Despite paralysis, man pushes athletic limits

February 27, 2009 10:03:26 AM PST
Alan Robinson has beaten all odds.Doctors told him he would never walk again following a car crash 17 years ago. But since then, he's run the Chicago marathon 11 times and has his sites set on accomplishing an even greater goal.

The Chicagoan is staging his own mission impossible. Robinson completed the event in little more than six hours even though he was once paralyzed from the neck down. Doctors gave him little hope of recovery.

"They also said I wasn't supposed to be able to stand up. They actually said when I had my accident that I wasn't gonna live. They told my parents that. They told my mother that if I did live only one side of my body would be able to move," said Robinson.

Since that one car accident 17 years ago, Robinson has completed 11 marathons, most recently the Chicago Marathon, even though he's still considered a quadriplegic.

Robinson is constantly in training and his favorite piece of equipment is the stair master. He has worked out on the machine as much as 18 and a half hours at a time.

Fifty-six and a Vietnam veteran, he is a daily presence at the Equinox Fitness Center where he exercises toward the goals he has set for himself. One of them is to walk from New York to Los Angeles and return on a bike.

Swimming is part of his fitness routine along with challenges like climbing the 724 stairs of the Aon Building nine times.

"I feel that I can inspire people and if I can talk to people to help them change their ways, it's so wonderful knowing that God is with you, knowing that you have a purpose, knowing that you can inspire somebody that's the most wonderful feeling in the world," Robinson said.