Ask Bryant Attorney Chris Madison the difference between a goal and a dream, and he’ll answer in a few brief words. “A goal has a deadline.” Both goals and deadlines are something this 40-year-old knows all too well, working as counsel with Bryant. “I do everything for the City,” he said. “If it touches anything legal, I’ve had my hands on it.”
But in the past 18 months, that same rule has begun applying to a different arena in his life – that of marathon athlete. Accomplishing those goals is especially impressive when you consider Madison competes as a below-knee amputee. “I lost my leg when I was 10-years-old during a boating accident on Lake Hamilton,” he said.
Regardless of the challenge, Madison maintains a strong competitive spirit that helped him in the professional world. However, it wasn’t until mid-2013 that he turned that focus to sports.
“I took on my first sprint triathlon in Bryant,” he said “It was a 400-yard swim, a 13-mile bike ride and a 5K run.” That event proved to be Madison’s first step into a new world. He contacted multi-time champion and paralympian Jeff Glassbrenner for advice. What Madison got in response exceeded his wildest dreams.
“(Glassbrenner) challenged me to qualify and run in the 2014 Boston Marathon,” Madison said. “He ran in the 2013 Marathon when the bombings happened and didn’t finish.”
Following that conversation, Madison was fitted for a proper running leg. He has since competed four marathons, a half-ironman and his first ironman. “That’s a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride and a 26.2-mile run.”
Madison also answered Jeff Glassbrenner’s challenge and was in Boston last April for the Marathon.
“It was an amazing experience,” he said. “Probably never again in my life will I have the chance to perform in a sporting event in front of a million live spectators. There wasn’t a point along the 26.2-mile route that didn’t have people cheering us on.”
Madison’s racing has opened up several doors and provided him with new opportunities. He says his newfound passion will also serve as an inspiration to others seeking to overcome challenges they may face. “I have a fundamental belief that the only thing that can stop you from doing something is yourself.”
Madison recently spoke in Austin, Texas, for the National League of Cities. He’s working on a book and will soon be participating in a study with The University of Colorado. “I’ll be trying out different legs, having my strides measured, along with my heart rate and breathing while running,” he said.
Madison will also be racing in a number of events this year, including the Little Rock Marathon in March. To him, though, he’s just keeping things in their proper perspective. “In a little more than a year, I’m just trying to make up for lost time.”