There are no limits to what double amputee Brian Reynolds can do. The 29-year-old set the official bilateral below-the-knee amputee world record in the Chicago Marathon on October 8, 2017, where he ran 3:06:31. In his buildup, the ElliptiGO 8C bike was critical in helping him sustain the volume necessary to be competitive since the pounding of running is even more pronounced for amputees. Brian rode the ElliptiGO bike 1 to 2 times a day, 5 days a week in addition to his 50-60 miles of running per week, enabling him to far surpass his anticipated goal of 3:20.
The New Jersey native has overcome overwhelming odds; at the age of four, he contracted meningococcemia, which resulted in becoming a double amputee. Despite prosthetics being very rudimentary in the early 1990s, his parents made sure Brian was involved in sports from a young age, including baseball, basketball and wheelchair racing. Brian took up powerlifting in high school and continued through college, becoming a self-professed “gym rat.” After graduating, he discovered endurance sports through hiking – and met a very special person.
“I stumbled upon a pamphlet for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society and signed up immediately. With this wonderful charity group, I was able to hike the Grand Canyon, Zion National Park and Yosemite, all while raising money,” Brian said. “In Zion, I met a beautiful woman on a mountaintop. She was there with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society as well, and we both happened to arrive early and be hiking the same mountain. While I did not know it then, we were destined for each other. We are now married three years and have two wonderful children.
“Together we decided to tackle even more endurance activities. We trekked through the Andes in Peru following the Inca trail and she encouraged me to start running with her. My hiking adventures led me to hike Mt. Kilimanjaro with another charity called Climb for Sight in 2013. I have only been truly training for a little over a year now. I ran my first marathon in 2014 with my wife and we had a lot of fun. The first marathon I really trained for was Houston in January 2017. I ran 3:37 and then about 10 months later managed to knock another 21 minutes off my time in Chicago.”
Brian’s training for the Chicago Marathon was challenging at first, saying, “The running legs that I had been using were at the end of their useful life expectancy when I began my training cycle. Unfortunately I spent all of July cross-training on the stair machine, bike and aqua jogging. In August, I was able to start light running again, but still had a heavy cross-training component. It was not until September that I was able to get back into my regular training cycle. Typically I run six or seven days a week and add cross training in the evening. I never completely left my powerlifting roots behind me, so I still strength train three days a week. I average between 50-60 miles a week running and usually just do one definitive hard workout per week.
“As an amputee, I have to worry about the skin breaking down on my legs. Recovery is one of the most important factors for any athlete, but this is even more so for me. Not taking care of the skin on my legs could result in days or weeks of missed training. Once I got the ElliptiGO bike at the beginning of September, I changed some of my training. I still ran the same amount, but I start supplementing the ElliptiGO bike. After getting used to the motion, I started using the ElliptiGO bike five days a week, one or two times a day on top of my usual running.”
Brian far surpassed his expectations at Chicago with his new World Record marathon performance by a double below-the-knee amputee. Now he has his sights set on a sub-3:00 marathon, which he strongly believes he can do with the help of his ElliptiGO bike.
“I am fortunate enough to have a great group of people to train with locally that helps push me beyond what I thought I could do. None of my athletic accomplishments would have happened without huge support from my family, friends and wonderful companies such as ElliptiGO,” Brian shared.
We look forward to seeing Brian continue to surpass perceived limits and accomplish great achievements.