Waukesha Librarian to Compete in World Track Meet
Chris Sturdevant is going for the gold in Finland this spring.
Staying at the top of your athletic game can be a challenge as you get older and real life intrudes on training. But for Waukesha’s Chris Sturdevant, 39, it’s a good challenge to have.
Sturdevant will compete at the World Masters Athletics (WMA) Indoor Championships this spring in Jyvaskyla, Finland, with other top athletes from around the world.
The WMA is for athletes ages 35 and up and consists of a variety of track and field events. As a competitor from the United States, Sturdevant will be representing America along with other American athletes but may be the only American of his age division in the 1500- and 800-meter races.
“I’m been jokingly telling people that I’m America’s last, best hope,” he said.
Participating in the upcoming worldwide event was a natural progression for Sturdevant. Last summer, he participated in a national meet in San Diego and brought home a few gold medals. Competing at the world event was good motivation to take his running to the next level.
“The world competition will be a new challenge, something to aim for,” he said. “It keeps the inspiration going.”
Sturdevant has been running since high school in Janesville. After high school, he was recruited by Carroll College and ran for them throughout his college career. But he’s not competing against college athletes anymore. In WMA, Sturdevant will be competing against runners 35 to 39 years old, which levels the playing field, in what he humorously refers to as “old farts” category.
In all seriousness, though, he said he finds inspiration in the older athletes who are still competing, some of whom in their 70s.
“It’s a great way to stay in shape for your whole life,” he said.
Another source of inspiration is the people in his life – his wife, who has MS, and a high school coach who recently died before Sturdevant could share this opportunity with him. Seeing the challenge and struggle people face in being physically active has given him focus.
“This is what I want to continue to do, to be in a world class competition, for as long as I can,” he said.
Sturdevant, who works as a library associate in the Children’s Department of Waukesha Public Library, plans to use his time overseas wisely. While there, he hopes to offer a children’s story time at a library. The storybook is as yet undecided but he said he would choose something universal and not controversial.
“I wouldn’t want to create an international incident,” he said.
His other side trips have been inspired by his sponsors. One of his sponsors is Rotary International and as a Rotary Ambassador, he will be giving speeches on behalf of the organization as well as exchanging flags with groups in Finland. Another sponsor is the Safe House bar in Milwaukee – he hopes to carry the infamous briefcase to St. Petersburg.
All in all, “it will be a good experience,” he said.
The competition is about nine weeks away and Sturdevant has started training indoors to prepare. He also has a slate of meets leading up to the event in Finland. Those competitions will provide additional training opportunities.
He’s still looking for more sponsors for his trip to Finland: “Euro’s accepted,” he laughed.