Runner hopes to be first woman with Down syndrome to finish Austin Marathon

Kayleigh Williamson hopes to be the first person with Down syndrome to finish the Austin Marathon
Kayleigh Williamson hopes to be the first person with Down syndrome to finish the Austin Marathon

AUSTIN (KXAN) — This weekend the Austin Marathon will test the strength and endurance of thousands of athletes. One of those runners is 26-year-old Kayleigh Williamson, who hopes to set a record of her own for the city.

She has Down syndrome and was inspired to run long distances because of her mother. Williamson trains at RunLab Austin, working with specialists on her stability and technique.

“I love my mom, I told her it’s changed my life,” said Williamson.

She’s planning to run the half marathon, 13.1 miles.

“I don’t know of another Down syndrome person that’s completed the race,” said Dr. Kimberly Davis, owner of RunLab. “So we’re all going to be there running with her, cheering her on and hopefully getting her to the finish line. She’s been putting in the work so I think she can do it.”

Williamson is part of the Down Syndrome Association of Central Texas (DSACT). One of her running partners will be Board President Allie McCann.

I was so excited because I have a 7-year-old-daughter with Down syndrome and to be honest, it just wasn’t something on my radar,” said McCann. “I love hearing about people breaking barriers.”

Williamson’s trainers at RunLab say she’s inspiring them all, and hope her story is heard by many.

“I’m just hoping parents of Down syndrome individuals will see this and recognize their kids can run, and maybe be inspired to reach out to us to see how we can help,” said Davis.

RunLab says Williamson is the first person with Down syndrome they’ve helped train, but they have worked with other people who have disabilities like multiple sclerosis and cerebral palsy.

DSACT says it has raised almost $10,000 and that the Moody Foundation will be matching the donation. You can still donate to DSACT or a runner. 

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