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Woman batting genetic disorder runs marathons

Woman batting genetic disorder runs marathons

By Trenni Kusnierek and the WTMJ News Team. CREATED Mar 6, 2012

MILWAUKEE- Losing weight and getting fit are two the most popular New Years resolutions. 

TODAY'S TMJ4 talked to a woman whose desire to keep going gets stronger, as her body tells her to stop.

Imagine living with that pins and needles feeling in your hands and feet.  Or having extreme reactions to cold and heat.  Day to day activities would be challenging enough, let alone working up a sweat.  But Chris Wodke found a surprising way to deal with the pain of a progressive neuromuscular disorder.

Chris Wodke literally spends her life exhausted; constantly feeling tired is just one of the many symptoms linked to Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease -- a genetic disorder which causes damage to the peripheral nerves.  It is a disease Wodke, her farther and sister have dealt with their entire lives.

"We would trip and fall all the time...Tired all the time," said Chris Wodke.  "My sister emailed me and said my daughters have this disorder...Went to the website...I said 'that's what i have.'"

Most days, Wodke can function like any one else, but at times normal tasks like pouring a cup of juice, or typing on a computer are extremely difficult.

Which is why it is remarkable that Wodke runs, and not just a few miles here and there.  Wodke is a six-time marathoner.

"People who have CMT often wear braces and have difficulty walking," said Chris Wodke.

Wodke is so strong, she has managed to run fast enough to qualify for the Boston Marathon.

Wodke needed to run 26.2 miles in six hours; she finished the Madison marathon an hour and nine minutes faster -- qualifying her for the Mobility Impaired Division.

Of the 20,000 runners who hit the pavement in Boston, only fifteen are in the mobility imparied division -- and Wodke will be one of them.

You can follow Wodke's progress and learn more about her efforts to help others with CMT, visit run4cmt.com.