The national beef checkoff, through its Northeast Beef Promotion Initiative (NEBPI) and in partnership with the South Dakota Beef Industry Council, ensured that beef was proudly represented during the historic running of the 119th Boston Marathon on Monday, April 20.

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 nearly 30,000 other marathon runners. Members of Team Beef received nutritional 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.

Wade Foster of Washington D.C was the first Team Beef member to cross the Boston Marathon finish line with a final time of 2:44:25. Ruel Sword of Woodway, TX was the first female finisher for Team Beef with a final time of 3:23:17. The average finish time for the Team Beef runners was 3:32:26. Team Beef runners were from New York, New Jersey, Washington D.C., Ohio, Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Colorado and Texas.

Ruel Sword commented about her experience running for Team Beef in Boston, “I loved wearing BEEF during the marathon and hearing ‘BEEF’ being shouted all along the course and shouting ‘BEEF’ back as I ran by! Lots of BEEF lovers!”

Mother and daughter pair, Connie and Elizabeth Wilkinson of Joplin, Mo., had similar reflections after running on Team Beef:  “I wanted you to know that we probably heard 350+ shout outs as we ran, from whole groups of people shouting ‘Beef!  Beef!’ to ‘GO, Team Beef!’ to ‘Where's the beef?!’ Over and over and over.”

Valerie Van Dyke, Director of Consumer Marketing and Team Beef Coordinator for the Virginia Beef Industry Council commented, “Because the Boston Marathon is such an elite athletic event, and beef is an elite protein source, it makes sense to pair the two. It’s a great way to showcase that beef is a valuable fuel for our finest athletes, and healthy consumers in general.”

Social media activity surrounding Team Beef at the Boston Marathon this year can be found searching the #BeefFuelsBoston hashtag. Nearly 80,000 Twitter impressions were achieved surrounding the social media activity.