Christopher Blasko went running over the hill.
For his 40th birthday, he ran 40 miles on Hwy. 40, from Radisson, in Sawyer County, to about six miles south of CTD, near Island Lake in Rusk County.
“I have a cousin that did it 44 years ago,” Blasko said of 40-mile feat, so the idea has been in his mind for awhile. Doug Erbeck, his mother’s cousin, ran 40 miles for his fortieth.
It was one of the longest races he’s ever done, and running is a fairly recent sport for him. Blasko and his family splits time between Chetek and Forest Lake, Minn. His first race he ran was the Fishy Four in 2010. After that, he set a goal to run in the Boston Marathon, a full 26.2 miles.
He ran the Boston Marathon in 2013, the same year the bombings happened. His father and other family members had been in the same area where the bombs detonated, but fortunately, they had left an hour before, when Blasko finished the race.
After running that marathon, he set his sights on the 40-mile trek.
Blasko runs about 3–5 miles every day, but it was more than halfway before he knew he would finish it. He was pelted with wind, rain and hail as he ran the twisting county highway.
Supporting him at each mile was his father, Dave Blasko, and his daughter, Aspen. Running by Christopher’s side for parts of the trek were his daughters, Aspen, Annic and Ainslee; his son, Truett; and his nephews, Eathan Brown, Landon Brown and Jay Becker. They wanted to run with him for longer, but Christopher told them to stop for their safety, due to traffic and the stormy weather.
Christopher noted the children inspired him, and the kids are now inspired to run the full 40 miles themselves someday.
His wife, JoAnna Becker, also joined him for the last five miles.
The most touching moment was when Erbeck, now 84, ran the last half-mile with him.
Christopher said he finished the 40 miles strong, and he felt good at the end. It took him seven hours, 56 minutes and 10 seconds, averaging about 12 minutes a mile.
“It’s just to inspire others,” he said.