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Teen with Down syndrome makes history at London Marathon



Teen with Down syndrome makes history at London Marathon

A 19-year-old runner with Down syndrome has become the youngest person with a learning disability to complete a marathon.

Lloyd Martin created history by running the 26.2-mile (42km) course of the London marathon guided by his mother Ceri Hooper, 54, on Sunday.

More than 50,000 elite and charitable runners took to the streets of the British capital, with a record 578,000 people entering the ballot for this event, making it the most popular marathon in the world.

The Guinness World Records awarded Mr Martin a certificate at the end of the race. He is the youngest person to complete a marathon in the intellectual impairment category (LL2), the book of records announced on X.

The teenager and his mother broke down in tears after finishing the race. “In Lloyd’s words, it’s achieving his dream,” Ms Hooper was quoted by the BBC as saying.

“Really anything is possible if you put your mind to it. With a bit of work, you can achieve it.”

Mr Martin ran the first 14 miles of the marathon without stopping, which was the farthest he had ever run, his mother said. He then walked the rest of the miles till the finish line as the crowd cheered for him.

“It was tough, but we had a ball,” Ms Hooper said, adding that her son’s achievement was important for people with Down syndrome.

“We did not say a lot when we crossed the finish line. We just both burst into tears,” she said.

Prior to the marathon, Mr Martin had run the farthest distance of 5km in November last year.

Runners cross Tower Bridge during the TCS London Marathon (Aaron Chown/PA) (PA Wire)

Reigning Olympic champion Peres Jepchirchir crushed the women’s-only world record in winning the 44th marathon, while Kenyan compatriot Alexander Mutiso Munyao raced to victory in the men’s race.

The 30-year-old Jepchirchir pulled away over the final 300m in a sprint finish, crossing the finish line in front of Buckingham Palace in two hours 16 minutes 16 seconds to break Mary Keitany’s mark of 2.17.01 set in a women-only race at the 2017 London event.

Munyao, 27, pumped his fist several times en route to the biggest victory of his career, pulling away from distance running great Kenenisa Bekele to cross in 2.04.01.

Ethiopia’s 41-year-old Bekele – who has raced to three Olympic titles on the track and a remarkable 17 world titles in outdoor and indoor track and cross-country – was second in 2.04.15, while Britain’s Emile Cairess took third in 2.06.46.

David Weir congratulates winner Marcel Hug (AP)

Marcel Hug won the men’s wheelchair race, while Swiss team mate Catherine Debrunner won the women’s event.

Also among the runners were 20 MPs and peers, the most in the event’s history, including chancellor Jeremy Hunt.

There were 30 seconds of applause before the race in memory of last year’s elite men’s race winner Kelvin Kiptum, who died in a car accident in February at the age of 24.

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