Door County Fall 50’s Greatest Finisher Was its Last

The most dramatic finish at the 2016 Fall 50 Door County came long after the winners claimed their medals. Shortly before the post-race party ended, Katie Neuman of Neenah made her way into Sunset Park in Sturgeon Bay.

Neuman had begun her race the night before, running from Sturgeon Bay to Gills Rock overnight with her My Team Triumph teammates, Aaron Hunnel and Adam Lofquist, completing the first leg of her one-person, 100-mile race.

Neuman has cerebral palsy, and competes with MyTeam Triumph, which pairs able-bodied “angels” with challenged athletes to guide them to the finish line. At mile 99, Neuman embarked on the toughest steps of her race. That’s when she asked her angels to help her out of her chair so she could walk the final mile of the race, her path through the dark lit only by a support vehicle and a flashlight.

At the post-race party, where hundreds of runners were dancing, eating, and drinking to celebrate a beautiful run they had completed hours before, the DJ announced that Neuman had reached the homestretch. Nearly every runner streamed from the tent to line the finish.

“Katie! Katie! Katie!” they chanted, roaring as she made the final turn, stepping slowly, cautiously.

The strongest athlete of the day smiled wide through her sweat and tears, finally crossing the finish line near 8 pm to a crescendo of cheers and chants, then hugs from her friends, family and angels.

One mile of her own. It was the farthest she has walked in her life, her mother said. 

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