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19-year-old becomes the youngest person with Down Syndrome to complete a marathon

Martin Lloyd set a Guinness World Record, completing the TCS London marathon with his mom's support.

19-year-old becomes the youngest person with Down Syndrome to complete a marathon
Cover Image Source: YouTube | TCS London Marathon


A teenager with Down syndrome made history by completing the TCS London Marathon on April 21, 2024. At 19, Martin Lloyd is the youngest individual with Down syndrome to accomplish this feat. He joined 50,000 other people at the start line at Greenwich Park for the marathon, per Special Olympics. His proud mom, Ceri Hooper, told the outlet before the marathon, “He has not missed one training session and has been out there running in every condition possible, whether it’s been bitterly cold or pouring with rain. He’s now reached 17 miles and is in a great place ready to add those extra miles with a month to go.”

Representative Image Source: Pexels | Snapwire
Representative Image Source: Pexels | Snapwire

Lloyd, an athlete in football and gymnastics with Special Olympics GB, completed the 26.2-mile race despite undergoing knee surgery in 2021, highlighting his remarkable resilience. “There were a few people who questioned whether Lloyd could do it when he was awarded his marathon place last autumn,” Hooper shared. She further added, “He hadn’t experienced running more than the regular 3.1 miles for Park Run events, and it was less than four years ago that he had two pins removed from his legs after undergoing surgery." Despite considerable odds, he persisted and left his mark. Hooper pointed out, “He’s been so committed since he first said he said to me ‘let’s do it’ last autumn. It’s been an amazing journey and it’s wonderful to see him thriving in so many different sports and events.”

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Yet, this isn’t the first time Lloyd has defied the odds. Lloyd was diagnosed with Down Syndrome soon after his birth and had a hole in his heart. Doctors once believed he might never walk, talk, or feed himself. His mom never gave up as she signed Lloyd up for several classes, even as a kid. She shared it took the teen a bit more time than the others, but he developed many skills like dance and gymnastics. “Like many other children with Down syndrome, he was flexible and he could do the splits as a toddler. His dad was a gymnast and given that Lloyd showed so much potential, so we took him to classes. He loved it and gymnastics remains his favorite sport to this day," Hooper revealed.

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At 13, he was told that the hole in his heart had closed after tests and he wouldn't have to go through surgery for the same. The boy has always been enthusiastic and dedicated to training and has joined several sports events, including the local Park Run event. He also won a gold medal in vaulting at the 2023 British Disability Championships, according to My Modern Met. Lloyd finished the marathon at 6:46:10, making him a Guinness World Record holder. "Really, anything is possible if you put your mind to it," his mother told BBC News.


“We started increasing his runs slightly, from the Park Run three miles, in December. We started adding more miles after Christmas and incorporated speed work on the treadmill," Hooper said while sharing her son's preparation. The boy shares a very close bond with his mom, who also ran the marathon with him. After the teen created the world record, the mother-son duo even received a special congratulations at Leicester Square, which was absolutely heartwarming

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