Kelly Nesvold is putting together a triathlon to educate about human trafficking
Published 10:22 am Monday, March 9, 2015
Training for another cause
Kelly Nesvold may have taken a break after his 100-mile run last October, but he hasn’t stopped running.
Nesvold, along with his wife Danielle and a friend, Eric Feuchtenberger, decided to take it up a notch and are headed toward a triathlon this time around.
“Basically this is another version of that [run],” Kelly said. “It’s just to go 300 miles, I can’t run 300 miles. One-hundred miles I kind of found was my limit.”
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The triathlon is planned for August of 2016.
While Kelly’s 100-mile run was focused on raising money to buy 100,000 meals for children overseas, the triathlon, called 300M4Freedom, will focus on raising money to bring awareness to human trafficking. The Nesvolds and Feuchtenberger are working with Mission 21 in Rochester and could work with several other charities to create a statewide effort to educate and create awareness for human trafficking.
“Human trafficking is something that is becoming one of the biggest forms of organized crime,” Kelly said. “And my wife wanted to make sure that we did something about it, and so I created this kind of crazy endeavor.”
The triathlon will start with a 5-mile swim across Pokegama Lake in Grand Rapids, a 240-mile bike through the metro area, and a 55-mile run through Faribault and to Austin. The three organizers are still working out the details, and will likely drive the route this summer. Kelly and Feuchtenberger plan to complete the triathlon on their own, while Danielle is still deciding how much she will complete and how much members on her relay-team might do. Kelly estimated the entire thing to take about 40 hours for himself and Feuchtenberger. He said others have expressed interest in creating relay teams to join in the triathlon.
“We actually have quite a few people stepping up to help with the awareness piece as well,” he said.
Feuchtenberger ran as a pacer with Kelly during the 100-mile run and didn’t waste time joining the triathlon.
“After doing the 100-miles training with Kelly and others, this is something that on a personal standpoint, just another challenge to do, prove to myself that I’m able to do it,” he said.
Feuchtenberger was also taken aback when he learned more about human trafficking and how close to home it was, and it was something he wanted to educate people about.
“I was pretty much blind to it until Danielle brought to my attention what they are doing, and so it really hit me,” he said.
Feuchtenberger said the training has been going well so far, and he is excited to have time to train and get ready for the big commitment. He noted he was confident in his biking and running skills, but was a little nervous for the 5-mile swim.
As Danielle recalls, her husband came up with the idea while recovering from the first run.
“He turns to me and he says, you know we’re going to have to do this again next year,” Danielle recalled. “And I looked at him and I said the only way we would do it again is if it were to save victims who were lured into sex trafficking.”
Kelly hopes to visit towns through the route and try to make this a state-wide effort. Organizers aren’t sure how much money they hope to raise yet, but Kelly said he would love to see $50K, to $100K raised for the cause. He emphasized that human trafficking doesn’t happen in only the larger cities.
“The prevalence of it even in our own back yard is higher than we think, so it’s pretty scary,” Kelly said.
Danielle was impressed with her husband’s determination to run 100 miles, and while she ran 27 miles with him she kept thinking, “what would motivate me to run this far?”
She recalled watching a presentation hosted by the Zonta women in Austin about human trafficking and being struck with how horrible it was.
“I fell apart, I couldn’t sleep for days,” she said. “ … and then when you find out what’s going on here in our area.”
She mentioned a decoy ad the Albert Lea police put on a website known for human trafficking, which received hundreds of calls from the area, which surprised her. When she thought about what would motivate her to run that far, she knew right away it was to bring awareness to human trafficking.
While Danielle is helping set up stopping points along the triathlon route, she is also hoping to get the Austin Public Schools involved, to help train school staff to know what to look for in victims or recruits, and to help educatate children.
“We’re trying to create that awareness, help fund what people are doing already, and get people to open their eyes to what’s going on,” she said.
“We’re really trying to light the fire under our state,” she added.
She is also working to set up town hall meetings to push information through the communities they will be going through, to help families get educated on the subject. She also hopes to connect with the state government representatives, similar to what they did for the 100-mile run.
“We want people to be aware how to protect their kiddos,” she said.