Skip to main content

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

Reggie Oeltjen set off from the South Dakota border earlier this month.
  • Author:
  • Updated:

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.

Next Up

Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

Here’s what the Vikings owners say about new GM Kwesi Adofo-Mensah

The Vikings announced his hiring on Wednesday night.

raiaing canes brooklyn park crop

After 3-month delay, newest Twin Cities Raising Cane's opens

The restaurant was originally scheduled to open in October.

st anthony armed robbery screengrab

Armed man robs Twin Cities thrift store, flees in carjacked pickup

He pulled out a handgun shortly after chatting with the cashier about his scarf.

red wing 6

Gallery: Pagoda-inspired home on Lake Pepin for sale for $2M

The home has 425 feet of private shoreline on the Mississippi River.

Walz, Flanagan

Walz proposes legalizing marijuana in massive supplemental budget

It's among the provisions in his "Budget to Move Minnesota Forward."

Plow 2 (1)

Photos reveal damage from gunshots to Minneapolis snowplow

A hydraulic line and three tires were damaged in the shooting.

unsplash - school classroom students

Minneapolis schools confirm return to in-person teaching Monday

The school district shifted to online learning almost two weeks ago as rising COVID cases led to staff and bus driver shortages.

Flickr - Superior National Forest Boundary Waters

Mineral leases for proposed Twin Metals mine near Boundary Waters canceled

A review by the DOI found "significant legal deficiencies" with the leases' 2019 renewal.


Reward to find person who left kittens to die in freezing WI cold

The cats were thrown from a vehicle, according to a witness.

metro mobility bus

Charges: Man led police on multi-city pursuit in stolen Metro Mobility bus

The bus had been left unattended with the keys inside when it was stolen.

Bell Ramsey Co. Jan 22 - crop

Charges: Man fatally shot mother of his child during argument

Officers found her on the ground outside the couple's home.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Wednesday, January 26

More than 15,000 new cases in today's update.


Twin Cities pastor's #NeighborhoodLoveNotes are spreading across the U.S.

Upset at seeing the division and anger following last week's election result, Twin Cities pastor Ashley Horan was resolved to spread harmony to America.

Meet the Minnesotan who created an app that stops nightmares

It was designed for veterans with PTSD, but could potentially help many others.

Sanford Health

Sanford Health 'parts ways' with CEO after his face mask comments

Kelby Krabbenhoft had been with the company since 1996.

Restaurateur behind Butcher and the Boar, 4 Bells dies

The bartender turned real estate developer was also a founder of Barrio and Bar La Grassa.

Restaurateur behind Butcher and the Boar, 4 Bells dies

The bartender turned real estate developer was also a founder of Barrio and Bar La Grassa.

State trooper 'blood run' saved the life of one of their own

If the troopers had been a few minutes late, Lisa Jaeger might have died.