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How do you prepare for an English Channel swim in Little Rock? Landlocked on three sides, the city borders the Arkansas River, which is considered unsafe for swimming. If you're Chris M., you train in your home Endless Pools® swimming machine.
As a paratriathlete, Chris faces an additional challenge: "I lost my right leg below the knee when I was 10," he can say matter-of-factly now. He won't let it stop him from tackling the grueling Enduroman Arch2Arc, where he'll run, swim and bike about 289 miles from London to Paris.
The length of a Channel swim varies. It's 21 miles straight across, but with strong tides, Chris expects it'll be "24 to 26 actual swim miles." "I will be the first physically challenged person to complete this race solo," he notes.
"I've enjoyed my Endless Pool. It works great," Chris says of his Original Endless Pool. He kept the standard 7'x14' water area and, working with our staff architects and engineers, customized it to be deeper in the middle.
The Original Endless Pool has a top speed equivalent to a 1:08/100-yard pace. With the pool's current set to it's maximum, "I can sprint and keep up with it for about 30 seconds!"
"I do intervals to build up strength. I swam each arm 5,000 strokes in three hours this Saturday!" The swim is part of his training routine, where it follows his three-hour run and two-hour bike ride. "I'm going to build from that and try to swim the event" in his Endless Pool!
"I did my first sprint triathlon in 2013" using his standard prosthetic leg, which was designed for walking. Chris recalls quickly deciding, "I need one of those fancy legs." After years of development, "we're on version five or six" of his running blade.
Using the running blade, Chris analogizes, "is like showing up to a NASCAR race with a NASCAR [car]; my walking leg is like showing up to a NASCAR race with a blown head gasket and three flat tires."
After feeling a sense of accomplishment in shorter races, he's "recently gotten into crazy long-distance races." He also started racing to give back.
This spring, he participated in the Boston Marathon as "a guide runner for the first 20K" to a fellow amputee who didn't finish the 2013 Marathon due to the bombing. The opportunity to assist "allows a mobility-impaired runner trying to help friends with mobility impairments to participate."
No doubt, Chris intends to take some of that "Boston Strong" spirit overseas for the late-summer Arch2Arc. We wish him all the best!