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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Boston Dreaming

 " The best angle from which to approach any problem is the try angle."- unknown

Registration for the Boston Marathon opened on Monday.  I was notified on Monday  I was accepted for the 2013 race. Team CMT member Richard Cook has also applied. Last year it was November before I was notified. It was a tense couple of months as I waited for word, so I was pleasantly surprised when I was accepted so quickly. My 2nd place finish in the Mobility Impaired Division may have helped.  It may be some time before Team CMT member Richard Cook  knows his fate. Best of luck to Richard!  I am so proud you qualified to apply. I know how hard your worked! I will be more excited for you than for myself. Look forward to seeing you and your wife Ruth in Boston. I got a chance to meet Ruth and Richard when I ran Marine Corp last October. They drove down to D.C. to meet for dinner. Such a super couple! There was a West Virginia football game on in the place we met. Every time they scored they play the John Denver, Take me home country roads song. So I think of Ruth and Richard every time I hear that song.

Entry to Boston is tough for most athletes. Even if you have a qualifying time you aren't guaranteed entry. The fastest runners are taken until all the available slots are filled. The qualifying times are tough and you have to be a pretty good athlete to be accepted. So what if you don't have a qualifying time? Can you still achieve your Boston dreams?  The answer is yes. Here are a few ways to get entry to one of the worlds best and most prestigious races.

Athletes with Disabilities
Boston has an extensive program for wheelchair, visually impaired and mobility impaired athletes. If you have a condition like CMT that limits your ability to make the time standard you can apply under this program. You must run a Boston certified course under 6 hours if you do not wear braces and 8 hours if you do. This is the program I used to qualify and run Boston last year. Richard Cook has applied under this program. If you have CMT and have completed on a certified course under 6 hours in the last two years you can apply.  You register like any other athlete through the Boston Athletic Association website. You check the mobility impaired box.  You will then be asked to provide a time in a qualified race. You will then follow up with medical documentation to verify your condition. Then it is in the hands of the B.A.A.  I encourage anyone with CMT that can meet these standards to apply.

There are dozens of charities that have been each awarded entries to the 2013 race. If you really want to run Boston, but can't get in any other way you can run for one of the charities. You have to apply and agree to raise at least $3500 or more depending on the charity.  They will take your charge card and bill you if you don't raise the required amount.  You have to apply through the charity and there is a listing on the Boston Marathon web page. Just select the charity section. These fill up fast so take a look if interested.

American Athletic Medical Association
Are you a medical professional such as a paramedic, nurse or doctor?  The American Athletic Medical Association runs a seminar just before the Boston Marathon. They also have a number of spots to run the Boston Marathon because many of their members help with first aid on the course. They have a package for members to attend the seminar and run the marathon. Last year the cost was $1500. Membership is around $50 for 2 years. If you are a medical professional and are interested in athletes and medical issues, check out their web site,
This was an option I thought of using since I may qualify as a first responder as a member of the National Ski Patrol.

There are eight small towns the first 10 miles of the Boston Marathon course.  The B.A.A. gives each town entries into the race as compensation for the race coming through their town. This is a long shot, but if you have any connections with city officials in these town maybe you can score a race bib.

Visual and mobility impaired athletes are allowed to ask for two guides.  You won't get a finisher medal, but will have a chance to experience a world class race.
Cheryl Monnat and Robert Kearney will be my guides for the 2013 race.  Each will run half of the race and will provide support by carrying sports drink, gels, and any other items I need during the race. They will also be there to provide assistance in case I fall or need any medical assistance.  If Richard Cook runs Boston he will also have a guide. While we are set, if you want to provide this service for an athlete, send an email to the B.A.A. Again this is a long shot, but you just might get matched with an athlete. You will also be providing a really valuable service. I know how much the support I got on the course helped last year. I know having the guides with me is going to make a big difference.

You can also keep trying to qualify. Many runners try multiple times before they qualify for Boston. I can say from experience that running the Boston Marathon is the experience of a lifetime. The B.A.A. puts on a world class event from start to finish.  The Boston fans are the best. All along the course they will cheer for you as if you were an elite athlete. There is nothing like running down Bolyston street to the finish with TV cameras rolling and a sea of spectators. There is nothing else like it. I will be back in 2013. I hope you experience some day as well. I am so proud to be representing Team CMT. I will be raising money and awareness.   Looking forward to having Team CMT member Richard Cook in the race as well.

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.

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