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Farmer dies part-way through 300-mile run across Minnesota

Reggie Oeltjen set off from the South Dakota border earlier this month.
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A 65-year-old farmer passed away part of the way through his 19-day, 300-mile run across Minnesota.

To mark his 65th birthday, Reggie Oeltjen, of Stewartville, embarked on a border-to-border run starting from the South Dakota border on May 12, with his daughter Natalie following his progress.

But tragedy stuck on Tuesday night, with Natalie announcing on his blog that her father died in his sleep overnight on Tuesday, 12 days into his quest.

"It is with a very sad heart that I am letting everyone know that my dad passed away peacefully in his sleep last night," she wrote. "We don't know the cause yet but I can say that his runs were going really well and he seemed to be feeling great when he went to bed.

"If you were reading his blog you already know that he was having a fantastic time! He was as happy as he could have been."

He was nearing the end of his journey that saw him run 15 miles a day while his daughter ran, biked or kayaked alongside him. By Monday, they had made it past Mankato to Janesville.

They had planned to stop in Byron on Saturday, where Oeltjen was due to take part in the Med City Marathon.

Before setting off on the run, the farmer told ABC 6 he wanted to take on the challenge because "I thought it would be something different to do that I haven't seen anyone else do."

A visitation is being held at the Zion Lutheran Church in Stewartville on Tuesday between 4-8 p.m., with his funeral at 11 a.m. on Wednesday.

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