Crossing the finish; With 100-mile run, 100M4Hunger surpasses 100K meals for children

Published 6:23 pm Sunday, October 12, 2014

Kelly Nesvold crosses the finish line, completing his 100-mile fundraising run Sunday morning at Cornerstone Church.  Eric Johnson/

Kelly Nesvold crosses the finish line, completing his 100-mile fundraising run Sunday morning at Cornerstone Church.
Eric Johnson/

After walking and running about 103-miles Saturday and Sunday, Kelly Nesvold had to muster the energy to jog the last few feet and cross the finish line. But he had a crowd of people cheering him on and chanting his name to help him finish.

“It was pretty wild,” he said. “I was at a complete loss for words.”

After starting at the steps of the Minnesota State Capitol around 7:15 a.m. Saturday, Nesvold successfully completed his 100M4HUNGER run around 9:30 a.m. Sunday at Cornerstone Church in Austin.

Email newsletter signup

The weekend run was just the culmination of a project that’s been in the works for months, both through training and fundraising. Nesvold’s 100M4HUNGER project had two main goals: first, to raise $25,000 to buy 100,000 meals for hungry children through Convoy of Hope, a faith-based nonprofit that does disaster relief in 11 countries; and second, to run a 100 miles from St. Paul to Austin.

Nesvold surpassed both. Not only did the trek span about 103 miles, but the effort has raised more than $28,000.

Cornerstone and a Rochester church took a collection Sunday, so more money is coming, and Nesvold said the project could exceed $30,000 and 120,000 meals.

“There’s more to come in,” Nesvold said.

But it certainly wasn’t easy.

The Herald caught up with Nesvold on gravel roads in Rice County around 5:45 p.m. Saturday shortly before the 50-mile mark. Still jogging, Nesvold skipped a planned stop to keep moving while he felt good and still had daylight to keep pushing for several miles on Gates Avenue.

It only got more difficult when the sun went down and fatigue really started to kick in.

“The hardest part was like the twilight hours when we’re going between Owatonna and Blooming Prairie,” he said.

At that point, the temperature dropped, he was running into the wind and he was struggling to stay awake.

Nesvold credited the eight pacer runners that took turns traveling alongside him with helping him complete the journey.

If he wouldn’t have had his eight pacers, he said he likely would have given up. He also battled a foot injury sustained during a 50-mile test run a little more then a month ago.

“It hurt through the entire process,” he said.

Nesvold admitted he was ready for his trek to be done when he hit the 100-mile mark near 18th Avenue Northwest in Austin Sunday morning.

But he had some extra help from mile 100 to 103 and the finish line.

“I was wanting to just be done, but you have all these people that met us at Lansing Corners that were walking in with us,” he said.

By Target, Nesvold had some more help: a police escort set up by friends for the final three miles.

“It was kind of a humbling experience; it was pretty wild,” he said.

Once he got home, Nesvold had planned to stay up as long as he could to watch the Minnesota Vikings game with his many family members who were in town to support him. But once he relaxed, he started to doze. After a Sunday nap, Nesvold admitted he felt less than stellar.

He was wind-burned, his lips were chapped, and near every inch of his legs hurt.

“I feel terrible,” he said.

Nesvold had planned to work Monday at Wellness 1st, his chiropractic office, but he decided to take his wife, Danielle’s, advice and take the day off — advice he was grateful he followed.

Though the experience took a toll on his body, Nesvold was happy to surpass his fundraising goal, and he was happy with all the support he got from people at Cornerstone and throughout the community.

“It feels fantastic,” he said of surpassing his fundraising goal.

Nesvold estimated he and his pacers, who took turns running with him, ran for about 60 miles before walking the last of the route.

There were many memorable moments along the run. At one point, he sent a pacer to a pumpkin patch along the road to buy pumpkins, and they “did about a 5K” carrying small pumpkins.

“I can only imagine what people were thinking when they saw us,” Nesvold said.

But perhaps the most memorable moment came from Nesvold’s three children. Sam, 14; Julie, 9; and Gina, 2, presented their father with a medal after he finished.

“That was probably one of the most touching moments,” he said.

Nesvold thanked his wife, Danielle, their three children, Cornerstone and the community for their help supporting the run. He also thanked the Miller family for letting their SUV be used as the tracking vehicle during the trek.

As for the rest of Sunday and Monday, Nesvold planned to rest, ice his achy body and try to stay hydrated before returning to work Tuesday.