Grand Rapids man to cycle Detroit marathon despite amputation

Posted at 10:09 PM, Oct 19, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-20 16:40:25-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A swim coach and teacher at East Grand Rapids High School is headed to Detroit this weekend to compete in the Detroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon in his hand cycle.

Chris Ingram was an avid runner in his younger years, competing in several triathlons.  But Ingram says he started to slow down in the early 2000's.  He eventually lost one of his legs to peripheral artery disease in 2009.

Throughout the years since then Ingram heard about hand cycles and says he had considered getting one.  He hesitated though, as he was taking care of his wife's medical problems for some time.

"After I lost my leg in 2009, a hand cycle was always something I wanted to get. But I was spending a lot of time taking care of my wife with Parkinsons and she was concerned I wouldn't have enough time to use it."

Ingram's wife sadly passed away in August of 2017.  It was soon after that he decided to take the plunge into the world of hand cycling.

"I remember it was a nice spring day in April.. I went over to my neighbors who are avid cyclers. I said 'what do you think about me buying a hand cycle?'  They thought it was a good idea. So, I just called and ordered one online and the rest is history."

Ingram's first jump back into marathons was at last year's Grand Rapids Marathon.  After that, he participated in the Riverbank Run and a marathon in Chicago before the big race this weekend.

"Once you get used to it, it wasn't that bad. Its been good for me.. I've lost some weight, I'm feeling a lot better. Overall, it's been a great thing."

Ingram says theDetroit Free Press/Chemical Bank Marathon this weekend is only the beginning of his jump back into an active lifestyle.

"I'm really looking forward to Sunday. It's going to be a fun race... but I hope I can ride for as long as I want to ride."