Thanks to the national beef checkoff, beef was front and center during the 121st Boston Marathon on April 17. Thirty-one members of Team Beef started in Hopkinton, Mass., and ran along the rolling streets into downtown Boston on Marathon Monday to celebrate Patriots’ Day with more than 30,000 other runners from nearly 100 countries.
The checkoff also participated in the John Hancock Sports and Fitness Expo leading up to the race. That event brought the beef message to 100,000 runners and their families.
This year marked the largest contingent of Team Beef members participating in the Boston Marathon to date. Members of Team Beef also received tips for including nutritious, lean beef in their training diet, beef recipes and cooking advice, and a Team Beef running jersey to wear during the race.
Earning a spot on Team Beef was no walk in the park. Like all Marathon runners, Team Beef members had to run a qualifying time during a previous marathon. For most runners, qualifying for the event is a”bucket list” accomplishment. For Team Beef member, Sam Brandt, it was nothing less than just that. “Seven years ago, I made it my goal to go to the Boston Marathon by planting the seed, believing in it and achieving it.” Sam ran as a Team Beef member at the 2015 and 2016 Marine Corp Marathon as well.
Brandt of Lynchburg, Va., was the first Team Beef member to cross the Boston Marathon finish line with a time of 2 hours 59 minutes and 24 seconds. Tammy Bogle of Austin, Texas, was the first female finisher for Team Beef, finishing in 3:22:39. The average finish time for the Team Beef runners was 3:40:10. Team Beef runners were from New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri, Nebraska, Arizona, Illinois, Colorado and Texas.
During the three-day Sports and Fitness Expo, the beef checkoff partnered with Boston-based Honest Beef Company to offer beef jerky samples to attendees. Millennial-2-Millennial collegiate advocate Olivia Richarte and Cattlemen’s Beef Board member Kristy Lage of Arthur, Neb., assisted checkoff staff at the beef booth during the Expo.
“The Boston Marathon provides a unique opportunity to encounter people who are at the intersection of elite fitness and often, urban lifestyles,” noted Hannah Raudsepp, owner of Honest Beef Company.
“This gave us the chance to spread the good word about beef as an unparalleled source of fuel for competition and helped us better understand these individuals in terms of their feelings about beef. Only when we are able to ‘meet them where they are,’ can we begin to make headway closing the gap between urban Americans and those of us who raise their beef. We all have the ability to tell our story, but knowing how to tell it in a way that will resonate is critical to our success. The Beef Council has found powerful ways to effectively connect with consumers—and talking to them face-to-face at the Boston Marathon expo is a great example of this!”