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Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Four Minute Mile and Proving the Experts Wrong

Team CMT at Bike New York- 2014

" Change your thoughts and change your world."- Norman Vincent Peale

On this day in 1964 Roger Banister did something many thought was impossible for the human body. He ran a sub 4 minute mile.  Experts predicted it was not humanly possible, yet Banister did it.

What is even more amazing is what happened next. Two months later two runners broke the mark at the Commonwealth Games in Vancouver Canada.  Thirteen months later three runners broke the 4 minute mark in the same race.  Over the next five years 22 runners did what was once thought was impossible by breaking the same 4 min per mile mark.

It changed when someone saw it could be done. It changed what runners thought was possible. Once someone did it many others followed.

When I had dinner with Team CMT member CJ  in Boston she shared with me that she never knew running Boston was possible until she saw me do it.  While I was probably not the first person with CMT to run Boston, I certainly was the most public.  Five members of Team CMT have run times that have qualified them for Boston. All have CMT.  CJ and have both ran Boston this year. I hope we are the first of many.

People with CMT were once told not to exercise because it would accelerate their condition. I still hear that sometimes in discussion groups on facebook.   But because of the efforts of this team I have seen that discussion change.

Now more often I see discussion about what someone can do.  The perception of what we can do has changed within the community.  Athletes on the team doing running events, biking, swimming and doing triathlons are showing the world what we can do and I am so proud of them.  We have five Team CMT members with CMT that have completed the Ironman Triathlon distance. No one in the medical community would ever have thought that was possible We are making the impossible possible.

I have been told by more than one physical therapist that people with CMT cannot run. Some of us can and we have proved the experts wrong by competing in events like the Boston Marathon, Ironman Triathlons and the National Paratriathlon Championship.  We that even with CMT we can lead full and active lives.

Like Roger Banister we're proving the experts wrong. I expect many more success stories to come!


Author at the 2014 Boston Marathon

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Chris is a triathlete and long distance runner. She is a two time participant of the Boston Marathon.  She was the 2012 National Champion Paratriathlon Open Division. In 2013 she qualified as a member of the Team USA Duathlon Team. She will compete in 2014 at the Age Group World Duathlon Sprint Championship in Pontevedre Spain.

She is the author of the book, “Running for My Life” that details her experience as a CMT affected athlete.

You may visit her author page at:

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have 149 members in 27 states. We also have members in Australia, Canada, Vietnam, Turkey, Finland and Iran. If you wish to join us visit our web site; or

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

Additional Link
Follow CMT affected Paratriathlete Timmy Dixon

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