Trailblazing Sam Holness 'proud' to become first openly autistic triathlete to compete in Ironman World Championship | The Sun

SAM HOLNESS says he is "proud" to have broken new ground as the first openly autistic triathlete to compete at the Ironman World Championship in Hawaii on Saturday

The London-born 29-year-old finished the 3.8km swim, 180km, bike and full 42.2km marathon in 13h 05m 44s.

Holness, who didn't speak till age six but learnt to swim at three, said: "I hope I motivate other people with autism to do a triathlon.

"When I take part in Ironman races I'm like 'why am I the only one with autism?'

"It was an epic event. I had some tummy issues that made it really hard, but I pushed through, and I am so happy to finish. 

“I’m definitely going to come back. I want to do this again and podium one day! 


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He continued: “Now I want to go have some pizza and thank all the people of Hawaii who made today so awesome!” 

Holness completed his first full Ironman of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile cycle and marathon at the European Championship in Frankfurt earlier this year having previously raced marathons and shorter distance triathlons.

Hetried other sports as a youngster including archery, judo and running before putting all his energy into triathlon, with a gruelling training schedule of 24 hours a week.

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But Holness truly found found comfort in the repetitive nature of triathlon training.

His dad and coach Tony said: "I call him my hero. We though autism would stop him from doing a lot of things but it's actually been that focus and determination from autism that makes him a good athlete.

"You think of all the downsides of it but it has been the driving force."

Sam Holness is an ambassador for ManCave

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