Fast Firefingers

Fast Firefingers

Russell Olsen is not the average college student. The Parks and recreation major has many unique hobbies. He enjoys winning local fun runs, smoking kids from around the world in online typing tests, and memorizing birthdays of everyone as far back as the classmates from second grade.

Russell started running at a young age. As he got older he finished close to older faster runners. Russell claims that his most impressive race was a 59:02 time in the Blacksmith Fork 15k Freedom Run. Russell was barely 14 at the time.

Growing pains kept him from maintaining his prowess in distance races but his big frame helped him excel in mid distance track races such as the 800 meter run. He won the whole race in a meet his sophomore year that he now labels the “crazy 800”. “Cameron Reeve was my greatest rival because Coach Wade would always say “You gotta get that Cameron guy!” Russell said in an interview.

Russell is still running races at 24 years old which is impressive as many other runners have quit running after high school. Russell started off the 2016 campaign by taking second place in the Smithfield Shamrock Shuffle in March.  He also got a 1:47 in a long tough course at the Bear Lake Half Marathon in June.  

Russell got a time in the 16 minute range at the Running of the Bulls Utah State Homecoming 5k on September 24th.  Russell said he ran faster than normal in that race because it was downhill.  He also said, “Wearing the bull horns may have slowed me down a little because I had to duck more under trees.”  

Russell finished the 2016 campaign with two Halloween races in 48 hours.  After running a 45 minute 10k at the First Dam Scary Run, Russell won a school 5k race.  He is happy that he got a win in 2016.

If you know Russell then he might not know your name but he probably knows your birthday. Russell loves to train his mind by memorizing birthdays. Mental toughness is really important in running.

Russell is recognized as one of the top typists this side of the Mississippi River. If you look on websites like or you will likely find his name on the leaderboards. A boy named Nihad is said to be one of Russell’s greatest rivals though Russell has never met the guy. Russell likes to strengthen every part of his body and fingers help him succeed in a multitude of sports.

Russell started typing in 2008 and was averaging about 80 words per minute.  He kept typing throughout high school and by the time he was in college he got a record 180 Words Per Minute on his favorite article titled the “Shoemaker Article”.  He worked on improving other articles and improved his average WPM on from 98 words per minute to currently 137.

Russell likes using his tall 6 foot two frame to do well in basketball. While he doesn’t like competitive games, he does enjoy a game of Horse. His trick knee throws and over the hoop shots have made him a neighborhood legend.  He once beat Brazilian native and Utah State basketball standout Cass Matheus in a HORSE game.  Russ used the homecourt advantage with the slanted driveway to cruise to a win.

Russell isn’t the biggest football fan in the world but he certainly is familiar with who the perennial favorite to win the Super Bowl is. He predicts, “I think the Patriots will win the Super Bowl this year.”

Russell attributes his success in sports and other life hobbies to his young birthday for his age.  The deadline in Utah is around September 1st and Russell was born on June 8th.  He said, “I think having a younger birthday made me work harder than if I was old for my grade.”

Russell’s goal next year is to run a sub 40 minute 10k.  He eventually wants to complete his first marathon in under 3 and a half hours and eventually hit the Boston Qualifying mark for the under 35 age group by running under 3 hours and 5 minutes.  Russell has never been more ready to achieve his goals.  Well, the only time he was ever more ready was at the beach dance in high school.  Who would expect anything less from a kid who wore Hawaiian shirts in December and Christmas ties in June?


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