Blue Springs runner completing marathons while battling Parkinson’s Disease

BLUE SPRINGS, Mo. -- He's a marathon runner who's taking huge steps.

It's a condition that affects 60,000 Americans every year. There's no known cure for Parkinson's Disease, but Louis Peters is determined to outrun it.

"I can still touch the ground," Peters said with a chuckle.

It's no stretch to say Peters is trampling his goals. He said his health depends on it.

The 64-year-old said it was January 2015 when doctors told him he had Parkinson's. Peters, a retired medical salesman, said his wife first noticed him dragging his left foot slightly, prompting him to seek a physician's care.

"You're not expecting that. You're almost in denial," Peters said Monday.

Peters, who had been a lifelong runner, had never competed in a marathon until after his diagnosis. In the past year, he's completed four marathons, including three major races in New York City, Chicago and, most recently, the celebrated Boston Marathon.

Peters' time of 4:33 is a personal best.

Peters needs prescription medicine three times per day as treatment for the symptoms of his condition. However, he believes his body benefits more from the cardiovascular workouts. Finishing a grueling 26-mile run is tough enough when the runner is in good health.

"I'll continue to run until I can't anymore. Let's put it that way," Peters said. "I know it's helping. That's a positive reaction. To continue to do that, and to be able to do that and slow down the progress is important to me."

"It goes forever. With determination, you can do it. Ask Louis. He's very determined to finish his marathons. He trains for those long distances, sometimes by himself," said Mario Vazquez, Peters' running partner.

Peters' promising performance won't end anytime soon. He's trying to finish in all six of the world`s major marathons, including this year's race in Berlin, Germany.

He said he`s proof you can outrun Parkinson's before it beats you.

"If you have Parkinson's, and there's millions of us out there in the United States," Peters said, "you can still have a life. It may not be the one you'd planned on, but you can continue it."

Peters plans to run in several 10K road races this summer in the metro.

Parkinson's Disease is the same condition that nagged at notable patients, including actor Michael J. Fox, comedian Robin Williams and boxer Muhammad Ali.

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