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BOSTON (CBS) — At just 22 years old, Chris Nikic has already accomplished something very few others dream about: finishing an Ironman triathlon.
And he’s the first with down syndrome to do it.
Last year, Chris swam 2.4 miles in the Panama City, Fla., competition, biked 112 miles, and ran 26.2 miles.
And it was not easy. At one point, he was bitten by a swarm of ants along the course.
“I had bad bites on my legs,” Chris told WBZ-TV.
His father Nik continued the conversation.
“He stopped for nutrition and stepped on a pile of ants,” said Nik. “He was essentially running with poisonous welts throughout his bottom part of the body.”
And yet, Chris finished that race. And now, will run the Boston Marathon on Monday.
Nik says this is all about their motto, ‘Getting 1% better every day.’
“And it’s essentially just one more every time he works out. He started out with one push-up, one sit-up, one squat. Eventually, he got to 200. Now, he’s up to 380.”
Chris has been honored with two ESPY sports awards. He is also a public speaker and has his own book, ‘1% Better.’
Both Chris and Nik say it’s all about inspiring others.
“I want them to just do one percent more and work hard,” Chris says. “If they’re willing to work hard. They’re going to pull through.”
Chris’ father believes the sky is the limit for his son.
“Chris is just getting started. Imagine at 1% improvement what Chris can do at 25. By 30? By 35? By 50? Wherever we’re starting, this process can make our lives that much better going forward.”
And when Chris reaches the Boston Marathon finish line, his plans are similar to those of any other 22-year-old.
“Night clubbing until 2 a.m.!”
Chris also plans to run marathons in New York, Tokyo, and Disney World. And intends to try his next Ironman in Hawaii next year.
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