Duluth, MN (Northland's NewsCenter) - If you're a part of the running world, then chances are you've heard of 39–year–old endurance athlete Dusty Olson.
He placed second in 2002 in the U.S. 100–Kilometer Road Championships, and was the winner of the 1993 Minnesota Voyageur Trail Ultramarathon 50–Miler.
That makes him—at the age of 19—the youngest champion in the history of that race.
Olson said Duluth had its share of influences.
"Growing up near the lake, and growing up being active skiing, and having woods in my backyard. At 8–years–old I was doing the Northern Minnesota Track Club weekly races in the fall. I've been at it for quite a long time," said Olson, who moved from Portland, OR, to Duluth at a young age with his family.
A little extra energy didn't hurt either.
"It definitely helps growing up as a hyperactive kid. I think my parents' goal was, 'we'll just drop him off here; he'll work off the sugar someone gave him," said Olson, laughing.
But Olson's life took a serious turn when, in 2010, a deer tick bit his stomach, leading to full–blown Lyme Meningitis months later.
Olson says, in hindsight, his ignoring the flu–like body aches and crippling headaches was a bad choice.
"It's retribution for stubborn Scandinavians that don't go into the hospital when they're feeling bad," said Olson.
$9,000—and a handful of doctors—later, Olson finally received an official diagnosis from a specialist in Winona, along with a strict treatment regimen, which will allow—hopefully—for a full recovery.
But it won't come without great cost for this self–employed carpenter.
That's where friend, and marathon fundraiser coordinator, Eve Stein, comes in.
"I decided to put something on just to raise money for prescriptions—[he's] got a lot of them. I have the ability to throw something together fast, so last Monday I thought, 'heck, let's do this," said Stein, who coordinated the Nancy English Memorial 5k, among other Northland favorite races.
Stein organized Dusty's Du—a half–mile canoe paddle and 2.5–kilometer run for anyone to participate in—at Boulder Lake, this Sunday.
"All the money goes directly into a prescription fund for Dusty, through Walgreens," said Stein.
...making sure this runner isn't alone on his difficult road to recovery.
If you'd like to be a part of Dusty's Duathalon this Sunday, or if you'd like to know how else you can donate to Olson's recovery, you can find this story on Northland's News Center dot com, where we've added a handful of helpful links:
OFFICIAL DUSTY'S DU LINK
FOR MORE INFO:
TO DONATE TO DUSTY'S FUND:
Tortoise & Hare Footwear
4602 Grand Ave.
218 - 624 - 4840