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Alberta man without hands, legs petitions to join marathon with longboard

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Alberta man without hands, legs petitions to join marathon with longboard
WATCH ABOVE: A southern Alberta man has travelled the world raising awareness of his condition, but his mode of transportation has left him excluded from one challenge he’s determined to overcome. Tracy Nagai reports – Jan 12, 2016

Alberta’s Chris Koch was born without hands or legs – but it hasn’t slowed him down yet. Determination has taken him throughout school halls of Alberta – and places much farther – while sharing his story. But now he has a special request for an upcoming American race.

“The whole motto about what I speak about is…anything that you want, if you want it bad enough, you can do it,” Koch said. "If I can do it, anybody can do it."

READ MORE: Alberta Sports Hall of Fame inducts class of 2015

He’s climbed the Calgary Tower, appeared on the Oprah Winfrey Network, and helps with the family farm during his down time.

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But now, it’s his trusty longboard that has become a concern.

Even though Koch has used his longboard to get around in a dozen different countries, he says officials with the Los Angeles Marathon won’t let him use it during the race. He said they told him it’s a safety risk for Koch along with other participants.

“[An official] said if he allows me to use the longboard for the race that they would all of a sudden have to start allowing racers to take their selfie sticks with them, or their stuffed giraffe with them.

Koch and his girlfriend, Ally, were hoping to participate in the race on Valentine’s Day.

Koch started an online petition asking to be allowed to participate with his “mobility device.” It had garnered more than 800 signatures as of Tuesday afternoon. The couple said even if they can’t participate in the L.A. Marathon, they’ll be pounding the pavement somewhere on Feb. 14.

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The L.A. Marathon said the safety of participants is its first priority in a statement sent Wednesday morning.

“We have thoughtfully established rules in line with other large marathons that do not permit skateboards on the marathon course,” said the statement.

Editor’s note: This story was initially published Jan. 12, and was updated Jan. 13 with a statement from the L.A. Marathon.

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