RVHS graduate is running a marathon to honor his grandpa, raise funds for dementia society

Troy Krause
Spencer Quast is preparing to run his first marathon June 20 around this area.

Growing up in Redwood Falls, Spencer Quast has been known for a lot of things.

Whether it was as a state speech participant, a member of the Redwood Valley football team or an honor student, Quast was definitely one who did not sit still.

Now Quast, who will be entering his junior year at the Twin Cities campus of the University of Minnesota this coming fall, has added another area of interest – running.

Being the all-out type of person that he is, Quast is not just running a few miles to stay in shape. He is taking it to one of the highest levels of experience – the marathon.

Yet, Quast is not preparing for an upcoming marathon for himself.

He is doing in memory of his grandpa, Don Reding. 

“My grandpa, Don Reding, passed away last fall after battling frontotemporal dementia. I was close with my grandpa and was fortunate enough to spend much of his later life at his side,” explained Quast. “This also meant I witnessed many of the devastating effects of dementia first hand. I wanted to make a change. If I could ensure one less person had to suffer at the hands of this disease, I would take that offer in a heartbeat, but frankly, I lacked a platform to do so. That’s where running came in. Given my very minimal running experience coupled with the extensiveness of the race, I figured running a marathon is a challenge that I could rally donations around.”

Quast was initially scheduled to run Grandma’s Marathon, but that event was cancelled.

Now he going to run his first marathon in Redwood County.

“I will be running the race on June 20 starting 7 a.m. from my house in Redwood Falls. I’ll run the first 12 miles in town on six-mile loops that I’ve used for training,” Quast added. “The last 14 will be from my house to my grandparent’s farm on the outskirts of Morgan. The address is 8577 St., Hwy 68, Morgan MN 56266 if you would like to watch me finish a little after 11 (hopefully). There is plenty of open grass areas for social distancing as well.”

According to Quast, “a marathon is a notable challenge for anyone, but especially for someone with very minimal running experience, so I decided it could be a useful platform to generate donations.”

Quast is raising funds for the Dementia Society of America.

“The organization’s mission ties directly to the cause I’m running for. They allowed me to set up a donation page straight through their site so I could avoid any transaction fees that other crowdfunding sites would otherwise collect. This means 100 percent of your donation goes to fighting the disease,” he explained.

To make a donation, visit www.classy.org/fundraiser/2563704, or visit Quast’s Facebook or Instagram page to find the link directly. He will also have a donation box at the finish line for cash or check donations.

Up until he runs this marathon the longest distance Quast has ever run was two miles and it was sometime in middle school.

“So you could say this is a slight step up,” he added.

Although he will be running the first 12 by himself, Quast indicated he is open to others joining in for the last 14 miles.

According to Quast, “I probably won’t be moving terribly fast, so don’t worry if you’re not a fast runner.”

To contact Quast about running with him send an e-mail to spencercquast@gmail.com.

Quast is double majoring in marketing and public and non-profit management with a minor in art at the U of M.

Frontotemporal Dementia is a progressive nerve loss in the brain’s frontal lobes, causing deterioration in behavior, personality and/or difficulty with producing or comprehending language, including areas that control conduct, judgment, empathy and foresight, among other abilities. It most often occurs in people in their 50s and 60s.

Quast’s grandfather was 78 when he was diagnosed and lived for less than a year following his diagnosis. In a third of all cases, it is inherited.

Will Quast run other marathons in the future?

“Possibly. If the cause presents itself, I could see myself taking up the opportunity,” he indicated.