Fact: A 3-oz. serving of beef provides 10 essential nutrients and 25 grams of protein – 50% of your daily protein needs in one tasty package.
Fact: Lean beef contains just 154 calories per 3-oz. serving.
Fact: B-vitamins in beef help give you the energy to tackle busy days.
In agriculture, we hold these truths to be self-evident, if not universally known. So when my dear friend, Emily, who happens to be a serious runner of marathons, got tired of seeing the running magazines push vegan and vegetarian diets, she decided to do something about it. She called up our other friend, Shelia Grobosky, at the Illinois Beef Association and they formed Team Beef Illinois.
It's not unlike the Team Beef groups in other states, whose goals are to share the message of lean protein with other runners. Their inaugural race was this weekend in Champaign, for the Illinois Marathon.
Many of you may have noticed the weather this weekend, which was much more conducive for snuggling up inside instead of running the streets of Champaign.
Which is to say, they ran in the rain. Many of them for the entire half marathon, with 5,000 of their closest running friends (another 1,500 ran the full marathon). 13.1 miles in the rain. In their Team Beef shirts, which were noticed! Team member Christy Lee says it was really fun to see how many spectators noticed the Team Beef shirts. "Complete strangers were yelling, 'Team Beef! Go, Team Beef!' And, 'Team Beef? That's awesome!'"
Which is true. It's really awesome. And our Illinois team, made up of Christy, Jill Frueh and Jodi McMillan ran their race and ran it well. Emily, as some of you may recall from our podcasts, gave birth to twins not so long ago, so she didn't race this year. They all joined in for a steak dinner the night before, because who doesn't need good protein before running 13.1 miles?
If you're interested in joining Team Beef Illinois, you don't have to wait until next year's marathon. As Emily says, the beauty of this team is that every race is a Team Beef race. Team Beef will sponsor a runner if they are willing to wear their shirt to races, take the Masters of Beef Advocacy online class, and then attend a training with NCBA's Daren Williams in June. If you're not in Illinois, check with your state beef association; a lot of states already sponsor a Team Beef. And if your state doesn't? Maybe you should start one.
Full disclosure: I don't run unless I'm chased or unless I'm chasing cows, but I fully support my running friends. And beef. And if I were to receive a Team Beef shirt, I would wear it with pride in my TRX classes…