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Brothers Go the Distance

A teen triathlon racer never leaves his brother behind

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Noah (top) and Lucas both compete and play together.

Noah Aldrich, 14, regularly competes in youth triathlons. Triathlons are long-distance races that involve swimming, biking, and running. Noah hasn’t won a race, but he’s not trying to. He refuses to leave behind his 12-year-old brother, Lucas, who is in a wheelchair. Noah pulls his brother on a raft when he swims and in a trailer when he bikes. He pushes Lucas in a cart during the running portion of the triathlons. 

Lucas has a rare condition called lissencephaly (lih-sehn-SEH-fuh-lee). This means “smooth brain.” People with the condition lack the folds that are  part of a healthy brain. They can have difficulty walking, talking, and swallowing, among other symptoms. 

Noah Aldrich is 14. He competes in youth triathlons. Triathlons are long-distance races. Racers in a triathlon run. They also swim and bike. Noah hasn’t won a race. But he’s not trying to. He refuses to leave behind his 12-year-old brother, Lucas. Lucas is in a wheelchair. Noah pulls his brother on a raft when he swims. He pulls him in a trailer when he bikes. He pushes Lucas in a cart when he runs.

Lucas has a rare condition. It’s called lissencephaly (lih-sehn-SEH-fuh-lee). This means “smooth brain.” People with this condition don’t have the folds that are part of a healthy brain. They can have difficulty walking and talking. They might also have trouble swallowing. There are other symptoms, too.

In Noah’s view, this doesn’t mean that Lucas should be left out. “Even though kids like Lucas have disabilities, it doesn’t mean that they’re limited,” Noah says. “You can find a way to include them in everything.” And that’s exactly what Noah does.

When Noah was 8 years old, his mother showed him a video of two brothers competing in a triathlon. One had a disability. “It inspired me to do that with Lucas,” Noah says. 

Noah doesn’t think that means that Lucas should be left out. “Even though kids like Lucas have disabilities, it doesn’t mean that they’re limited,” Noah says. “You can find a way to include them in everything.” And that’s exactly what Noah does.

Noah’s mother showed him a video when he was 8 years old of two brothers competing in a triathlon. One had a disability. “It inspired me to do that with Lucas,” Noah says.

Stephen Brashear/Getty Image

Noah and Lucas threw the ceremonial first pitch at a Seattle Mariners game in 2017.

Training for such a grueling race isn’t easy, but Noah had an extra challenge. “I couldn’t even swim,” says Noah. “I had to learn before our first triathlon.” 

Noah trained hard in the pool at his local gym. Lucas joined him. 

On race day, Noah wasn’t sure he was ready, but he was determined to try. When they successfully crossed the finish line, Lucas’s face said it all. “He was the happiest I’ve ever seen him,” says Noah. “It was a great experience. We’re still doing it!”

In the six years since their first race, Noah and Lucas have competed in about 30 triathlons together. Noah knows he must work much harder than his competitors to get them both across the finish line. To prepare for races, the brothers train daily. “It’s not easy,” says Noah. “I have to be prepared so I can finish and keep Lucas safe.”

Training for such a difficult race isn’t easy. But Noah had an extra challenge. “I couldn’t even swim,” says Noah. “I had to learn before our first triathlon.”

Noah trained hard in the pool at his local gym. Lucas joined him.

Noah wasn’t sure he was ready on race day. But he was determined to try. When they successfully crossed the finish line, Lucas’s face said it all. “He was the happiest I’ve ever seen him,” says Noah. “It was a great experience. We’re still doing it!”

It has been six years since their first race. Noah and Lucas have competed in about 30 triathlons together. Noah knows he must work much harder than his competitors to get them both across the finish line. The brothers train daily to prepare for races. “It’s not easy,” says Noah. “I have to be prepared so I can finish and keep Lucas safe.”

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The Aldriches make sure Lucas gets to experience all the family’s adventures.

Lucas’s condition can worsen at any time. So the brothers don’t take their time together for granted. “We do everything together,” Noah says. “We go everywhere together.”

They also don’t let the uncertainty about the future hold them back. Their goal is to someday compete in a grueling Ironman Triathlon. 

Noah’s bond with his brother has inspired many people. But Noah doesn’t feel that what he does is anything extraordinary. 

“I just wanted to do something for my brother,” he says. “Lucas doesn’t usually get to compete in typical sports. I can give him something that he doesn’t normally get to experience.”

Lucas’s condition can worsen at any time. So the brothers don’t take their time together for granted. “We do everything together,” Noah says. “We go everywhere together.”

They also don’t let the uncertainty about the future hold them back. Their goal is to someday compete in an Ironman Triathlon.

Noah’s bond with his brother has inspired many people. But Noah doesn’t feel that what he does is anything extraordinary.

“I just wanted to do something for my brother,” he says. “Lucas doesn’t usually get to compete in typical sports. I can give him something that he doesn’t normally get to experience.”

Noah and Lucas compete in a race that includes swimming 6 laps. Which unit of measure is best to measure the swim’s distance?

Noah and Lucas compete in a race that includes swimming 6 laps. Which unit of measure is best to measure the swim’s distance?

A. inch

A. inch

B. foot

B. foot

C. meter

C. meter

D. mile

D. mile

Noah and Lucas competed in their first youth triathlon when Noah was 8 years old. What was the shortest distance Noah would have biked? 

Noah and Lucas competed in their first youth triathlon when Noah was 8 years old. What was the shortest distance Noah would have biked? 

How far is the longest distance of a youth (13-15) run in kilometers? 

How far is the longest distance of a youth (13-15) run in kilometers? 

A. How much farther do athletes bike in an Ironman than in an Olympic triathlon?

A. How much farther do athletes bike in an Ironman than in an Olympic triathlon?

B. Express that distance in meters.

B. Express that distance in meters.

A youth triathlon has a 200-meter swim. How far is the swim in kilometers? 

A youth triathlon has a 200-meter swim. How far is the swim in kilometers? 

A. Noah and Lucas finished a 200-meter swim in 341.26 seconds. In another race, they finished a 200-meter swim in 341.21 seconds. Which time was faster?

A. Noah and Lucas finished a 200-meter swim in 341.26 seconds. In another race, they finished a 200-meter swim in 341.21 seconds. Which time was faster?

B. Write a comparison statement with the times above using >, <, or =.  

B. Write a comparison statement with the times above using >, <, or =.  

Noah and Lucas compete in a triathlon that starts at 1:15 p.m. They finish the race at 2:02 p.m. How long did they take to complete the course? Use the T-Chart to help.

Noah and Lucas compete in a triathlon that starts at 1:15 p.m. They finish the race at 2:02 p.m. How long did they take to complete the course? Use the T-Chart to help.

The following list shows the amount of time it took Noah and Lucas to complete each leg of a triathlon. What was the total time of their race?

Swim: 3.83 minutes

Transition Time 1: 0.35 minutes

Bike: 28.95 minutes

Transition Time 2: 1.52 minutes

Run: 10.8 minutes

The following list shows the amount of time it took Noah and Lucas to complete each leg of a triathlon. What was the total time of their race?

Swim: 3.83 minutes

Transition Time 1: 0.35 minutes

Bike: 28.95 minutes

Transition Time 2: 1.52 minutes

Run: 10.8 minutes

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