Capt. Kresser completes RAGBRAI run across Iowa

It was business as usual for ultra-marathoner Capt. Richard Kresser Monday.

Less than 48 hours after completing a seven-day run across the state of Iowa, Kresser, a Raymond native, ran three miles in the morning “to keep loosened up” and then reported for work at the U.S. Army base in Fort Lewis, Wash., near Seattle.

The 2009 Iowa State University graduate ran the entire RAGBRAI XLI route and more, starting July 22 from Council Bluffs and ending Saturday in Fort Madison.

He and a Nebraska runner became the first to successfully run a RAGBRAI route.

While the official route was 406.6 miles, Kresser estimated he ran an estimated 420 miles.

The second day was the hardest he said.

On a brutally hot and humid July 22, Kresser ran 83 miles.

“I could not lower my body temperature enough,” he said. “My body wanted to shut down, so I stopped short of my goal that day, but started early the next day and made it up.”

Starting early was standard procedure for Kresser. He frequently arose well before daylight to get a head start.

“I got a ridiculously early start Saturday with a midnight wake-up call,” he said. “In fact, the RAGBRAI final night party in Fairfield was still going strong as I was leaving town.”

His feet were carrying him eastward the final 53 miles to Fort Madison.

The cheers had become more frequent and robust each passing day, as bicyclists and others along the route became aware of Kressser’s efforts to make history.

“It was surreal coming into Fort Madison,” he said. “The cheers were loud and there were more people along the route. I put my toes in the MIssissippi River … it was a special moment and a wonderful feeling.”

IVH Commandant David Worley, an Army veteran said he, staff and residents were thrilled with Kresser’s accomplishment.

Kresser had visited Worley, Mike Hines, Worley’s staff assistant, and residents at IVH shortly before the run.

Worley pedaled besides Kresser part of the route on Saturday and witnessed the final miles to the Mississippi.

“It was thrilling to see the number of people that were lined up and cheering him on,” Worley said. “His accomplishment was amazing and inspirational. With young people like Capt. Kresser leading us, this country is going to be in great shape.”

Worley said interest among staff and residents was high before Kresser took the first step in Council Bluffs, and only increased with each passing day.

“Several of the staff kept us posted on his progress from his website,” Worley said. “And as every day passed more and more staff and residents would ask: ” ‘How is he doing? Where is he at?'”

Kresser was ecstatic with the pledge amount.

“I’m grateful so many people have responded to help the residents at IVH,” Kresser said. “We’ve received more than $15,000 in donations and one can still donate by visiting”

Funds donated will help purchase equipment in the IVH’s mental health unit.

Kresser said he was going to train a little less vigorously for several days, but will resume soon as he does have a future challenge ahead.

“I’ve signed up for the Angel’s Staircase event which takes place in three weeks,” he said. “The contest is to run around the circumference of Mount Rainier, about 93 miles. It won’t be like running the RAGBRAI route, but it will be a challenge nonetheless.”