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Eric T. Olson of Luck Completes his 75th (Septuagesimus Quintus) Marathon

#75 in the books at Mankato MN
If there is a marathon going on within a couple hundred miles of Luck, WI, chances are Eric T. Olson is a participant. The first time he completed 26.2 miles was at Grandma’s in Duluth, MN. Somewhere along the line, Eric got it in his head to run 100, and he’s been piling on marathons ever since. On Sunday, October 18th 2015, Eric completed the Mankato marathon--his 75th (Septuagesimus Quintus in Latin) marathon finish.

The first time I ran a marathon with Eric was at Eau Claire in 2013. By complete chance we met out on the course at about mile 2 and chatted and trotted the rest of the way in. Nothing makes a marathon go faster than being treated to some good conversation, and there’s nobody better at chatting through a race than Eric. He keeps the banter light, encouraging and positive, and by the time you reach the finish line he’ll be inviting you along for the next marathon or two he has on his schedule.

Everybody who runs has a personal best, but these days finish time is the last thing on Eric’s mind. He’ll happily slow his pace to accommodate other runners and enjoy some good company. However, last year at the Twin Cities marathon Eric set a personal goal of a sub 4 hr finish. He was on pace to achieve this time when a man collapsed on course in front of him. Eric and another man rushed to the runner’s aid and performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. Eric went on to finish, missing out on his sub 4 hour time by three seconds. The man, who did not have a pulse when Eric began administering assistance, survived.

Eric will commonly say that the people he meets at marathons are among the best group of individuals you’ll ever meet. Lately he’s been threatening to slow down a little bit after he reaches 100, but my guess is that you’ll see him running 10 to 15 marathons a year (or more) for the rest of his days. At least that’s the hope of those of us who have run marathons with Eric.

Here are some fun facts to celebrate Eric’s achievement:
  • He started running on June 18th, 2002 and has logged every mile run since then
  • His fastest marathon was December 2004 in Las Vegas NV where he ran a 3:31
  • His slowest marathon was May 2014 at the Superior 50 in Grand Marais MN. The trail was covered with water and mud and it took 9:29
  • Eric’s favorite marathon is Death Valley CA from 2013
  • In 2004, Eric ran the New York City Marathon with over 44,000 runners
  • He ran 4 marathons within 13 days, 2 of them at over 6,800 feet of elevation
  • He’s never dropped out of a marathon to date
  • Eric has run Grandma’s marathon 13 consecutive years
  • Eric has run over 10,000 miles since 2002
  • Eric finished the Boston Marathon 3 times: 2009, 2010, 2011
  • He ran 40 miles on his 40th birthday but does not include that achievement in his marathon tally
  • When Eric gets a new pair of running shoes, he ties them the first time he puts them on and never unties them. Instead, he slips them on and off sometimes running 8 to 10 marathons with the same pair and the same first knot.
  • Eric does not listen to music while he runs (it’s too hard to talk over)
  • Eric is also the Race Director of the Gandy Dancer Trail Marathon

In addition to running marathons, Eric has also completed the American Birkebeiner ski race several times, and has finished two Ironman races (2.4 mile swim followed by 112 mile bike ride and a 26.2 mile run).

What’s next?

Eric plans on chasing his dream of 100 marathons, perhaps running his 100th marathon at the Gandy Dancer Marathon in Luck. He’d also like to run a marathon in all 50 states; become a guide for blind runners; swim the English Channel; and, why not, climb Mt. Everest! I sincerely hope he achieves them all, mostly because I’m looking forward to the congratulation parties!

Congratulations on number 75 Eric!
Eric Finishing up an Ironman Triathlon

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