Beef Fuels Team Beef at the 2016 Boston Marathon

The national beef checkoff, through its Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI), ensured that beef was proudly represented during the historic running of the 120th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 18.

Twenty-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 alongside more than 30,000 other marathon runners from 99 countries. Members of Team Beef received nutrition education on how best to incorporate lean beef into their diet during training, beef recipes and cooking tips and a Team Beef running jersey to wear during the race.

Each of the members of Team Beef participating in the Boston Marathon this year had to achieve a strict qualifying time during a previous marathon. For most marathon runners, achieving a ‘Boston Qualifying’ time is a ‘Bucket List’ accomplishment.

Jose Cervantes of Boise, Idaho, was the first Team Beef member to cross the Boston Marathon finish line with a final time of 3:07:53. Ruel Sword of Woodway, Texas, was the first female finisher for Team Beef with a final time of 3:24:23. The average finish time for the Team Beef runners was 3:44:37. Team Beef runners were from New York, New Jersey, Virginia, Wisconsin, Missouri, Idaho, Colorado and Texas.

Laurie Winkelman, a dairy cattle nutritionist from Appleton, Wisc., commented after the race, “As a runner and person with a keen interest in nutrition, being a part of Team Beef is a great way to spark discussions with consumers. The discussions I have with ‘non-farm’ consumers usually evolve to greater concepts of food production and agriculture. Team Beef is an excellent vessel to reach a group of people (runners) who may have lots of questions, ideas or misunderstandings about how their food is produced.”

Mother and daughter pair, Connie and Elizabeth Wilkinson of Joplin, Mo., ran the Boston Marathon together in 2015 and were able to do so once again in 2016. After the race, Connie reflected, “I heard MANY, MANY ‘Go BEEF!’ chants from spectators along the way. Lots of fist pumping … beef’s name definitely gets out there in this race!”

Social media activity surrounding Team Beef at the Boston Marathon this year can be found by searching the #BeefFuelsBoston hashtag. Nearly 60,000 Twitter impressions were achieved.

For more about the beef checkoff, please visit the NEBPI website or MyBeefCheckoff.com.