Freedom at the end; Nesvold finishes grueling 300M4FREEDOM Sunday afternoon

Published 10:32 am Monday, August 29, 2016

It’s never easy.

Weary and sore, Kelly Nesvold finished what could be his most harrowing journey yet on Sunday when he crossed the finish line at Cornerstone Church to compete the 300M4FREEDOM triathalon.

The self-challenging race that began at Poekgama Lake in Grand Rapids Friday ended on a humid and stuffy Sunday morning having raised about $40,000 — though that number is an early estimate — to raise awareness about human trafficking. A final tally could come sometime later in the week.

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“All and all it went pretty good,” Nesvold said during a stop at Morem’s Tree Service where more than a 100 supporters showed up to run the final 5 kilometers with him. “We’re going to finish.”

But while Austin was within site, it didn’t belay the fact that at times it wasn’t real easy.

A good day of swimming put Nesvold and his chase team ahead by about an hour. Things were going well until Saturday when heavy rains dogged Nesvold during the bike portion, forcing him to wrap his feet in plastic wrap in duct tape.

Supporters come together for a group picture prior to making the 300M4FREEDOM end run Sunday.

Supporters come together for a group picture prior to making the 300M4FREEDOM end run Sunday.

“It worked,” Nesvold said with a dry chuckle.

The bike portion wrapped up at about 4:30 a.m. Saturday, jumped ahead to Faribault and picked up the running aspect of the Triathlon, running from Faribault where the heat and humidity began setting in. By the time the group reached Morem’s, a little before noon Sunday, the temperature had already hit the low 80s accompanied by the high dew points.

But as a large group of people waited, cheering others on who ran the 5K portion, Nesvold finally pulled into view, crossing the finish line with a tired smile.

“It’s fantastic,” Nesvold said. “It’s hard to ever speak [the words] right.”

Nesvold’s wife, Danielle, who together with their daughter, Julie, took part in some portions of the triathlon, said his drive on the test was to push toward the awareness of stopping something many don’t know about.

“There’s a lot of words,” she said. “He’s put in an insane number of miles to get people’s attention on maybe what they don’t know about. We’re just overwhelmed by the community response. We couldn’t ask for a better response.”

“Kelly is a special human being,” she continued. “He’s blessed with an ability, but Nesvold is so humble he doesn’t want the light put on him. That to me is a man [who] could pull people out of the light.”

All of this though couldn’t have been done without the help of the chase and support team, Nesvold said. Together, Nesvold estimated they all got about four hours sleep over the three days.

“They weren’t sleeping anymore than I was,” Nesvold said. “They were doing all this work that made this possible.”

“It was crazy. We had a pile of people,” he added.

One of Nesvold’s particular points of pride was his daughter Julie’s own accomplishments. Julie, who will attend I.J. Holton Intermediate School this year, ran a marathon distance with her father.

“She did her marathon,” Nesvold said. “That’s great considering she’s only ran five miles prior to this.”

And that’s not to mention how well others did on the triathlon.

“A lot of people set some pretty serious records,” Nesvold.

While the accomplishments and sacrifices have been huge for Nesvold, the weight of the effort clearly showed before his last kick. Still, Nesvold had some humor left in him.

“What do you want to know? Never again. Nope,” he said with a thin smile.