Boasting a growing membership, Team CMT and the Hereditary Neuropathy Foundation (HNF) are celebrating a successful first year of collaboration. Founder Chris Wodke created Team CMT in January 2011 specifically to raise funds and awareness. “When I started this team I thought I was the only one with CMT running long distance.” Four months later she joined Team CMT with HNF and soon reported, “There are twelve athletes on Team CMT, with a diagnosis of CMT, that run long distance. This has been such a wonderful experience I can’t wait to see what will happen next.”
Presently, Team CMT has over 110 members in 17 states. Twenty four of the 110 members are affected with CMT. Wodke refers to them as “our 24 miracles” because doctors used to advise people with CMT not to run. The remaining members are friends and family who have joined to support their loved ones and the cause. She hopes by meeting others with CMT, team members can feel a sense of belonging as athletes. “These people are truly unlikely heros,” Wodke says. “They wear their leg braces uncovered and carry brochures about CMT to educate people along the way. It takes so much courage to take the risk to be open about our condition.”
Wodke is hoping to run the Boston Marathon on Monday, April 15, 2013, for the second time. Following an injury last May, Wodke developed a lump on her right ankle. She kept running but when it didn’t get better by September she decided it was time to stop. Sidelined for two and one half months, Wodke was relieved at the final diagnosis of a cyst, a possible product of CMT. Taping over the cyst has allowed her to return to running. Wodke has promised herself she would “have more fun this time at Boston than last. There was way too much responsibility last time (as a first time Team CMT runner). I’m not putting that much pressure on myself this time. I’m going to try to enjoy it more.”
Even an experienced marathon runner needs to find ways to stay motivated. “I am not a morning exerciser so I plan to do it after work.” Some days she incorporates errands into her routine. For example, if she has to go post office, she will split the mail into piles running back and forth until she’s logged her time. “A lot of the competition is psychological. You have to find those things that motivate and work for you. Like change where you run, pick a different route or time of day,” she offers. There is more about Team CMT, being an athlete with a disability, recipes, words of encouragement and fundraising information on the blog Wodke writes http://run4cmt.blogspot.com/ or on the HNF website.
While most would commend Wodke on her activism, she says she “gets way more out of this than I give. This isn’t just about my journey. It’s about all the great people I come in contact with. It’s about sharing experiences with them and trying to make them feel that they are not alone, but part of a team.” Wodke hopes all the members feel that “TEAM CMT is about being in a community and being active and open.” Support Chris in her 2013 Boston Marathon run.