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Thursday, April 12, 2012

Guys in Shirts

Cheryl Monnat, Robert Kearney, Chris Wodke, Kathy Stultz

"Perseverance is just as important as talent."- Joan Rivers

I always thought it would be cool to be a sponsored athlete.  Every elite athlete seems have a copporate sponsor.  Bike racers, runners, skiers, golfers, etc. all seem to have uniforms with the logo of their sponsor companies.

Here in Milwaukee the local running stores recruit the best runners to race for them.  They get to wear the team uniform as a mark of their athletic prowess. The closest I ever got to one of these uniforms was dating a local elite runner. Not even much experience being on a team.  I played volleyball in 7th and 8th grade and sat the bench for two years.  I did not get into even one game.

In 2011 I decided to race in a local 10 K running series to help me get ready for the Madison Marathon.  Of course the local teams were all there including the team sponsoring the event, the RACC. Racers Against Childhood Cancer has a running, bike and triathlon team.  I was joined by college friend Cheryl Monnat.  I told her doing the 10 K series would help her as she prepared to train for her first marathon.  You get to the 20 mile mark and you can tell yourself, its just a 10 K now.

While I was running the course I passed several men wearing the RACC uniform.  I thought  wow, they're just guys in shirts. I'm faster then they are. We can be guys in shirts too.  So the idea for Team CMT was born.  We may not be the fasted runners, but their are things more important than talent, like running to raise awareness of CMT. What we lack in talent we make up for in determination and perseverance.

That was in January. It took a bit of time to get the logo for our first design, then there was a slight problem with the shirt order. We finally made our debut on April 30th, 2011.  Friends Cheryl Monnat, Robert Kearney and I ran the first race, a 10 K in Brown Deer Wisconsin.

We repeated the process all over again when we joined the Hereditary Neuoropathy Foundation. We really are now sponsored athletes.

It has been so much fun being part of this team and talking with athletes from all over the country. We have now grown to 80 members in 17 states. So many of them as inspiring stories as they run for family, friends or to fight their own CMT.  I am so glad to one of those guys in a shirt and so proud to be running for Team CMT.

Chris Wodke
Founder & Manager Team CMT

Team CMT is a group of athletes and supporters working to raise awareness and to find a cure for CMT. We have almost 100 members in 17 states. If you wish to join us visit our web site.

CMT or Charcot-Marie-Tooth is the most commonly inherited peripheral neuropathy. It affects over 155,000 Americans (as many as MS).  It is a disease of the nerves that control the muscles. It is slowly progressive, causing loss of normal function and or sensation in the lower legs/feet and arms/hands.

Symptoms include; muscle wasting in the lower legs and feet leading to foot drop, poor balance and gait problems Atrophy in the hands causes difficulty with manual dexterity.

Structural foot deformities such as high arches and hammer toes are common.

Poor tolerance for cool or cold temperatures and many people have chronically cold hands and feet.

Additional symptoms may include fatigue, sleep apnea, breathing difficulties and hearing loss.

Running, triathlons, impaired athlete, paratriathlon, USAT, running and CMT

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