"What a proud day..." read the e-mail I received today from a woman I've never met but already feel connected to through Team ZIP (Zinc, Iron and Protein), the national BEEF running team. "I cannot thank you enough for what you've inadvertently done," said Carin Ryan. "We've built friendships. We're healthier people."
|The "Beef Backers" at F. McClintock's Saloon. From left: Denise Athy, Stephanie Mosinski Marden, Carn Ryan, Celeste Settrini, and Krista McNinch Kodl|
What a proud day, indeed, for Team ZIP and for BEEF. And this is just the most recent example of healthy people spreading the word about beef's role in a healthy diet. Earlier this month the Montana Running Ranchers completed the 197-mile Hood to Coast relay. "The Mother of All Relays" stretches from majestic Mt. Hood to the Pacific Ocean in Seaside, OR. More than 12,000 runners participated in the relay this year, including the Running Ranchers, led by Rich Roth of IX Ranch in Big Sandy, MT.
|Rich Roth and other Montana Running Ranchers ran in cowboy hats and rang a cowbell whenever their team members approached. "It was obnoxious, but by the time the race was over people knew who we were," says Rich.|
Both Carin and Rich shared similar stories about the journey their teams traveled as they trained for and completed their races.
|"We finished and still look pretty good!" says Celeste Settrini or Team ZIP. From left: CarrieAnn Arias, JoAnn Wall, Celeste Settrini, Krista McNinch Kodl, Carin Ryan, Stacy Miller, and Denise Athy.|
"As race day approached, the chatter amongst Team ZIP increased. Plans were made, training times were posted, encouragement was shared and it became very apparent this race and Team ZIP would change my life. We proudly wore our 'Real Women Eat Beef' shirts to the pre-race packet pick up and dinner. Everyone commented and asked questions. We were all proud to explain that we were excited to run our race fueled by lean beef!"
The Montana Running Ranchers had lots of time to bond and little time to sleep during the 27 hours, 32 minutes and 23 seconds it took to complete the 197-mile relay.
|After running for more than 24 hours straight, the Montana Running Ranchers gathered at the finish line of Hood to Coast, "The Mother of All Relays."|
"Talk about a group of energetic people. We were noticed so much just because we were the loudest group there. We had a cow bell (like the ones people use at the skiing events) and every time we would see our runner would start ringing that bell. It was obnoxious, but by the time the race was over people knew who we were. We took two way radios to stay in touch with our other van and since there were others on the same channel we quickly became the Beef 1 and Beef 2 vans. That is what other teams referred to us as."
From humble beginnings four years ago when I had the first Team ZIP cycling jerseys made for my Ride the Rockies team we now have more than 400 members nationwide running, cycling and competing in triathlons to demonstrate in the most tangible way that beef is an important part of a healthy diet.
A proud day indeed! Go Team ZIP. Go BEEF!