If He Can…

Born with no arms or legs, nothing holds back Chris Koch

Chris Koch
Photo: Anna Tenne

When Chris Koch lines up for the start of the 2016 Scotiabank Calgary Marathon on May 29, he’ll be the man paddling a skateboard with no arms or legs.

Koch’s positive and purposeful attitude have led him to experience adventures that would be considered difficult for someone with four limbs, let alone a person born with no limbs at all. He’s travelled the world, been wakesurfing, skiing and has stair-climbed tall buildings. Completing a marathon? No problem.

Koch, 37,  was recently blocked from competing on his longboard at the Los Angeles Marathon, but organizers at his home province marathon in Alberta rolled out the red carpet for this dynamic and inspirational man.

Considering the perception that life would be filled with trials and tribulations, Koch entered this world smothered in love and humour. When Koch’s grandmother was told his parents had given birth to a healthy baby boy — with no arms or legs — her reaction was, “Well Bruce (Koch’s father) never did finish anything he started.”

“My grandma’s initial reaction set the stage and we were going to make the most of the situation,” says Koch, who attributes his normal childhood upbringing to the quick sense of humour his family raised him with. Determined to be just like the rest of the kids, Koch grew up playing sports and even worked on his grandpa’s farm near Nanton, Alta. operating heavy machinery.

Not every day has been roses, and not every day is great, but there is something great in every day.

“Not every day has been roses,” says Koch. “And not every day is great, but there is something great in every day.”

Koch is training for the Calgary Marathon by taking his longboard out “for good long strolls,” and he sticks to a schedule similar to that of a runner.

Resolute in his mission to inspire others to overcome obstacles, Koch founded “If I Can…,” a project where he delivers inspiration, comedy and motivational messages through the Chris Koch YouTube channel and at live speaking events. The core belief behind “If I Can…” is to encourage others to live life to their fullest potential and step out of their comfort zone.

“If a guy with no arms and no legs can train for a marathon, really anybody can do anything.”