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Monday, April 20, 2015

Meb Moments

Mike Cassidy and Meb Keflezighi at finish of 2013 New York Marathon

"But I also realize that winning doesn't always mean getting 1st place;It means getting the best out of yourself." - Meb Keflezighi

Today Meb further cemented his rock start status with another finish line gesture at today's Boston Marathon.

Meb had been in contention through much of the race. I tracked him on line and when I saw the 1 hr 4 min split at the half way mark I knew it was probably too fast for Meb. He was in it almost to the end when a hamstring injury left him in 8th place.

As he approached the finish line he spotted American elite runner Hilary Dionne about to finish her race. He sprinted to catch her and as they crossed the finish line they raised their arms in triumph.

Meb explained that his gesture was what the running community is all about- to lift one another up.

He said " We start together, for 26.2 miles and we struggle.

Dione said she struggled the whole race and that the gesture made the challenge all worth it.

Meb had just left the finish line area when the bombs exploded in 2013. He vowed to come back to win the race and wrote the names of those killed in the bombing on his race number.

I remember I was on mile 8 last year when I heard a murmur in the crowd and we found out Meb had won last year's Boston Marathon. He showed us all how to take back the marathon for the people of Boston.

Today was not his only finish line gesture. The 2013 New York Marathon had a finish line Meb moment as well.

Mike Cassidy, a 2012 Olympic Trials qualifier was struggling in the New York Marathon. It was not the great race he planned.  Depute having a tough day he decided to keep going.

At mile 23 he realized he had caught up to his idol Meb Kefezighi.  Cassidy said: "Let's go Meb."
They ran together the final three miles, changing places to share the work.

Cassidy said it was like playing basketball with Michael Jordan in game 7 of the NBA finals.

As they entered the final stretch in Central Park, Cassidy turned to Meb as they entered the park and said; "It's been an honor to run with you."

Meb turned to him and said; " No, today is not about us, It's about representing New York. It's about representing Boston. It's about representing the USA and doing something positive for our sport. We will finish this race holding hands."

The pair crossed the finish line together, hands held high, just like today.

What great finishes and what a great man. Meb embodies the spirit of the running community.

I had a similar moment in my 4th marathon here in Milwaukee. It was one of those days every runner has if they run long enough. I was struggling from start to finish.  I wanted to quit.  I talked myself into going to at least 20 miles I figure if I can get that far I can finish.

At the 20 mile mark I met Jim. He was struggling too and we made a pact to get each other to the finish line. We walked and talked and ran. As we finished I grabbed his hand and we crossed together hands held high. I've always remembered that moment.

Everyone has hard days, everyone has challenges. Many of us carry private burdens. We can all be there for each other to inspire and uplift. Meb and Mike Cassidy lifted each other up that day. Today and in New York Meb lifted us all up.

Cassidy said that day in New York he learned from Meb never to quit.  Today we learned another lesson about being a positive influence and being a great representative for an entire community.

Meb did not cross the finish line first today, yet he gave all of us the very best of himself.  Meb, you will always be a winner to me.


Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Chris is a triathlete and long distance runner. She is a three time participant of the Boston Marathon.  In 2012 she finished 2nd at Boston in the Mobility Impaired Division. She was on the course in 2013 when the bombs exploded.

She has appeared three times at the Paratriathlon National Triathlon Sprint Championship. She was the 2012 and 2014 National Champion Paratriathlon Open Division Champion.

In 2014 she was the PC Open Champion at the Duathlon National Championship. She has qualified to represent Team USA at the Aquathon ITU World Championship in Chicago in 2015.  

 In 2014 she represented  the U.S. as a paratriathlete at the Pan-American Triathlon Championship in Dallas, Texas.

She travels around the country raising awareness of CMT.

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 160 members in 32 states. We also have members in Australia, Scotland, 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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