Selma runner overcomes Parkinson’s

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 8, 2005

Dallas County’s John Carchedi wasn’t about to let Parkinson’s Disease keep him from his passion, running.

In fact, after he retired he decided to train for a marathon and set his sights on the Nashville race.

Then last year – a month before he was to participate in a marathon in Nashville – he suffered a setback.

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Carchedi was hit by truck while riding his bicycle.

“I was knocked unconscious and I broke my shoulder blade,” he said. “When they put me in the ambulance, the only thing I was worried about was that I wasn’t going to be able to run in the marathon.”

About four days later, his arm taped to his body, Carchedi was doing slow jogs around his backyard.

“I was mad, because I thought it might make his injury worse,” Joy said.

But Carchedi recovered from his injury and on March 6 he completed the Little Rock Marathon in


A runner for 25 years, Carchedi viewed his Parkinson’s Disease as simply another challenge.

He first began running after “a former girlfriend said I was getting too pudgy.”

The exercise soon turned into a passion, and he found himself competing in 5, 10, and 15k races across the Southeast.

He also ran half-marathons, dualathlons, and triathlons, but Carchedi still wasn’t sure if he was up the challenge of running the full 26 miles of a marathon.

“He always said he wanted to do one after he retired. He wanted to have time to prepare,” said Joy Carchedi, John’s wife.

Two years ago, Carchedi learned he had the young onset type of Parkinson’s Disease.

Parkinson’s causes nerve cells in the brain to die or become impaired, which affects the functions of the body’s muscles and movement, according to the National Parkinson’s Foundation.

The key signs of the disease are shaking, slowness of movement, rigidity and difficulty of balance.

Yet Carchedi did not let his condition deter him from his goal.

“I run with a limp because of Parkinson,” he said. “Sometimes my legs get still and I have to stop to stretch them. I try to take my meds just before I run so (the symptoms) will not affect me when I’m running.”

And ran he did.

Carchedi got himself ready again and made the Little Rock race.

He still wasn’t done facing obstacles. Carchedi said that twice running officials saw his unusual running style and- fearing he was in distress-tried to stop him.

“I told them I had Parkinson’s and I’d have to fight them before they made me stop running,” he said.

After six hours and 10 minutes, he crossed the finish line with his wife and daughter cheering him on.

“We were just so excited to see him run across that finish line,” Joy said. “We are so proud of him.”

“I was worried about finishing. I didn’t want to disappoint my wife and daughter. But, about half-way through, I knew I was going to finish,” he said.

Now, he’s still not finished. After defeating all the obstacles in his way to accomplish his goal, Carchedi is not ready to call it quits anytime soon. He has plans to run in the Nashville marathon on April 30.

“I’m going to keep on running until I’m no longer able to do it,” Carchedi said. “If they come up with a cure for Parkinson disease, then I’ll run till I’m 90-years-old.”