Man, 21, becomes first person with Down's syndrome to complete Ironman triathlon

Three years ago, Chris Nikic’s dad was worried that he was becoming increasingly sedentary.

So he set him a challenge to get 1% fitter every day.

He started with a single push up and now, the 21-year-old has just set a Guinness World Record.

Chris, from Florida, is the first person with Down’s syndrome to complete an Ironman triathlon, which involved a 2.4-mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-marathon run.

Posting on Instagram, he said: ‘IRONMAN. Goal set and achieved.’

He finished the event in 16 hours 46 minutes and 9 seconds, which was 14 minutes under the 17-hour cut off for athletes.

He didn’t have an easy time during the endurance race – he was attacked by ants at a nutrition stop and fell off his bike a few times, leaving his knee cut and dripping with blood as he crossed the line,

But despite that, he was determined to complete the race.

Chris was congratulated by the Ironman organisers and a post on Twitter said: ‘We are beyond inspired, and your accomplishment is a defining moment in Ironman history that can never be taken away from you.’

According to the BBC, his dad Nik said: ‘To Chris, this race was more than just a finish line and celebration of victory,” said his father.

‘Ironman has served as his platform to become one step closer to his goal of living a life of inclusion, normalcy, and leadership. It’s about being an example to other kids and families that face similar barriers, proving no dream or goal is too high.

‘If Chris can do an Ironman, he can do anything.’

Chris used the event to raise over $46,000 (£34,000) for Down’s syndrome charities and the Special Olympics.

And he’s moving onto more challenges, including qualifying to compete in triathlon for the 2022 Special Olympics USA Games, to be held in Orlando in 2022.

His Instagram post added: ‘Time to set a new and BIGGER Goal for 2021. Whatever it is the strategy is the same. 1% Better every day.’

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