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First runner with Down syndrome finishes NYC marathon 

by Melissa Dahl /  / Updated 

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He crossed the finish line hours after the winners, but Jimmy Jenson still set a record at the ING New York City Marathon on Sunday: He's the first person with Down syndrome to complete the race. 

Jenson, who is 48 and from Los Angeles, ran all 26.2 miles with his friend Jennifer Davis at his side. The pair met 12 years ago through the program Best Buddies, a group that aims to connect people who have intellectual disabilities with people who do not. When they met, neither of them were runners. But that changed when Jenson suggested they run a 5K together. Since that first race, the pair have run a number of races together, including the Los Angeles marathon this spring. 

Since he's taken up running, Jenson has lost 69 pounds, but Davis says she's seen a change in his personality, too. When she first met him, she told TODAY, "He would sit in the corner, kind of cross-legged. He's become so much more outgoing." 

Jenson and Davis finished their race in just over eight hours, and Jenson encouraged other runners along the way -- he told them if he could keep going, then so could they. After crossing the finish line, he kissed Davis on the cheek, and told her, "Thank you." 


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