Extreme athletes Haase, Land, VanDyke tell their stories

What separates the good athlete from the truly great? How do some athletes transcend the pain and agony of extreme physical performance?

In a three-part series at the Fond du Lac Public Library, “Going to Extremes,” three outstanding Fond du Lac athletes will tell their stories and talk about their ability to push themselves – mentally and physically – in the crush of performance. All presentations take place at 6 p.m. on Wednesdays in the summer. All are free; no registration required. The series features:

June 15: Andy Land, 53, is an experienced mountaineer from Fond du Lac who was starting his Mount Everest ascent when a 7.8-magnitude earthquake struck Nepal, triggering massive avalanches, devastating the countryside and stranding Land and others at base camp. He thought he was going to die. The quake claimed more than 6,600 lives, including 19 at base camp. Land was attempting Everest to benefit Climbing For Hospice. He is the director of Hospice and Palliative Care Services at Agnesian HealthCare and has summited Mount Rainier, Mount Whitney, Mount McKinley and peaks in South America and beyond.

July 20: Ultracyclist Dave Haase, 48, grew up in Fond du Lac and Oshkosh. He’s a five-time top U.S. finisher of the Race Across America (RAAM), an extreme test of ability and endurance that challenges cyclists to ride 250 to 350 miles a day from California to Maryland: 3,000 miles across 12 states, climbing over 170,000 vertical feet. A lifelong athlete, Haase found ultracycling late in life when he entered a 24-hour race on a whim. He clocked his best RAAM finish in 2015, with a second-place time of 8 days, 20 hours and 6 minutes – the fastest time posted by an American since 1999 and the fastest non-winning time in race history. He’s currently training for the 2016 race, which will start on June 14. Haase owns Attitude Sports in Fond du Lac and Pewaukee.

August 17: Amy VanDyke, 45, ran the equivalent of 13 marathons in 13 days. The Fond du Lac mother of four who describes herself as a former non-athlete didn’t start running until 2010. Responding to a challenge, VanDyke signed on to run two legs of the 2014 MS Run the US, 3,000-mile relay from Los Angeles to New York to raise money and awareness for multiple sclerosis. She covered 355 miles in Colorado, crossing two mountain passes. In her three years of running the relay, VanDyke has run more than 800 miles and has raised more than $45,000 for MS. “Running for a purpose gives me motivation,” Amy said. “Your body can do anything your mind tells it to.” Amy now works as the community engagement manager for MS Run the US.

Going to Extremes is a program in the library’s summer reading series, Ready, Set, Read!which challenges readers of all ages to complete four reading cards, earning rewards as they go. Ready, Set, Read! programs for all ages include professional entertainers, movies and lots of hands-on fun and learning. The full roster is available at the Calendar.

In the photos, from left: Andy Land, Dave Haase & Amy VanDyke. Haase photo courtesy Matt Haas, M Magazine.

 

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