SD’s Team BEEF promotes to consumers | TSLN.com

SD’s Team BEEF promotes to consumers

Athletes are constantly working to break personal records, whether it be a race time or a bench press. Being active goes hand-in-hand with being healthy, and for many athletes, they turn to protein shakes and bars to fuel their workouts. In an effort to promote beef as a healthy and real alternative to these products, South Dakota established Team BEEF.

In its second year, 70 runners are competing on South Dakota's Team BEEF, a checkoff-funded program. Spearheaded by Briana Burgers, South Dakota Beef Industry Council (SDBIC) nutrition assistant and director of online communications, the program quickly filled to capacity for 2013, with more on the waiting list.

Once accepted on the team, runners will compete in four sponsored races including: Deadwood Mickelson Trail Marathon and Half Marathon held on June 2 in Deadwood, SD; Beef and Eggs Road Race held on July 13 in Brookings, SD; Andy's Road Race in Huron, SD; and Sioux Falls Marathon and Half Marathon held on Sept. 8 in Sioux Falls, SD. Team BEEF members are required to participate in at least two of these events, wearing their jersey for the duration of the event.

Before these members can put on their Team Beef jerseys and hit the pavement, they have to complete an educational webinar, put on by SDBIC.

"The webinar is a mandatory and essential facet to the Team BEEF program," explained Burgers. "After Team BEEF Members complete the enrollment process, they attend a webinar which educates them on the role of protein in the diet of an athlete. It focuses on lean beef as an ideal protein choice to 'fuel for the finish' and the key nutritional benefits its provides."

Essentially, anyone in South Dakota who has an interest in running has a chance to be on Team BEEF. The program gives each member a $100 stipend to help pay for race fees. This checkoff-funded program has similar versions in other states across the country, and it's the goal for these athletes to strike up conversations with their peers that beef does play a role in a healthy, well-balanced diet and also helps them fuel their active lifestyles.

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"A requirement of being on Team BEEF is to be a positive role model and an advocate for lean beef," said Burgers. "All members agree to the following: understand and believe in the nutritional benefits of lean beef and the vital role it plays in training; serve as positive role model for lean beef; actively spread the word and help educate people who seek information about lean beef, including through social networks such as Facebook, Twitter or a blog."

Response from Team Beef members at races has been very positive thus far.

"I have had many team members report back to me with stories of strangers chanting 'I love beef' and 'Go Team BEEF' as they ran by," she added. "It is truly a team dynamic as all members support each other and run for the same cause. We are so proud of each and every one of them."

The popularity of Team BEEF continues to grow as the red "beef" jerseys become a recognized and welcome feature at the races.

"Team BEEF has gone over better than we could have ever hoped for!" said Burgers. "We did minimal advertising our first year and were able to put together a team of 45 runners with ease. As our presence at races grew, so did the inquires regarding how to become a member of Team BEEF. This year we had to close registration due to budgeting purposes."

With a full team in place, now it's time to focus on spreading the positive message about beef.

"Our goals for Team BEEF 2013 are to continue promoting a positive image of our industry," she said. "We want people to view beef as a safe and healthy food source that they can be proud to provide to their families. But not only are we promoting the benefits of lean beef through this program, we are also promoting physical activity and healthy lifestyles. We believe that a nutritiously-balanced diet and a healthy, physically active lifestyle are key components to achieving and maintaining optimal health."

For more information on Team BEEF or to cheer team members on, check out the Team BEEF South Dakota facebook page or http://www.sdbeef.org/teambeef.aspx. F