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Lloyd Martin to become youngest Down’s syndrome marathon runner

The 19-year-old will attempt a world record at the London Marathon this April, with his mum by his side.

Lloyd Martin has wanted to run a marathon for years, according to his mum Ceri Hooper.

Hooper has run many marathons herself, running London four times and even completing the race in the prestigious Boston and Chicago routes.

Lloyd, her 19 year old son, has always cheered her on from the sidelines. But his dreams to take part himself will finally come true next week, when he takes part in the London marathon alongside his mum.

After receiving a place in November of last year, Lloyd had just five months to train for the gruelling race. But having completed over 30 park runs, he was already a seasoned runner.

Lloyd will join 50,000 runners at the start line in Greenwich Park on Sunday 21st April. But he will be the youngest runner with Down’s syndrome taking part.


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The London Marathon holds a special place in the hearts of runners worldwide, revered for its rich history and electrifying atmosphere.

For Lloyd, crossing the finish line will mark a momentous achievement, one that underscores the transformative impact of sports on individual lives and society as a whole.

His 26.2 mile journey will earn Lloyd a Guinness World Record, as the organisation have created a brand new record title for him to attempt.

According to that title, the 19 year old would be the youngest person to compete in a marathon in the intellectual impairment category (LL2).

The journey to the start line hasn’t been easy, with Lloyd undergoing surgery on his legs less than four years ago.

‘He had two pins removed from his legs after undergoing surgery,’ his mum Ceri said.

‘However, he’s not missed a 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 to ready those extra miles with a month to go.’

Lloyd was diagnosed with a hole in his heart at birth, which is relatively common amongst babies born with Down’s syndrome.

But his family have ensured Lloyd is in good health ahead of the race, and has been cleared to take part by doctors.

‘If I get tired or sore, I’ll just keep going or I’ll probably take a break for a few minutes, then rethink and then get running again,’ Lloyd told the BBC.

‘Just go with it. Embrace it.’

The Special Olympics GB have been central to getting Lloyd a place in the London Marathon this year. His run will help raise vital funds for the organisation, which provides year-round sports training and athletic competition for children and adults with intellectual disabilities.

Lloyd has previously competed in gymnastics disciplines through the non-profit. And since learning that the hole in his heart had closed at age 13, Lloyd started taking part in Park Run events.

Although there is still a few days until the marathon takes place, Lloyd’s story has already garnered attention online, where supporters have started cheering him on.


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‘I’ll be cheering you on from Australia Lloyd,’ said one Instagram user.

Lloyd’s journey is a testament to the transformative power of sports, transcending barriers and inspiring generations regardless of their abilities.

Running has gained massive popularity in recent years, thanks in part to social media. Influencers of all ages, genders, backgrounds, and body types have taken up the sport, with focus moving away from fitness and toward mental health and community.

This shift has highlighted running as a sport that literally anyone can take part in, with more runners signing up for races than ever before. These events were once associated solely with elite and pro-runners. Now, everyone is taking part for the joy of the experience.

Races like the London Marathon are known worldwide for their inclusive nature and supportive crowds, so there’s no doubt Lloyd will be cheered all the way to the finish line in St James Park on Sunday.

‘Don’t take your dreams out of you, put the dreams in you and figure out what you can do because anything is possible,’ he said ahead of what will be the biggest challenge of his life.