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Runners take off at the start line during the second annual Beefin’ It Up; Fuel for the Finish Race held in Fargo, N.D., on April 28, 2018. (Photo courtesy of NDSU CCW)

NDSU's Collegiate CattleWomen promote beef for runners

On April 28, runners gathered at Lindenwood Park in Fargo, N.D., for the Beefin' It Up; Fuel for the Finish Race, hosted by the North Dakota State University Collegiate CattleWomen (CCW).

With 10K, 5K, Kids Fun Run and virtual run options, participants could enjoy the scenic route of the park while raising money for a good cause.

"Every $40 entry fee from our runners was donated to the Ronald McDonald House," said Tessa Keller, NDSU CCW president and a senior agricultural communications major from Mandan, N.D. "The Ronald McDonald House of the Red River Valley supports families whose children are receiving medical care in the Fargo-Moorhead area by providing home-like comfort, support and care for families."

With support from the North Dakota Beef Commission and North Dakota Farm Credit Services, the members of the NDSU CCW offered runners beef grilling and recipe brochures, participant medals and gift cards to Herd and Horns, a popular burger bar, located near NDSU's campus.

This is the second year the NDSU CCW have hosted this event in Fargo. It was inspired by a similar race held in Mandan, N.D., sponsored by the North Dakota CattleWomen (NDCW).

"My mom, Kathy Tokach, is a member of the NDCW and helped to start the Beefin' It Up event in Mandan six years ago," said Renae Tokach, NDSU alumnus and past NDSU CCW president. "That's what inspired me to establish a race in Fargo. It's a great way to promote beef as part of a healthy lifestyle while also doing something good to help the community."

The race attracted college students, professors, community members and dedicated athletes who are preparing for the upcoming Fargo Marathon. No matter the skill level or training, everyone seemed to enjoy this year's event.

"Last year was pretty cold, but we enjoyed really great weather this year, and the race trail took runners alongside the beautiful Red River," said Keller. "It was a perfect day for the race."

Once runners cross the finish line, they were served a steaming bowl of beef chili with all of the fixings. Along the route, the participants were reminded to eat protein-packed beef to fuel their workouts and active lifestyles. Every runner also received a t-shirt that read, "Beef — Fueling Your Way To The Finish."

"This has become one of our biggest events throughout the year," said Tokach, who is now an agricultural education teacher and FFA advisor at Drake-Anamoose, N.D., High School. "The NDSU CCW organization is a really tight knit group of girls who are dedicated to promoting beef.

The group is already planning for next year and is considering hosting the event in conjunction with NDSU's Ag Week on campus.

"If we can push Ag Week back farther into April, I think we could host the run during that event and also avoid the snow," said Keller. "We might also move the race to campus and maybe serve breakfast instead of chili. We'll continue to tweak the event and hope to encourage more participants each year as the race grows and evolves."