A 26-year-old woman with Down syndrome turned her dream of running the Austin half marathon into reality on Feb. 19.
Kayleigh Williamson was determined to get to the finish line and completed the run in 13.1 miles in six hours, 22 minutes, and 57 seconds.
Kayleigh’s mother Sandy isn’t surprised that she became the first person with Down syndrome to complete the half marathon.
Her daughter has done Krav Maga for three years, swims and plays basketball with the Special Olympics.
“She doesn’t seem to have it in her to say ‘OK, I quit,’ ” Sandy told TODAY, although at times her daughter was in pain throughout the race.
“I can do this and I am going to do this and no one is going to stop me,” she told her mom.
Alongside Kayleigh: about two dozen people and a goldendoodle named Chuck who ran and walked with her. Kim Davis, owner of RunLab Austin, has been helping Kayleigh with an ankle injury and was with her the entire time.
Towards the very end of the half marathon, Davis brought in Kayleigh’s friends who continued to cheer her on.
“By the end of the race she had about 15 or 20 people there,” Davis told the news outlet. “It was really cool.”
Added her mother: “They would stop and start yelling and encouraging her. The whole city was watching her.”