Welcome to my first blog posting for my challenge to run 7 marathons on 7 continents to help fight MLD!  I am sure the first question you are asking is, “Is this for real?” or “Chris, are you serious?”  Yep, it’s happening and even I am a bit surprised at what I have signed up for. The next two years are going to be an amazing experience and please continue to check in with me along the way.

Using this blog I am going to chronicle the journey of training and running these 7 marathons while also trying to inform you about MLD.  For this post I would like to share a few things about the rare disease MLD to get kicked off.

Feb 29th (the 28th in non-leap years like 2015) is World Rare Disease Day.  While MLD is ultra-rare, 1 in 10 of us has a rare disease.  Finding the right therapy for MLD will help reduce the rare disease statistics:
  • There are approximately 7,000 different types of rare diseases and disorders, with more being discovered each day
  • 30 million people in the United States are living with rare diseases. This equates to 1 in 10 Americans or 10% of the U.S. population
  • Similar to the United States, Europe has approximately 30 million people living with rare diseases. It is estimated that 350 million people worldwide suffer from rare diseases … also about 1 in 10 or 10%
  • If all of the people with rare diseases lived in one country,  it would be the world’s 3rd most populous country
  • 1 in 100 of the general population is a carrier for MLD – and they don’t know it.  That’s 3 school classrooms, 1 or 2 in every grocery store or movie theater, … or 57 carriers in a sold out event at the Sydney Opera House!
  • 2 carriers have a 1 in 4 chance of having a child with MLD

This information hopefully gives you an understanding how a rare disease like MLD can affect anyone around the world and does not care about what flag you fly under, what language you speak, what latitude you live at, or what time zone you live in.  MLD can affect families on any continent and even with only about 100 permanent people in Antarctica at one time, someone there will be a MLD carrier.

Two weeks from this Sunday is the Tokyo Marathon and the start of my Run Over MLD challenge! The first race in this challenge is the Tokyo Marathon on February 22nd and I am thrilled to be running it.  This race is one of the six World Marathon Majors that includes the Boston, Chicago, New York, Berlin, and London Marathons.  Getting a spot in this race is not easy.  Approximately 350,000 people applied for an entry into this race and only 35,000 spaces are available.  By some stroke of good luck I was granted an entry and am very excited to be participating.  Japan is one of my favorite countries to visit and running the streets of Tokyo will be a surreal experience.  I will be taking lots of photos and videos from Tokyo and posting them prior to and after the race.  Additionally I will be posting a link to the race tracker that will allow you to monitor my race process in real time to see just how slow I actually run!!

Please be sure and donate to the MLD Foundation from the links on this site.  They are a great organization that helps out families like Cori’s who are burdened by this horrible disease.  I will be eternally grateful for your donations and support on this challenge.

Arigato Gozaimasu!!(That’s Thank You Very Much in Japanese!)