Athletes Complete New York City Marathon

Chris Nikic at marathon

The athletes of Special Olympics Florida continue to inspire the world. 

Over the weekend, two of our athletes ran and completed the TCS New York City Marathon. Chris Nikic finished the course in 7:12:20, and Samantha Rodriguez completed it in 8:31:11.

These amazing athletes -– both Athlete Ambassadors for the Race for Inclusion -– delivered stellar performances on one of the biggest stages in the sporting world.

Chris made history last year when he became the first person with Down syndrome to complete a full IRONMAN competition. Since then, he’s collected an armful of awards, including an ESPY and a Laureus sports award. In October, he ran the Boston Marathon. Chris has also found time to publish a book, 1% Better: Reaching My Full Potential and How You Can Too.

Samantha and Karina

Samantha became the youngest woman with autism to finish the NYC Marathon. Over the last few years, she’s become an accomplished long-distance runner, training with her mom, Karina. Like Chris, Samantha completed the Boston Marathon, running the race virtually. It’s a remarkable achievement given that doctors once worried Samantha might never walk properly.

Samantha’s mom, a talented runner in her own right, said Samantha has always been willing to push herself and try new things. Athletes like her, Karina said, can do incredible things, if they’re only given the opportunity. "Never give up on your child,” says Karina. “You don’t know what they can do, until you give them a chance."

Check out WPTV’s story on Samantha.