The boys did not win the event — they didn’t even come close. But that didn’t stop them from winning hearts across the Internet.
The Long brothers are not your typical triathletes. Six-year-old Cayden has cerebral palsy and can neither walk nor talk. But thanks to the dedication of his older brother, Connor, the young boy has participated in several triathlons.
Wanting to help his brother experience sports like other children, Connor asked his parents if he and Cayden could compete together in a triathlon after he saw an ad for one last year.
His parents agreed and after working out the details with the event’s organizer, Connor and Cayden — under the name Team Long Brothers — took part in their first triathlon last June. It was held in Nashville, Tenn., not far from the boys’ hometown of Whitehouse.
With Connor pushing and pulling his younger brother through the 2.5 mile course, the boys ended up coming in second last. But neither seemed to mind very much.
“[It was] pretty inspiring to some people and it was cool to me that I took on the challenge to pull my younger sibling,” said Connor, who uses a special raft, cart and stroller to get his brother around the race course.
He added that it’s just finishing the race that matters to him. That, and making sure his brother is enjoying himself.
“When I see him smiling and laughing, that means he’s having a good time,” Connortold ESPN.
According to Examiner.com, the brothers have already competed in several triathlons around the country, including the 2011 Iron Kids Triathlon.
Cayden’s mother said that participating in these events has given Cayden an extraordinary gift.
“I know it’s changed him,” she said. “With the help of his brother, he’s found something he can do.”