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‘Fast Eddie’ runs 303 miles in six days

The Emmaville resident now holds the second-place record for his age group in a six-day long-distance running event.

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Edward "Fast Eddie" Rousseau trains for his next long-distance running feat. (Photo submitted July 1, 2021)

An Emmaville resident recently bounced back from serious illness to place second in his age group in the all-time records of a six-day long-distance running event.

The training started from ground zero last summer when Edward “Fast Eddie” Rousseau, age 81, emerged from a week in intensive care at CHI St. Joseph’s Health in Park Rapids.

Rousseau had been hospitalized with a severe, tick-borne infection attacking his muscles, organs and blood cells. Doctors said his initial runner fitness saved his life, he recalled.

There were pills to take for weeks. Spinach to eat for his blood recovery. "Popeye never ate more for his muscles than I am now," he laughed.

He did months of slow running miles to build up his stamina. Then he attempted the USA Track & Field 100 Mile Road Championship in April, in 90 degree Las Vegas, Nev. heat. Blisters took him down after 65 miles.

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In May, Rousseau ran a decent 73 miles in cold rain at the Cornbelt Running Club’s 24 Hour Run in Eldridge, Iowa. There was now hope.

On June 20, he embarked on the "Six Days in The Dome" event on the indoor track at the Pettit National Ice Center in Milwaukee. His biggest problem was pushing too long, getting severe sleep deprivation and having long recovery periods off the track.

The worst seven hours came early in Day 6. Otherwise injury-free, he came back on the track with his fastest pace over the last 14 hours. His foot crossed the mat for the last lap time with one second to go.

He had reached one goal, finishing with 303.37 miles, and passed running legend Ted Corbitt to move into second place in the all-time world list of six-day finishes by runners in the 80-84 age group.

Corbitt (1919-2007) is known as the “father of long-distance running,” a pioneer of the sport, and was an inaugural inductee of both the National Distance Running Hall Of Fame and the American Ultrarunning Hall of Fame.

Now, Rousseau is dreaming of a 327-mile goal and all-time first place. "I gotta do it soon, as I'm getting older and slower,” he said.

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