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Cross-continent run had its highs, lows

1993 alum Steve Knowlton

Alum finishes 3,717-mile, cross-country run to stop Crohn’s disease.

By Dan Linehan, Free Press Staff Writer [published in The Free Press, Mankato, MN, 11/21/2010]

Steve Knowlton runningStalked by a rottweiler on a dirt road in Missouri. Lost in the woods of Washington. Harassed by a careening pizza truck in Alabama. Shivered through 40-degree nights in the Rockies. Sweltered under 95-degree runs along the east coast of Florida.

On Nov. 6, Steve Knowlton finished a 3,717-mile, 100-day run from Washington state to the tip of Florida to raise money and awareness for Crohn’s disease and colitis. The 1993 Minnesota State Mankato grad and Prior Lake resident said his run wasn’t without its small joys.

There was the Boca Raton, Fla., couple who pulled over and asked if he needed anything. He was loaded down with food and drink, but his shoes were worn to the plastic. An hour later, they came back with a pair of $100 shoes.

An Arkansas woman handed him $10 and a bag lunch of chicken and fries.

These people may have assumed that a man running along the side of the road pushing a stroller was homeless, but at these times Knowlton was a man in need nonetheless.

Other days were uneventful — runs along the Wyoming interstate were “like clockin’ into work” — while others were a mix. A lone wolf that paced across an isolated stretch of Idaho highway was exhilarating until Knowlton looked around and realized he was alone.

For self-defense he brought a knife, bear mace and a four-foot-long shovel handle.

“That saved me from a ton of dogs. One time, I had about six come at me at once,” he said.

Knowlton went through five pairs of shoes and lost 25 pounds during the run, 50 pounds including his training leading up to it.

As a teenager, Knowlton was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, which is caused by intestinal inflammation and leaves the victim with what Knowlton described in July as “kinda like a plugged-up drain.”

He’s raised $5,600 so far, a figure that’s been rising since he got back.

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