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North Jersey Amputee Suffers Concussion 22 Miles Into Chicago Marathon, Still Kicks Butt To End

Brian Reynolds proves that only we know what’s possible for ourselves. Watch him crush limits in his pursuit to become the first double amputee to run a sub 3-hour marathon at this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon.
Brian Reynolds proves that only we know what’s possible for ourselves. Watch him crush limits in his pursuit to become the first double amputee to run a sub 3-hour marathon at this year’s Bank of America Chicago Marathon. Video Credit: Bank of America
Brian Reynolds of Clifton is setting out to break a sub three-hour time at the Chicago Marathon. Photo Credit: Brian Reynolds

North Jersey's Brian Reynolds was projected to to finish Sunday's Chicago Marathon in 2:56 with ease.

He was running a consistent 6:45-minute mile pace and on track to break his next record, becoming the first American double-amputee to finish a marathon in less than three hours.

During the 22nd mile, though, Reynolds fell, suffering a concussion and knocking his time down significantly.

Always one to finish what he started, Reynolds -- formerly of Clifton -- went on to finish in 3:03.

Disappointed? Certainly. Regretful? Maybe a bit. Determined? More than ever before.

"Despite not reaching my goal today I have still run a personal record in every single one of my marathons," said Reynolds of Bloomfield, 30, moments after the race. "Even on my worst day I have the motivation, determination and grit to dig deep and get to that finish line.

"The marathon humbles you no matter how prepared you are."

Reynolds was born with an immune disorder and contracted a rare form of meningitis at four years old. The illness resulted in a bilateral leg amputation below the knee. Active throughout his whole life, Reynolds has vivid memories of climbing up stairs and trees prior to the surgery.

He got into power lifting in college and later hiking, a challenge considering he could barely walk a mile. Reynolds picked up running in 2012 to hone his endurance on the mountains -- among them Mt. Kilimanjaro.

"I didn't start running to become a marathoner," he said. "It was a slow fall-in-love process."

A painful one, too. Reynolds learned to run on his "walking legs" -- heavy, plastic prosthetics that left him blistered and bleeding after every training session.

At the end of 2013, just after moving to New Jersey with his wife, Reynolds ordered his new "running legs." While waiting for them and letting his legs heal, he signed up for his first marathon.

It wasn't until a week before that the new prosthetics finally came -- and changed his life for the better. Seemingly overnight, Reynolds' mile time went from 10 minutes to 7.5 minutes.

"I finished the marathon without any chaffing, cuts or blisters," he said. "It was the most remarkable thing I'd ever seen."

Last year, Reynolds broke the double below-the-knee amputee world marathon record during the 2017 Chicago Marathon with a time of 3:06:31.

He says even if he did accomplish his sub-three-hour goal this year, his work still would not be over.

"I have no idea what my peak will be but I know it's far faster," the father of two said. "There is always another goal after each race. I am going to focus on building my endurance and speed on some shorter distance races before attempting the marathon again.

"I know I have a long future in running."

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