge took place on June 3, 2018, after an exhausting and long training.
The Roth Triathlon, as usual, begins with a 3,800m swim, followed by 180km of cycling, and to finish it all, a marathon. Arrived at the edge of the river Roth, Yves smiles and "immediately found the fighting spirit he had before" according to the relatives present. Although the pain will be unimaginable for Yves, the pain related to the movements does not scare him and he is ready to make this triathlon. Wow!
Pulled by his friend Matthieu, Yves sailed 4 km in an inflatable boat. Intense and painful swim for the two heroes, but both motivated by the encouraging spectators.
The 7:30 hour long bike race was certainly one of the most painful moments for both men. Having planned for everything, a real tank helped them climb the heights of the Roth.
Thanks to the fighting spirit of Yves and Matthieu they were able to finish the race. Congratulations to them both
It was surely the longest marathon in Matthew's life, but this big-hearted hero pulled Yves for the last 60 kilometers. After seeing the images, we feel the emotions and the ardent will of these two men.
Under a roar of encouragement, the two heroes arrived. They finally crossed the finish line. Matthieu was exhausted: "I have never felt so bad in my life, but he had done it so it's good, it's done." The emotion is at its height when the two men crossed the finish line and can be proud of it. "It's a great moment for sharing, it's more than an individual race, it's a two-man race and you support yourself a lot in difficult times.”
So it has been a successful race for the he who, thanks to a man, could once again cross finish lines. “It’s showing that when there’s a will there’s a way, and only our limits can stop us." That’s the explanation of his sentence full of meaning. That is the story of two friends, Yves and Matthew, who switched to face the biggest challenge in their lives. Keep moving.