It's not rare for brothers to want to play together, but for 2 siblings in White House that wasn't possible until now. As FOX17's Cindy Carter shows us, triathlons have given them the opportunity to build the relationship they've longed for. For brothers Conner Green and Cayden long, coming in last place is a sweet victory. The brothers run, swim and bike. They compete together in triathlons as one team. 6 year old Cayden has cerebral palsy, but 8 year old Conner is more than happy to pull and push his little brother toward that finish line. In fact, he refuses to race without him.
"I didn't want Cayde to be left out on the sidelines," says Triathlete Conner Green. "because it isn't fair toward him."
Though Conner always looked otu for Cayden, this brotherly bond was something their mother never expected.
"They have found their love together," says mother Jenny Long. "Their passion and ever since that first race, they have bonded on a different level and I can't even explain it."
Jenny Long says she sensed a loneliness in her oldest son, a desire to play and connect with his little brother, but Cayden's special needs made that seem impossible. Until, earlier this year, Jenny was thumbing through a magazine and Conner noticed an ad for the Nashville Kid's Triathlon.
"Conner was sitting next to me and he starts looking and he's like 'What are those kids doing?'" says Long. "He's like 'I wish Cayden could do that with me' and I was like 'Hmm'."
The brothers entered that first race with no training. The family just wanted to see what would happen. Conner pulled his brother 4 laps in a raft, biked 3 miles with Cayden in a trailer, and ran 1/2 mile pushing a stroller. They finished last.
"It was beautiful," says Long. "the best day of our lives, beside their births."
Other races have followed, including an Iron Kids event in Georgia. One of the boys' paretns thought Conner might like to try by himself, just so he could know what it feels like not to be the last one to cross the finish line. Conner refused to go it alone.
"If I could do it, it wouldn't be fair to Cayden," says Conner. "Because every day it's like he's cooped up in a shell, and it felt good to let him get out."
Now both brothers can finally be together in a way many thought wasn't possible.
"Just watching their faces, just Conner's 'I'm gonna do this' face," says Long. "He's excited, you know, but he's determined. It's priceless and Cayden is just back there laughing. It's just fulfilled us as parents."
Much is said about brotherly love. Cayden and Conner understand it better than most.
"Without Cayden it wouldn't be a team," says Conner. "because there's no 'I' in team."
Conner predicts some day Team Conner and Cayden will cross that finish line in front, not behind, everyone else.
"Conner and Cayden: First Place," says Conner.
Cayden continues to learn sign language which makes it easier for him to communicate with his family. When we asked Conner how long he planned to do these triathlons with his brother, he said "until my body wears out".