Down’s syndrome athlete runs into record books at London Marathon

A 19-year-old athlete has become the youngest known person with Down’s syndrome to complete a marathon.

Teenage parkrunner Lloyd Martin finished the TCS London Marathon in six hours, 46 minutes and 10 seconds, setting a new Guinness World Record for his age and intellectual impairment category (II2).

Lloyd, who is also a member of a gymnastics club and regularly plays football, was accompanied around the 26.2-mile course by his mum and trainer Ceri, an experienced marathon runner.


Ahead of the race, Lloyd told ESPN: “Everything is possible. We’re all unique in our different ways and I want to inspire other friends and family.”

Reflecting on their experience shortly afterwards, Ceri said: “It was an incredible performance from Lloyd and we were very emotional at the finish line.

“He fed off the cheering and support from the crowd so much, high fiving lots of people along the way and he even performed a cartwheel or two.”

She added: “He’s come such a long way by getting involved in sport and yesterday was further proof that people with an intellectual disability can achieve amazing things if given the opportunity.”

A matter for Parliament

Lloyd’s achievement flies in the face of abortion law in England and Wales, where unborn babies with Down’s syndrome can be aborted up to birth. However, MPs at Westminster are set to debate and vote on a proposal to outlaw this practice after 24 weeks.

In Great Britain, abortion is currently permitted for most reasons up to 24 weeks, but up to birth if the unborn child is deemed to have a disability, including Down’s syndrome.

Existing tests can detect Down’s with up to 99 per cent accuracy, and 92 per cent of the unborn diagnosed with the condition are aborted. Data from 2021 showed there were 859 abortions for Down’s syndrome, up 25 per cent from the previous year.

In 2022, Down’s syndrome campaigner Heidi Carter (often known by her maiden name Crowter) lost a legal battle to outlaw disability-selective abortion after the Court of Appeal agreed with a High Court ruling which said abortion was a matter for Parliament to decide.

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