Inspirational English Teen Set to be Youngest Person with Down Syndrome to Complete Marathon

A British teenager is set to become the youngest person with Down Syndrome on record to complete a marathon, shattering expectations of what’s possible for people diagnosed with Down Syndrome. 

Lloyd Martin, 19, has been training to compete in the London Marathon coming up on April 21, 2024, Live Action reported. The English teen has been a lifelong athlete, just like his parents. 

His mom, Ceri Harper, refused to let Lloyd’s Down Syndrome diagnosis restrict him from participating in normal life and achieving his goals.

“We were given so many negative scenarios of what life could be like for Lloyd,” Ceri said, according to Live Action. Undaunted, she signed him up for sports as a young child so he could learn to compete and enjoy athletic activities just like any other kid.

Lloyd is now living a full and active life and has become an accomplished athlete. Today, he’s a Special Olympics Great Britain athlete, competing in gymnastics and football in addition to planning to compete in the London Marathon.

He’s been training for the marathon alongside his mom, who is also an experienced runner.

“I like running with my mum,” Lloyd told News Station in a short video posted to YouTube. “My mum is a marathon runner as well. I love my mum. She’s a legend. She’s my mum.”

Lloyd said he had faced bullying earlier in life. Now, however, he has experienced support and encouragement. He described how he plans to pace himself during the race, indicating that he has no intention of giving up – even when things get tough.

“If I get tired or sore, I’ll just keep going,” he said. “I’ll probably take a break for a few minutes, resync, and then get running again.”

The fearless teen is confident in his ability to achieve his goal – and he’s not the only one.

The Guinness Book of World Records has so much faith in him that they’ve already created a special category just for him, Live Action reported. Once he crosses the finish line, his name will go down in history.

But for Lloyd, competing in the London marathon isn’t primarily about setting or breaking records. It’s about sharing special moments with family.

“If I beat my time, I beat my time,” he said. “It doesn’t matter. It’s not about the timing, it’s about having fun with your family and staying together.”

Had it not been for Lloyd’s family’s resolve not to let Down Syndrome limit him, the spirited teenager’s story could have been much different.

Tragically, many people choose to abort their unborn children when they are diagnosed in utero with Down Syndrome. Live Action noted that a heartbreaking 90% of unborn babies diagnosed with Down Syndrome in the U.K. are aborted – and the percentage goes up to almost 100% in countries like Denmark and Iceland. In the U.S., between 60–90% of Down Syndrome babies are aborted. The high rate of abortion comes in spite of the fact the majority of people with the disability enjoy happiness and fulfillment in life, and recent medical advancements have led to a sharp increase in the life expectancy of Down Syndrome adults.

Meanwhile, Lloyd’s accomplishments provide proof that Down Syndrome diagnoses shouldn’t be feared.

In the short video spotlighting his London Marathon plans, the teen shared words of wisdom and encouragement.

“Don’t take your dreams out of you. Put the dreams in you and think about what you can do,” Lloyd said. “Because anything is possible.”

Written by Ashley Sadler, communications director for Oregon Right to Life.


For more information about Down Syndrome, including facts versus myths about the disability, visit the National Down Syndrome Society at ndss.org. NDSS aims to “[empower] individuals with Down syndrome and their families.” You can also reach out to NDSS via phone at 800-221-4602, or send an email to info@ndss.org.

Anyone interested in adopting children with Down Syndrome is encouraged to check out the National Down Syndrome Adoption Network by clicking https://www.ndsan.org/.

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