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Researcher Runs for Team Reeve

Verhovshek crosses the finish line of a previous marathon.

Verhovshek crosses the finish line of a previous marathon.

By: Michael Izzo

Name: Tom Verhovshek
Age: 35
Hometown: Indianapolis, Indiana
Occupation: Post-doctoral researcher studying spinal cord injuries
Team Reeve event: 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon

Given his profession, Tom Verhovshek's knowledge of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation should come as no surprise. As a post-doctoral researcher studying spinal cord injuries (SCI), he is familiar with the Foundation's mission, as well as what it does to fund research and help those with SCI. These are some of the reasons that inspired Verhovshek to run for Team Reeve in the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon. "I thought it would be a great way to bring together my interests as a scientist, the goals of the Reeve Foundation, and of course my love of running," explains Verhovshek.

"I think the Reeve Foundation is doing a very necessary and noble thing by providing money for scientific research especially in a time when grant dollars from federal sources are getting cut left and right, but also by trying to improve the quality of life for people living with SCI by providing care and equipment that can improve their daily lives."

Time to get serious
Verhovshek says that he became a serious runner about five years ago at age 30, when he realized he needed to take better care of himself, seeing it as a great form of exercise and way to stay energized throughout the day. "It just makes me feel better when I can get a run in," says Verhovshek. "It's very satisfying and fills me with a sense of accomplishment."

Since he took up running, Verhovshek has completed seven half marathons and two full marathons in Cincinnati and St. Louis.

Verhovshek typically starts training for a marathon three to four months in advance by running one or two long runs a week, steadily increasing the distance before topping out at around 20 miles two to three weeks before the race. His goal for Chicago is to finish in under 3:15 which he says will be a challenge.

A new dimension to running
This is Verhovshek's first time raising money for a run and he says that running for a cause is very exciting and has added a new and exciting dimension to the experience. "It makes me take a step back and think about what I'm doing this for," he explains. "When I'm in pain and feel like my body just can't give anymore, I think of the people that can't do this kind of activity and what they would give just to know what it feels like. I consider myself lucky just to be able to experience that. It serves as a big motivation to me."

Look for Tom Verhovshek and the rest of Team Reeve in the 2011 Bank of America Chicago Marathon on October 9th.

To make a donation for Verhovshek's run, go here.

Learn more
Inspired by Tom's story? Want to join Team Reeve? You don't have to be an athlete to become a member. Click here
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Continue Christopher Reeve's LegacyPhoto by Timothy Greenfield-Sanders