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‘Fast Eddie’ is still off to the races: Ultra-marathons

“Fast Eddie” Rousseau continues to set records. (Submitted photo)

“Fast Eddie” Rousseau has set state records in a 24-hour ultra-marathon.

The 24th FANS 24-Hour Race in the Twin Cities was held June 2-3 in weather that included sun, a rain downpour and cold winds through the night, Rousseau reports.

Started in 1990 as a benefit for an inner city kids college fund, the race has grown to be one of the major 24-hour races in the country, with runners from all over arriving, including top runners like U.S. 24-Hour record holder Connie Gardner.

 Rousseau is the only runner to have run every FANS 24-Hour Race. His mileage total of 2,247 going into this year’s event was over 500 ahead of any other male runner.

In the first 20 years, he averaged over 100 miles each year. “I love the race and the school kids who come and volunteer and will receive the benefits of our pledges,” he said. Additionally he has made many new ultra running friends, some who he sees again at the 24-Hour National Championships where he has won 10 gold medals in his age division over the years.

This year he will run in the 24-Hour Nationals in late October. “I’m slowing down, but it took only 74 miles for me to win the Nationals two years ago,” he said.

  This year’s FANS event was moved from Lake Nokomis to Ft. Snelling State Park, runners traveling around a two-mile loop on a blacktop and dirt path.

“The mile of dirt was soft and was easier on the sore feet in the last 12 hours of the race, but it was a muddy mess after the downpour,” he said.

With thicker soled shoes and some special taping, he was able to avoid the piercing foot pain that nagged him in his last three ultra-marathons.

 “I was pleased with the outcome,” he said. “I felt I was on pace early to be much better.”

Analyzing the results, he modestly describes them simply as “OK.”

He was in 29th place out of 119 listed runners with his almost 74-year-old legs, with 82.8 miles in the initial results posting. Only one runner over age 60 was ahead of him and he beat the lone runner over age 70 by 40 miles. Looking at the Minnesota State Published Ultra Records for men age 70-74, he exceeded the 50- mile record, 12-hour record, 100-kilometer record, and 24-hour record.

“Not bad for a day’s work in the park,” he said. “But now I need to heal my sore and swollen feet and legs as Grandma’s Marathon is only three weeks away.”