Man Born Without Arms or Legs Completes His First Marathon: 'I'm Like Everyone Else'
Many dream of running across the finish line of a marathon, but this Canadian man did it a little differently.
Chris Koch, 38, from Nanton, Alberta was born without arms or legs, but that didn't stop him from completing the Calgary Marathon in an impressive 4 hours, 23 minutes and 12 seconds.
"Race day itself was incredible," Koch told InsideEdition.com, smiling. "I had a lot of people coming up to me beforehand, congratulating me, wishing me nothing but the best."
Koch, who is also a motivational speaker, explained that he competed in the race on his long board, his usual method of transportation. He balances himself on the board using the left side of his body, and uses his right side, where he has a partially formed leg, to push off.
Koch is only a total of 3.5 feet tall atop his long board, so to make it easier for other runners to see him, he wore a bright shirt and was accompanied by a cyclist.
Similar to any other runner, he said the uphill portion of the race was the most tiring. On downhill sections, Koch said, "I wouldn't go as fast as I could. Calgary Marathon is giving me this opportunity and I wasn't going to fly down the road."
Even so, competing in his first ever marathon for a good cause, Koch was able to finish faster than his original goal of 4 hours and 30 minutes.
Although the furthest he has ever traveled by long board was 48 miles — almost double the length of a full marathon — Koch said that increasing his distance was a major part of his training.
On days he could not long board outside, he would stay active by climbing up and down the stairs, or doing push-ups and crunches.
Even though he came up with a unique way to complete the race, Koch insisted he's no different than anybody else.
"I was never raised as that poor guy without arms or legs," he told InsideEdition.com. "I played sports like everybody else, went to school like everybody else, got in trouble like everybody else — about as normal an upbringing as you can get for a situation like mine."
He even joked, "My grandma's reaction to when I was born was joking around, saying my dad never finished anything he started."
Koch said he was originally inspired by his mom, who has run marathons before, to compete in a marathon himself.
However, he soon found that the most difficult part of competing in the marathon was actually finding a marathon that would allow him to compete.
At first, he sought to compete in the LA Marathon, where he would do half the marathon, and his girlfriend would take over the other half.
They rejected him due to safety concerns for both Koch as well as other runners, but he said he hoped completing the Calgary Marathon successfully would prove anything is possible.
"I want to show them it's not a problem, and now I have the Calgary Marathon as proof," he said.