Monday, November 18, 2013

Why “RUN” the World?

Why “RUN” the World?

          When I first considered “Run-the-World”, a running theme seemed natural given the popularity of road races - I know because my closet is full of charity race t-shirts.  In addition, I knew I wanted an athletic challenge and I have a modest background in running.  However, this week the reason to “RUN” the World took on a new meaning to me.
          Last night I ran the Rock-n-Rock Half Marathon here in Las Vegas.  My wife was attempting to run her first half-marathon, something she would not have imagined doing just months ago.  We participated in the ceremony to review our wedding vows prior to the race and then ran the full 13.1 miles together.  I feel so fortunate to have been able to run with my wonderful wife and share in her great accomplishment. 
          Unfortunately, this week also highlighted the affect that Parkinson’s Disease can have on one’s ability to run.  Early in the week we had dinner with one of my wife’s friends, who we just discovered has Parkinson’s Disease after I announced my plans for “Run-the-World”.  A former avid runner, our friend hasn’t run for years now.  Later in the week, I received a friendly reply to my request to meet with the Dubai Support Group when I am in their city in April.  This person graciously offered to support my project, but let me know that unfortunately they would not be able to run with me because of the impact Parkinson’s Disease has had on their balance.
          I have a distinct memory of the day I became a distant runner.  As a sophomore in high school I was considering trying out for the high school track team to run the 1600 and 3200 meters.  However, I wasn’t sure I could run that distance, let alone race it.  So I used my car’s odometer to map out a 2 mile course – this was long before GPS and Mapquest. I still remember the fence that marks the 1 mile marker from my childhood house and served as my turn-around point that day.  I struggled a bit, but completed the run and gained the confidence to pursue track and cross country in high school.
          Since that time I have continued to participate in road races with a commitment that has waxed and waned over the years.  However, it has always been reassuring to know that when I have the motivation to train – I can run the races I want.  Nowadays, I notice a very slight lack of coordination in my right leg when I haven’t taken meds, but can’t image that I may not be able to run one day because of  Parkinson’s Disease.  Therefore, in April I will be “RUNNING” the World, because I can….and because many people with Parkinson’s Disease can’t…but hopefully one day advances in medicine will allow everyone with Parkinson’s Disease to be able to “RUN” their own World.


  1. Dear Mark,

    'Apa Khabar' from Azlin and Zawini (Zani's sis and mum) here in Kuala Lumpur. While your news was very unexpected, we have lived closely with a relative who also had early onset Parkinson's and we are acutely aware of the challenges that come with the condition. We admire your positivity and resolve to raise awareness and support for this cause and Insya Allah (God willing) we will be supporting you when you come to Kuala Lumpur for your run next year! Do send our love to Lila and the girls.

  2. Thanks! I'm looking forward to my stop in Malaysia and a chance to see my extended family. Take Care, Mark